Beauty in the Rough: The Hunt for Sapphire

Beauty in the Rough: The Hunt for Sapphire

Have I mentioned I love a good hunt for gemstones? While this photo of a tub full of rocks may look no different to you than rocks you might see on a beach, I can assure you they are quite different and cost a LOT more. 

This is a photo of Golden Sheen sapphire rough. The growth patterns are glorious, and to a rockhound and gemologist like me, this bin caught my eye at a recent gem show.

I love all types of sapphire and as I've mentioned in previous blog posts, I have tried my hand at mining for Montana sapphires. (You can read the blog here.) While I do like trying on new experiences related to rockhounding and mining my own material, I sure do like the convince of attending a large gem and mineral show where alllllllll the vendors are in one place and I can see everything without breaking a sweat. Unless, of course, it's 90º+ degrees with blazing sun, which is often the case when these destination rock shows happen in Tucson or Denver.

Sapphires are an extremely durable gemstone with a hardness of 9 out of 10. Only Diamond is harder at a 10. Found in a rainbow of colors, both natural and heat treated, sapphires are a jewelry staple. Color, cut, and clarity are just as important when choosing a fine colored gemstone as with a diamond. When I was a kid I only knew of sapphire as dark blue. In fact, my very first piece of jewelry, a gift for my birthday from my grandparents, featured a single blue sapphire. It wasn't until many years later when I started on my journey into jewelry-making and took classes at GIA that I learned about the other color varieties of sapphire. 

My current preference is rare and fancy sapphires. The word "sapphire" typically refers to the blue variety and "fancy" refers to other colors. In no particular order, her are some of my favorites:

  • Padparadscha, the color of a lotus blossom, is a mix of pink and orange and originally found in Sri Lanka. However, some have been found in Madagascar and Tanzania.
  • Parti-colored sapphire (also known as polychrome sapphires that show more that one color in a single stone), are most commonly found in Australia. They are a brilliant mix of mostly greens, yellows, and sometimes bluish-green.
  • Montana sapphires are often found in pastel shades including blues, greens, and lavender. They can also be found as parti colored stones. I'm also a big fan of sapphire in the raw and have used the natural trigons and growth patterns as features in my jewelry as well as casting in place with rough natural Montana sapphires.
Ready to shop for sapphires? Check out my sapphire collection!


Recent Posts
Looking for a way to celebrate Mom? Tucson Gem and Mineral Show 2022 Tips: Part 2 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show 2022 Tips: Part 1 Very Peri February: Pantone’s Color of the Year Garnets: More Than Just A Red Gemstone
14k gold Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum almandine alternativebridal American gems amethyst andradite aquamarine Australian Opal Benitoite Bi-color sapphire Birthstone jewelry gifts black and gold Black Opal Boulder Opal bridaljewelry Buying Gemstones Buying opal jewelry California gemstones California pink tourmaline California state gemstone chalcedony charoite chrysoprase Colorado turquoise colors of opal Columbia-Willamette Faceter's Guild Crystal Opal demantoid Denver Gem Show diamond druzy enamel engagementjewelry engagementring Ethiopian Opal faceting February birthstone fluorite garnet Gem and Mineral Museum Gems and Minerals gemstone charm jewelry Gemstone mines in America Gemstone mines open to public Gifts for mom graduation jewelry grossular Hand-cut Opal handcut gemstones Handmade sapphire jewelry Handmade turquoise jewelry hessonite Himalaya Tourmaline Mine horsetail inclusion iolite jade January Birthstone labradorite lapidary lepidolite March Birthstone Mexican Fire Opal mini stone pendant mining Montana sapphire mother child jewelry Mother's Day Gifts Mother's Day jewelry gifts Motherhood Navada gemstone mining Navada turquoise necklace New Mexico turquoise New Mexico Turquoise Museum nontraditionalengagementrings one-of-a-kind charm pendant opal Opal Jewelry Opal Mining Oregon Opal Padparadscha Padparadscha sapphire pantone color of the year 2022 pantone very peri Parti Sapphire pendant periwinkle Play of Color Opal purple purple jasper pyrope raw diamonds rhodolite Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals Rockhounding America Rockhounding for sapphire Rockhounding for turquoise sapphire Sapphire rough sodalite Sourcing Gemstones Sourcing sapphire Spectrum Sunstone Mine spessartine spinel summer collection summer jewelry styles sunstone Surface Matters: Grit & Gloss tanzanite The Enamelist Society tiffany stone tourmaline tsavorite Tucson Gem Show Turquoise Turquoise mining uniquering uvarovite Valentine's Day jewelry gifts very peri very peri jewelry White Opal