Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine, Montana

Filed under: Rockhound Travel — Gary August 8, 2010 @ 11:55 pm


Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine

P.O Box 148, 21 Sapphire Gulch Lane Philipsburg, Montana Phone: 1-406-859-GEMS (4367)

Montana Sapphires  -
Montana is home to some of the largest sapphire deposits in the world.  Yogo gulch is perhaps the most famous and produces a spectacular natural blue and violet sapphire.  The gravel bars along the Missouri River north of Helena produce both sapphires and gold along with a very small deposit at Dry Cottonwood Creek near Deer Lodge.  The quiet giant of all the deposits is Gem Mountain.  Gem Mountain has produced four times more sapphire than all of the other deposits combined.
The exclusive Yogo Gulch sapphires are found in central Montana.  Their natural blue and violet color, incredible clarity, and scarcity, makes them one of the most expensive sapphire gemstones in the world.
The gravel bars along the Missouri River north of Helena, and a small deposit at Dry Cottonwood Creek near Deer Lodge, have produced both sapphires and gold.
Gem Mountain is the quiet giant of the Montana sapphire deposits.  Mining started around 1892.  Large scale commercial mining took place up until the late 1920′s.  The vast majority of production was screened for size and the small, uniformly shaped round stones shipped to Switzerland for use as watch bearings.   Large, and natural color, stones were faceted as finished gemstones.  A letter from the manager of the American Gem Mining Syndicate in the early 1900′s predicted a need for seven million rough sapphires based upon expected sales of one million pocket watches with the average watch having seven sapphire bearings within the internal workings.  The invention of synthetic sapphire caused large scale commercial mining to cease.  However, smaller operations continued focused upon finding the larger natural color stones which were finished as gemstones.  Sapphires have been mined at Gem Mountain for over 100 years.  Over 44 tons of rough sapphire have been produced at Gem Mountain.  By comparison, the gravel bars along the Missouri River have only produced 11 tons of rough sapphire and Yogo Gulch less than one ton.

Gem Mountain is the source for every known color of sapphire and some colors found nowhere else. Montana sapphires have been found here in blue, green, orange, yellow, pink and many other colors.



Heat treating inproves the color of most of the pale colored stones.  When heat treated and faceted sapphire gemstones from Gem Mountain have a brilliance and color that can rival gems from anywhere in the world.  To find your own Montana Sapphires from Gem Mountain visit our Gravel Bags page.  We look forward to seeing you at Gem Mountain some day.

Welcome to Gem Mountain Montana
The Store in Philipsburg is open 7-days a week
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with gravel to go, gemstones, jewelry and unique gifts.
The Sapphire Mine and Gravel Wash Trough is open 7days a week.
9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Gravel Bucket Sales for Washing end one hour before closing.
If you’re planning a vacation in Montana join us for a sapphire mining experience the whole family will love.  We’re Montana’s largest, oldest, and funnest Sapphire Mine, with the best facilities, equipment and fun loving, helpful staff.
Hidden in the Mountains of Montana – the mine is hard to find but worth the drive.  Located between Hamilton and Philipsburg, Montana in the aptly named Sapphire Mountains you can Discover your own Montana Treasure – a Montana Sapphire Gemstone from Gem Mountain.
As Seen on TV – Grab a bucket of sapphire gravel, belly up to the wash trough and find Montana Sapphires.  Depending how you handle your gravel and wash screen this might just be the dirtiest good clean family fun you can have.
  • Sapphire Gravel
  • Montana Sapphire Gemstones
  • Gold and Silver Sapphire Jewelry
  • Wash Screens and Gold Pans
  • Gemstone and Rockhound Supplies


Poland Mining Camps, Maine – Pegmatite

Filed under: Rockhound Travel — Gary @ 11:43 pm


Poland Mining Camps is located in Poland, Maine and our primary business is to cater to the needs of the pegmatite mineral collector, enthusiast or geologist, whether as individuals or as a Group. Our customers have exclusive access to famous pegmatite quarries and are allowed to collect mineral specimens, study the geology and enjoy the opportunity unavailable to the general public.

We are located within the heart of Maine’s Granite Pegmatite Belt, which is in Oxford and Androscoggin Counties. We have dedicated our services and facilities to the collectable minerals and geology available in this area.

Our Season -
Our seasonal business starts on Memorial Day Weekend and ends September 30th. These are the dates for Lodging at Poland Mining Camps. If you have other dates in mind, especially if you want a one day collecting trip (our Tag-a-Long Customers), please don’t hesitate calling us as we might be able to accommodate you!

