Sapphire found in the USA.
Sapphires can be found in most countries around the world even here in the United States, the two states were gem-quality sapphires have been discovered to date is Montana & North Carolina with Montana producing over 95% of these sapphires.
Sapphires regardless of origin carry a 9 on Mohs hardness scale, only a diamond has a higher score at 10. The Mohs scale is for scratch-resistant, even though a diamond is the only gemstone that can scratch sapphire durability is higher than a diamond, known as Cleavage.
Typical colors with sapphires from Montana
What is a Sapphire from Montana ?
A Montana Sapphire is simply a sapphire from the state of Montana, these sapphires were first reported back in the 1860s when miners searching for gold during the US gold rush, here they discovered the rough stones in the Missouri river beds, at that time due to miners wanting to carry on there search for gold and the lack of gemstone cutting equipment these rough sapphires were thrown to one side.
It wasn’t until the 1970s as the demand for natural sapphires increased did larger-scale mining start and the Montana Sapphires started appearing for sale in jewelry stores around the USA and then overseas.
Geologists have two theories on how these Sapphires came to the surface, the first as accent mountains we’re worn away over time by the rain creating streams the gemstone were washed into accent river beds finally coming to rest in river sediment.
The second is old glacier from the last ice age receded leaving the rough sapphires behind which ended up being deposited in accent river beds.
When you look at other deposits found around the world both of these are possible. We do know with all-natural sapphire deposits were created many miles below the earth surface, over millions of years as the tectonic plates moved these gem bearing grounds were brought to the surface.
Montana Sapphires are typically a light grayish-blue and can be found in most sizes and cuts, you will also see some sapphires carrying a yellowish blue as well as greenish-blue. The tone of these sapphires or the strength of the color is typically light with a low saturation gives most of the gems a lighter hue.
Today you might see some sapphires carrying stronger blues but you will find that these Montana sapphires have been heated or worse chemically enhanced.
Having a gemology report from the GIA https://www.gia.edu/sapphire or AGL http://aglgemlab.com/ is important before buying one of these stones, with both of these laboratories are able to carry out an accurate origin report which will give you peace mind knowing what if any treatments the sapphire has had along with confirmation on the origin.
What is a Yoga Sapphire ?
Yoga sapphires come from a unique deposit known as the Yoga Gulch mine, these sapphires are mined straight from the rock in this one place in Montana, these sapphires are very different from the traditional Montana Sapphires, Yoga sapphires carry a perfect blue hue with strong levels of saturation and excellent clarity similar to the top quality sapphires you would see in Sri Lanka ( Ceylon )
These sapphires are rarely found over a carat and can fetch prices over $10,000 upwards for a gem at 1.00 carat, even though this is a high price tag for such a small stone they are collected by gem collectors all over the world with the smaller sapphires being used as accent stones in ring settings.
What About Sapphires From North Carolina?
Even though small deposits of both sapphires and diamonds can be found in North Carolina they account for a small promotion of sapphires found in the States with many having lower value due to the poor clarity & color. Today most mining in North Carolina is carried out by tourists visiting these areas for open ground mining like Gem Mountain.
The most famous gemstone found in North Carolina was, in fact, a fancy yellow diamond, this diamond has been worn as a ring by the first lady for both the inaugurations as well as to state dinners.
Should I buy a Montana Sapphire?