how to pan for sapphires


And digging for sapphires is about as easy to do, once you get the hang of it. The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not constitute an advertisement or promotion. We did not feel pressured into doing anything, but we did decide to have our 3.21 carat treasure processed through Gem Mountain. A lot of families visit Gem Mountain and the kids seem to have a great time. We half-expected it to be one of those nearly-empty, hard-to-find attractions that you never want to admit to having visited, but the immediate impression we got was this was the place to be.

At the end of the road you’ll find the gem mine. “I’ll tell you what,” he said. “I guess a lot of people ask you that,” I said. Second, by shaking the tray back and forth, up and down, and turning it as they shake it, the treasure hunters move the gems toward the center of the dirt.

After diamonds, sapphires are the second hardest naturally occuring mineral known to man.

“There’s your daymaker,” he told me excitedly.

Despite what some may think, I had fun digging for opals in Idaho.

Kirsten Gum would be proud. I was kind of excited. If you sift through the entire dirt pile, go over it several times. Look at this one!”. The more transparent, the better.Don’t worry about size so much. “Would you like a demo?” he asked. You take the tray over to the trough and wash the dirt. We were all dirty, dried out, and tired. Tons of people were already looking for sapphires. Watching one of these guys wash dirt makes you feel humble. They’ve been working at Gem Mountain for several years each and have turned a lot of dirt. Disclaimer: Because most of the staff members we met were underage, their names and ages are being withheld to protect their privacy. They need to be heat-treated and cut.

Some stones will be deep red. There are two reasons to wash the dirt. Most of the customers, including us, end up washing their dirt 2-3 times and spreading it out on the table. “I’ll show you what’s called the professional style (or technique).” Intrigued, we could not help but accept his offer. The day gets warm and you want to bring something cold to drink (they sell cold drinks inside the main building). I occasionally got our dog’s leash wrapped up around someone else’s legs so I was constantly attending to him. I didn’t have much cash left by this part of the trip (I mostly rely on my debit and credit cards when traveling) but we gave the young man all the cash we had as a tip. I really wish I had brought more cash on the trip. There is a little stream or runoff ditch near the parking lot. They wash away a lot of mud and compact the dirt for customers — I gather this helps improve the customers’ chances of finding gemstones. “The largest I’ve ever seen was found by the owner — it was 29 carats.”, He went on to say that most of the sapphires are not of gem quality, but this is really about having fun doing something you’d normally never expect to do. That water trough is the heart of the operation. Absolutely!

We discovered that many of the gems we thought were too small were in fact good enough for cutting. First, you want to get the gems wet so they glitter in the sunlight. Several young men tend a pile of rocks and dirt near the parking lot where they fill buckets for customers and offer tips on digging. Now, let me say that I’m probably no better than most people at finding sapphires and, truth be told, I’m probably a lot worse than many others who have taken a shot at the process.

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