Sapphires can be found in most countries around the world, and that includes the United States. The two states were gem-quality sapphires have been discovered to date is Montana & North Carolina. The former is responsible for over 95% of local sapphire production.
Sapphires, regardless of origin carry a rating of 9 on Mohs hardness scale, second only to diamond that has a rating of 10. This basically means that pure diamond is the only material in the world that can capability to scratch diamond.
Common color shades found in Montana Sapphire
The History Of Montana Sapphires
These sapphires were first reported back in the 1860s when miners searching for gold during the US gold rush, stumbled across some rough stones in the Missouri river beds. At that time, due to miners wanting to carry on their search for gold, as well as 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 large-scale mining started and Montana Sapphires started appearing on jewelry store shelves around the country and later even overseas.
Montana Sapphire Rings
The Origin Of Montana Sapphire
- Excessive erosion washed these gemstone into riverbeds where they finally came to rest among the sediment.
- An old glacier from the last ice age receded, leaving the rough sapphires behind which ended up being deposited in river beds.
When you look at other deposits found around the world, both of these scenarios seem quite plausible. 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.
What Colors Are Montana Sapphires?
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 hue. The tone of these sapphires or the strength of the color is typically light with a low saturation. This is why, if you see any Montana sapphires carrying a deep blue color, the stones have most likely been heated or, even worse, chemically enhanced.
Having a gemology report from the GIA or AGL 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, and 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, however, are rarely found over a carat and can fetch prices upwards of $10,000 per. This may seem a lot, but the stone is extremely popular among gem collectors the world over.
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 percentage, with many having lower value due to the poor clarity & color. Today, most mining in North Carolina is carried out by tourists visiting areas 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.