School Me: Why Are Montana Sapphires So Special?

We usually associate sapphires with a deep, clear blue. Surprisingly they can be found in a rainbow of hues, including pink, orange, green, yellow and even multi-color. 

These gems are mined everywhere from Australia to Colombia and Madagascar to Nepal. However, the state of Montana is home to more varieties of sapphire than any other location in the world. Strict guidelines for mining in the states means that Montana sapphires have much less of an impact on the Earth than stones from nearly anywhere else.

Mostly found in the western half of the state, these gorgeous gems are famous for their rich and unusual colors. Yogo sapphires (found specifically in the Yogo gulch area) are generally cornflower blue in color, while others from different regions of Montana trend towards interesting blue-greens, violet-grays and even bicolor or with color shifts (these are our favorites)!

Montana sapphires were originally found by mid-19th century gold prospectors who headed out west in search of a fortune. Initially they were so focused on the gold that they often threw aside the sapphires. 

In fact, the prospectors even complained about the gems plugging up their pans are they sifted in search of gold.  

Most of the sapphire mining done in Montana is very small scale compared to other locations, making it difficult to find consistent sizes and colors of rough from which to cut a stone. The great part about this for consumers? Choosing a Montana sapphire makes your stone that much more unique and rare. Who knew that some of the most exotic treasures in the world were right in our own backyard.

We love sourcing these gorgeous specimens for clients to use in projects-just ask!