montana sapphires raw

Photo by Goldsmith Gallery Jewelers

During the Gold Rush Fever, rugged pioneers dug into Montana soil in hopes of finding fame and fortune. While gold did reveal itself to just a few, many found brilliant colored pebbles that radiated in blue, purple, teal and ombre. Today, they are mined primarily in the Dry Cottonwood Creek, Rock Creek and Yogo Gulch, the latter of which is famous for bearing the Yogo. For every truckload of gravel, an estimated 5 to 20 carats of sapphires are mined. That's quite the needle in the haystack! The gravel is then hauled off to a hopper to screen out big chunks of rocks and small pieces, leaving the “concentrate” to be hand-searched.

 montana sapphire engagement ring

Photo by: Martin Thornburg Dresses

Do some choose Montana Sapphires for their engagement rings? You bet, in fact, retail jewelers are reporting that half to 80% of couples are placing them into their ring settings. It makes a great ring to wear everyday and pass down as a heirloom due to it's strength and firmness, much like a diamond. Originating from ancient folklore, traditional blue sapphires carry the power of “faith and fidelity”. And in modern times, the sapphire grew notorious when we saw Prince Charles give a sapphire engagement ring to Lady Diana.

Physically, sapphires helps promote a positive walk towards life, promoting self-fulfillment and motivation. They are said to have powers in cooling fevers, protecting against mental illness and sharpening eyesight. One ancient recipe for eyesight was to powder the stone and mix it with vinegar. The same recipe was used to treat nosebleeds. Sapphires were also used to treat fevers and rheumatism. When treating boils and external ulcers, they were ground and mixed with milk. 

montana sapphire rings

Photo by: S. Kind and Co.

What is the difference between Montana sapphires vs. other sapphires found in another state or country? One of the most striking differences is their color. Sapphires from Montana are unique in that they naturally occur in light pastels, unique blue-greens, and smoky grays. So, a Montana sapphire could be a calming leaf green or a sky blue-grey. Yogo sapphires in particular, are celebrated for being bright “cornflower blue” – the most highly sought after blue sapphire color in the world. Sapphires from outside the United States are generally much darker because most are heat-treated and don't carry the rare colors of a Montana sapphire.

What about clarity? Sapphires contain natural internal markings called “inclusions.” Unlike diamonds, sapphires contain inclusions such as “fingerprints” (partially-healed fractures) and “silk” (minute, crosshatched crystals.) The sapphire clarity scale ranges from “eye clean” (meaning no inclusions are visible to the naked eye) to “heavily included.” There are various clarity grades in-between. The highest quality is referred as “AAA,” to “A” or “B” meaning the lowest quality. Montana Sapphires are famous for their high clarity grades.

Can we help you find a Montana Sapphire? Absolutely! With the largest selection of Yogos and Montana sapphires in the state, we are ecstatic to help find you the perfect piece. Visit our website and we can online chat, send an email to info@goldsmithgalleryjewelers.com or call us at 406-252-3662. Tell us a little about what you’re looking for and we'll perform a custom search for your perfect Montana Sapphire. We're happy to accommodate you virtually or in-person.