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Sapphire Mining? Yep, in Montana.

March 15, 2017

I’m working on Dusty Deals #6 right now (currently untitled). And I’ve decided to take another bit from my past for it: sapphire mining.

When we lived in Helena, MT, our family visited us a number of times, but one of my all time favorite and amusing visits is when my mom, sister and her two daughters drove cross country (from Southern Missouri). They stopped at Bear Country and the Crazy Horse Memorial and every other tourist spot that they could on the way. It was quite the cross-country adventure that I wish I’d been a part of… kind of. Part of me is also glad I wasn’t. 🙂

When they arrived, we did all the Helena area things, including sapphire mining.

I grew up in the Missouri Ozarks and there people go to Arkansas for diamond hunting, but I’d never been myself (to either) and really had no expectations for our upcoming sapphire mining experience.

When we got there here’s what we found…

Sapphire mining in Helena, MontanaBathtubs.

Old footed bathtubs, sitting outside waiting for your sluicing enjoyment.

You got your bucket of dirt (and hopefully a few sapphires), a couple of gold panning pans and were pointed toward a bathtub. There you sluiced and sluiced until you found your gems.

Honestly, I don’t remember if we found ANY sapphires. I’m guessing the girls got whatever we did find, it certainly wasn’t anything that was paying for their future college careers.

sapphire mining bathtub

I did have a little fun with the experience, putting together a flip book with speech bubbles.

What I do remember though is my mother and sister standing next to those tubs and the look on my mother’s face when we handed her that bucket of earth and told her cleaning the gravel in that tub is what she had driven 1,600 miles to do. Also have to admit, the images reflected our hillbilly ancestry a tad too well. Let’s just say, we looked like we were born for the job. 😉

Example of some of the jewelry you can buy made with Montana sapphires. (from Amazon)

So… look forward to a little sapphire mining in Lucy and her mother’s future. 🙂

Interested in finding your own sapphires? Here are a few places to check out: Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine or Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine (where we went!).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 16, 2017 1:47 pm

    I tried looking for sapphires in our Australian sapphire fields in a town called Sapphire. It was easier to buy something at the markets.

    • March 16, 2017 2:53 pm

      Haha. I think we walked away with one of those little glass bottles with something in it that looked nothing like a sapphire.

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