Montana Sapphires are found in three major areas in the western half of the state: Missouri River near Helena, Rock Creek in the Sapphire Mountains, and Dry Cottonwood near Deer Lodge. They were originally discovered in the Rock Creek area during gold exploration in the late 1800s, like many Montana sapphire deposits—gold mining was extremely popular in the area at the time. Let's have a closer look at this famous gemstone that deserve to be consider.
1. Montana's (secret) treasure
Video from Pierres de Charme, one of MYEL Montreal's suppliers for colored gemstomes.
Montana, situated in the Northwestern part of the United States, is dubbed the “Treasure State” for its abundance of minerals and precious stones. Sapphires are found throughout the state, but specific regions such as Yogo Gulch, Rock Creek, and Dry Cottonwood Creek have particularly rich grounds. The meanders on the sides of the Missouri River also constitute a very fertile area.
Different rings handmade in Montreal with deep blue Montana sapphires.
Galatée ring handmade with 14K Fairmined Yellow gold and a 6mm Montana sapphire.
2. An ethical choice
Why the Montana Sapphire can be consider an ethical choice? Knowing the gem’s exact origin allows us to trace all the actors involved in its production, from its mining to its import. And transparency is one of the most important criteria for MYEL when sourcing its raw material. The sapphire industry in Montana is comprised of small family businesses that promote fair working conditions and uphold transparent practices. For example, the field recognizes and accepts that most Montana Sapphires are heated to improve their colour or their purity.
When visiting one of Rock Creek mine, a GIA* team (Gemology Institute of America) noticed that the owner takes his social responsibilities to protect the land and the environment seriously. After mining, the land is covered with the fine material accumulated at the bottom of the pond and seeded with local plants and grass. Sprinklers work for several hours a day to soak the newly restored land. After a few weeks grass will start growing on the restored land and elk will enjoy the grass when winter comes. The plant’s waste is sold to the county for road paving.
*established in 1931, GIA is the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. A public benefit, nonprofit institute, GIA is the leading source of knowledge, standards, and education in gems and jewelry. Source: https://www.gia.edu/gia-news-research/rock-creek-montana-sapphires-new-age-mining-begins
At MYEL, we've always been very conscious of our ecological footprint when we create jewelry. As most of us know, the jewelry industry could benefit from greater transparency regulations. However, there are ways to create jewelry that is more eco-friendly, starting with the choice of materials. That's why MYEL is committed to design and produce local jewelry in Montreal with professional craftsmen. We are also committed to using stones that come from responsable mining activities and lab-grown diamonds.
3. A sapphire rainbow
Sapphires are commonly know for their deep, intense and pure blue. However, the Montana Sapphires have something special. They are famous for their brilliance but also for their exceptional hues of colour. Indeed, some shades found in Montana are unique to that state and cannot be found anywhere else in the world! They can range from blue, blue-green, to yellow-orange and pink. Sometimes very pure, sometimes full of reflections, these nuances will give the gemstone its character, regardless of its size and cut. Thanks to this diversity, MYEL is able to offer a wide range or rings with different and unique stone that will make the ring special, as each love story.
Novel ring handmade with 18K yellow gold and featuring a blue Montana sapphire
Novel ring handmade with 18K yellow gold and featuring hexagonal yellow Montana sapphires.
4. A popular choice in jewelry
Sapphires are well-loved in the world of jewelry. Their solidity and stability make them very durable – a perfect stone to adorn a ring or a piece of jewelry that is worn every day, and that will be passed on for generations to come. At Myel, Montana sapphires are one of our favourite choice when it comes to create an engagement ring.
Other sapphire mining sites are well known in the world such as the ones located in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. Producers also include Cambodia, Australia and the United States.