On a family expedition years ago to the Diamond Bar sapphire mine outside of Helena, Montana, I got hooked on the treasure hunt of gem mining. It wasn’t limited to experts – anyone can do it – and even a 13-year-old beginner is guaranteed to find something. The tools are water and a shovel, wieldy for anyone from a teenager to a retiree. It’s an immediate adventure, a hands-on quest that both suits and feeds the independent spirit of the explorer.
The Sapphire Saga
The oldest sapphire legends come from eons ago when ancient beholders of the gemstone’s celestial blue believed it held intrinsic powers of harmony, peace, and healing.
But in time, this treasured jewel spawned a profit-hungry industry—in some areas, at the expense of the ecosystems that formed around the geological landscape in which these beautiful stones were created. As a result, sapphire mining has affected the planet in irreversible ways, most recently (and most seriously) with mining taking place in Madagascar. As miners tear through environmentally protected lands, they destroy the surrounding forests—and endanger the animals inhabiting it. Continue reading…
If you were lucky enough to be born in June, you have not one, but four gemstone options to commemorate your birthday. Perhaps it’s perfect that Geminis, the chameleons of the zodiac, have classic pearls, rare alexandrite, ethereal moonstones and bold tiger eye to choose from. Equally beautiful and unique, moonstone and tiger’s eye make very different visual statements.
When you think of May, a brilliant green gemstone might come to mind. Of course! The glorious and ostentatious emerald hogs the spotlight this time of year. But there’s an equally beautiful, lesser-known green stone sharing the month of May. Chrysoprase.