I’ve been very lucky to find some Montana Sapphires on one of my recent gemstone hunting. Hunting gemstones has become one of my favorite activities seeing as it really is as exciting as it sounds. Spending a large amount of hours searching for the right stones to recreate into a piece of wearable art is something I’ll never grow tired of. The feeling of euphoria when you finally ‘meet’ the perfect gemstone is, much like falling in love with your soulmate, a once in a life time kind of feeling.
On my recent hunt I discovered some amazing natural, untreated Montana Sapphires, varying in size between 1,69 to 1,93 Carat, which I am in the process of turning into some very special rings. For those of you that don’t know what Montana Sapphires are, these are natural sapphires mined from the state of Montana in the US. These beauties come in a variety of colors such as cornflower blue to pretty much any color in the rainbow. To find untreated natural ones is more of a rarity, which is why I was so stoked to found not one but three pear shaped stunners that stole my heart! I sourced a cornflower blue, a very very slightly pink champagne, and a magenta variety. Nowadays it’s become rare to find natural untreated sapphires as it’s become common practice to color sapphires with a variety of treatments such as dying, heating or radiation so to have the pleasure to find some untreated specimens was a true gift!
Due to its ethical mining practices Montana Sapphires make an excellent choice for us to work with, and with a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale (only 1 point below from a diamond) it makes an excellent stone for us to us in our jewelry as it means the stone will remain free from scratches as it’s hard wearing.
Due to the amazing variety of colors these beauties come in they make an excellent center stone as an engagement ring. Having a colorful center stone on your finger definitely will get much more head turns than a diamond. And let’s be honest, the price difference between a sapphire or diamond of the same size is often a deciding factor for couples when it comes to deciding how to budget for their wedding.
About Montana Sapphires
Montana is known as the Treasure State because it is rich in many mineral and gemstone sources, including two types of sapphires: the Yogo Sapphire from the central area of the state, and Fancy Montana Sapphires found mostly in the western half of the state.
Fancy Montana Sapphires are found in three major areas in the western half of the state: Missouri River near Helena, Rock Creek in the Sapphire Mountains, and Dry Cottonwood near Deer Lodge. These sapphires vary greatly from the Yogo Sapphire in that most of the sapphires require heat treating. They are also found in secondary mines, meaning they are found not in their original rock matrix veins but have been forced up closer to the surface which makes them much more accessible than Yogo sapphires.
Missouri River area yields sapphires of the largest size for Montana. Cut stones from this location may weigh up to ten carats, but are rare. Some gems over twenty carats have been found but are exceptionally rare. These gems are found in a more light steely-blue color to a blue/green color. Heat-treating* of these stones removes undesirable cloudiness (silk) from the gem and can improve their color.
Rock Creek sapphires are found in abundance and come in a multitude of colors. Smaller in size to Missouri River sapphires, these more rounded sapphires are found in an assortment of colors: greens, light blues, pinks, yellows, and oranges. These stones respond very well to heat-treating, producing an amazing array of intense colors. Some of the stones transform into intense blue colors. It is very easy to distinguish these heat-treated stones from natural Yogo Sapphires. Sizes for Rock Creek sapphires are generally one carat and less. Stones of three to five carats are rare but occasionally found.
Dry Cottonwood sapphires are very similar in nature to the sapphires from Rock Creek. This site is a much smaller deposit than Rock Creek.
Did you know that Montana Sapphires were originally discovered by gold prospectors searching for gold in the mid 19th century?
And that they were so focused on finding gold that they simply threw aside any sapphires they would find in their search for gold, even to the point of complaining about these gemstones clogging up their pans used to sift gold?
It’s hard to believe that anyone would throw these beautiful candy colored gems away but luckily for me times have changed as the value of these are now far more than gold!
*Heat-treating is the process of heating sapphires to near the melting point to improve color and/or clarity. The vast majority of sapphires and rubies worldwide are enhanced this way. It is a permanent process of changing to enhance the gemstone. Standard heat-treating is generally accepted in the gem industry for the processing of sapphires. Nova Diamonds Jewelry supports full disclosure of any treating process used on any gemstone. Our natural Yogo Sapphires and untreated fancy colored Montana Sapphires are separated and identified for exactly what they are. We can offer you the best of these stones, totally natural Yogo Sapphires and treated and untreated fancy colored Montana Sapphires. To us both are natural treasures from Montana, the Treasure State.
I hope this article and the content resonates with you. If you would like to learn more about our Montana sapphires or any other of our gemstones, please feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.