Collect Mineral Specimens -
As a mineral collecting vacation destination, Poland Mining Camps offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the State of Maine. Our facility will be your base of operations to collect at world renown pegmatite quarries which are generally closed to the public. In the down-home atmosphere of our camp, you will be sharing this experience with other enthusiasts, making new friends, possibly meeting some of the local miners and encountering some of the best collecting opportunities ever available within Maine. Come for a day or stay for a week, we offer many different vacation possibilities.Conference Center Venue -
We also offer full services for hosting your Club or Organization’s Meeting, Seminar, Workshop or Summer Camp at our facilities. With Classroom facilities optimized for groups up to 40 people and a collection of teaching aids available right on Campus, your function can be a resounding success.



Call or Write:
Mary Groves
34 Groves Lane
PO Box 26
Poland, Maine 04274
(207) 998-2350

Driving Directions -
From the South
Interstate 95 North, past Portland.
From Interstate 95, Take Exit 63, Gray, Maine. At end of ramp, turn right and stay to the left as you approach the next stop light. At stop light, turn left and left again at next stop light. You are now on Route 26.
Go North 8 miles on Route 26 to Poland, Maine. The center of town is a crossroad and a small convenience store on the left. Continue straight on Route 26.
Continue North for a 1 mile to an island in middle of the road and Poland Regional High School on your left.
After passing the island in the road, Poland Mining Camps driveway entrance is on the Right (wooden sign with light blue posts).
There is a street sign saying “Groves Lane.”
Drive toward the back of the campus until you come to the Pavilion, a large, red, single story building with a metal roof. You are here!
From the North
From Norway – South Paris, Maine, Route 26 South to Route 11.
Continue south on Route 26, 300 yards, to an island in the middle of the road.
Poland Mining Camps driveway entrance is on the Left (wooden sign with light blue posts).
There is a street sign saying “Groves Lane.”
Drive toward the back of the campus until you come to the Pavilion, a large, red, single story building with a metal roof. You are here!

Click here for their website

Mount Ida Crystals

Filed under: Rockhound Travel — Gary @ 11:31 pm


There are a lot of crystal mines in Arkansas, however one mine stands out as it a nice family run mine – Gee and Dee Crystals.  They are an older couple who make their living helping people find crystals and educating them on quartz and crystals.
Located just north of Mount Ida Arkansas

They have an onsite bathroom and as well kids are welcome and encouraged and kids 10 and under are free!  You are not charged by the pound, nor are you limited to how many quartz crystals you can dig up and take home.  You can dig right in the actual mine unlike several mines in the area that only let you dig in the trailings.

You cannot drive straight out to this mine, as it is on private land. First you must go to Gee and Dee’s house, which is just off the main highway (highway 27), going north out of the town of Mount Ida. You will travel about 12 miles, and there will be a small, one story, light green house with lots of trees and fields around it on your right hand side (to the east). The front of the house faces the highway, and the driveway is immediately accessible from the highway. She has a whole bunch of folding tables out in the front yard too with lots of quartz crystals stacked all over them. Visitors to their mine get to pick out a couple crystals for free from this table even before they go out to the mine.




Dee will then provide you with a hand-written admission ticket with her signature, and then give you directions out to their quartz crystals digging mine. When you arrive at the turn-off for the mine, expect it to be a very long, narrow, and windy dirt road with lots of big speed bumps. Low-rider vehicles should not attempt to visit this mine due to these large speed bumps. Once you arrive at the mine, Gee- who is Dee’s husband, will take your admission ticket and welcome you to the mine. If you have never been crystal mining he will take the time to show you how to mine, what to look for, and how to recognize a crystal.

Large quartz crystals are often literally laying around in plain sight on top of the dirt, although the really huge and larger ones will be on the side of the mountain. You are allowed to dig anywhere you like, except for in the huge quartz crystals digging pit that is not safe for people to try walking in – for liability and your personal safety reasons rather than restricting your access to the best quartz crystals.

Gee & Dee Crystals
Owners: G. W. & Dolores Johnson
Phone: 1- (870) 867-4561
4764 Highway 27 North, Story, AR 71970
Located: Take Highway 27 North from Mount Ida and drive approximately 11.5 miles, watch for green house with crystals and sign in front yard.
Rest room at mine, water available, digging tools available on request.