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

Sapphire Mining is a lot easier today than is was 100 years ago.   We dig the dirt for you, screen it to remove the big rocks, and bring it to the store by the dump truck load.  We supply all of the tools and equipment needed for you to wash the gravel to find rough sapphires.
Our professional staff will evaluate your rough saphires to determine which ones are gem quality and worth cutting to create finished gemstones.
Heat Treating improves the color and clarity of most sapphires.  We own and operate our own heat treating furnaces and specialize in heat treating Gem Mountain Sapphires.
Faceting (cutting) creates a beautiful finished gemstone suitable for jewelry.  We facet over 20,000 gemstones a year.
Don’t want to play in the dirt and wash gravel?  We have a nice selection of loose cut stones and finished jewelry.
Montana Sapphire Gemstones From Our Own Mine.
Sapphire Heat Treating.  Gemstone Faceting.  Jewelry.
We own the mine and make our own 100% natural sapphire gravel concentrate.
We look forward to seeing you.

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