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.
Montana Sapphire was 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.
Environnementaly friendly mining
« During our visit to the new Rock Creek mine, we got the impression 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. Dr. Barron told us that 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. »
Where are the Montana Sapphires cut?
The cutting factory that cut all our sapphires is located near Colombo and they hire about eight workers. Women and men. No children. Working hours are from 8 am to 4:30 pm. In December, everyone gets double pay. Most employees have been working for the company since its founding eighteen years ago.
The employee retention rate is excellent there, as owners treat workers like members of their own family. For example, they’ll help them out in buying their house with interest-free loans. They’ll also offer support for wedding or funeral expenses. Once, they even went on vacation all together for three days. With spouses and children as well! All-inclusive. The mood at the cutting factory reflects this family atmosphere.
The gemstones are preformed and then heated in a most rudimentary place. See the picture of the machine that holds so many secrets! Overnight, the temperature is maintained at 1,850 degrees Celsius with oxygen supply (through all visible pipes). Then the temperature is gradually reduced. It may take three days for total cooling and it is only then that the colour of the gem is stabilized. I recommend you not to try this at home though!