Montana Sapphires: Tips for digging at the source

Montana Sapphires: Tips for digging at the source

I love digging for rocks. Our first trip to Gem Mountain in Phillipsburg, Montana did not disappoint! The facility offers many tables and chairs for sorting, some in the sun and others in the shade. They allow dogs so our trusty Rhodesian Ridgeback came along for the fun and got to visit with other dogs while basking in the sun.   Gem Mountain has a great set up with lots of staff available to answer questions. They are also happy to give demos on the best way to wash the gravel and gather all the sapphires into one place in the...

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Tucson Gem and Mineral Show 2018 Tips

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show 2018 Tips

Experiencing the Tucson Gem and Mineral show for the first time can be overwhelming, exhilarating, and an all around great adventure. It might be a good idea to take a close look at the map and plan your trip in advance so you can see what you want to see and don't feel like you missed out when you step back on the plane for your return trip.   With over 20,000 vendors, this is the largest show of its kind; a mecca for rockhounds, jewelers and designers. It can be a bit much to take in.  So to help out...

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Faceting Gemstones: Got OCD tendencies?

Faceting Gemstones: Got OCD tendencies?

Out of curiosity and the fact that I love to learn new skills, I decided to try on precious gemstone faceting. Warning: It's not for the light hearted. The Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Oregon was a relatively local place I found that teaches faceting classes in the basement, run by the Columbia-Willamette Faceter's Guild. The selection of minerals in the museum is great and there's an excellent selection of cut gemstones in many fancy cuts for one to admire. The class is broken up into four days over two weekends. Expectations are that you will complete one...

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Digging for Tourmaline in California

Digging for Tourmaline in California

California is known for a particular type of crisp pink Tourmaline. You can also find plenty of green and black tourmaline in the state. There are a few mines in southern California that I was curious to check out while I was down at GIA in Carlsbad taking some lab classes for my Gemologist certification.   Some people look for new restaurants to check out when they travel. I, on the other hand, look for mines to go get dirty in. The Himalaya Tourmaline Mine, located near Santa Isabel, CA, didn't disappoint.  There was a large pile of dirt and rock in the center with screening/sifting...

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