WHAT DO MONTANA SAPPHIRES MEAN?
From its rugged mountains, wide-open plains, and crystal clear night skies, Montana is known far and wide for its breathtaking beauty. In fact, Montana is commonly referred to as the "Treasure State", and for good reason, the precious and coveted Montana Sapphire is frequently discovered within its borders.
But what is the Montana sapphire and how is it different from other more commonly known varieties of sapphire? We’ve ‘mined’ the internet to answer all of your Montana Sapphire questions so keep reading to find out!
WHAT IS A MONTANA SAPPHIRE?
Montana sapphires are a type of gemstone that is formed and mined in the state of Montana. They are known for their varying shades of blue, green, and yellow which are caused by the presence of trace elements during the formation of the sapphire.
There are four locations in which sapphires are mined, each with its own defining characteristics, they are:
Yogo Gulch sapphires, also called Gulch sapphires, are found in the Yogo Gulch within Judith Basin County, Montana. They are a highly prized Montana sapphire thanks to their vibrant cornflower blue or deep purple coloring. Because of this, the sapphires do not need to be color-treated.
Rock Creek Sapphires make up the bulk of all Montana sapphires produced. These sparkly gems are known to be well-rounded between 2 millimeters to 1 inch long and come in a variety of colors. One of the defining characteristics of Rock Creek sapphires is the retention of the sapphire's existing external shape, also called a crystal habit. Rock creek sapphires have crystal habits because they have not been carried by mudflows far from their original sapphire-holding rock.
Dry Cottonwood Creek
Dry Cottonwood Creek sapphires have been mined in the area since their discovery in 1889. These unique sapphires are a faintly colored blue or green and have a frosted surface as a result of the stones being brought to the earth's surface via volcanic activity.
Sapphire was discovered here in 1885 but large-scale mining did not begin until 1891. The sapphires unearthed within the Missouri River tend to be larger and have better clarity than other raw sapphires collected within the state. Missouri River sapphires can come in a variety of colors but they are primarily found to be a pale blue or green.
HOW IS A MONTANA SAPPHIRE DIFFERENT FROM A “REGULAR” SAPPHIRE?
While all Montana sapphires are sapphires, not all sapphires are Montana sapphires.
The key difference between the two is that Montana sapphires are mined from the only source of gem-quality corundum in North America.
Another difference between Montana sapphires and their competitors lies in their color and clarity. Although it is possible for the Montana sapphire to develop a variety of colors, by and large, the most frequent are sea-foam blues and greens. Additionally, unlike sapphires from other parts of the world, Montana sapphires are known for their eye-clean clarity.
Finally, Montana sapphires are revered the world over for their ethical mining practices. The United States has strict environmental guidelines that Potentate (the primary Montana sapphire mining company) follows. Potentate utilizes and recycles groundwater and fine gravel, and plants indigenous vegetation to create environmentally friendly sapphire mining.
If you’re looking for an ethical and traceable unique engagement ring you really can’t go wrong with the Montana sapphire.
RAW VS. POLISHED MONTANA SAPPHIRES
Although Montana sapphires are some of the most beautiful in the world, there's no denying that their natural beauty can be even more striking when enhanced by the skilled hand of a jeweler.
In fact, because of their unique shades of color and high clarity, Montana sapphires are frequently set into fine jewelry still in their raw uncut state. This gives you the opportunity to showcase the stone's natural beauty while also adding your own personal touch through custom design work and setting techniques.
For example, this Bluebell Montana Sapphire Ring is resplendent and lush with its deep and alluring rough blue sapphire. The color is so vibrant that the sapphires seem to pulse and glow with a life of its own. Held in place by six dainty prongs and featuring a handcrafted yellow solid gold band cast from a real blueberry sprig, its stunningly delicate features only serve to highlight the depth of the rough cut sapphire.
On the flip side, polished Montana sapphires have been cut and polished to create various facets. These facets reflect light back at the viewer to increase sparkle, clarity, and color depth. If you’re looking for a sapphire that is loud and proud a polished Montana Sapphire may be perfect for you.
Consider, the Naples Teal Montana Sapphire Solitaire Ring which artfully conjures images of the vast Montana sky with its polished and sparkling 0.61-carat solitaire sapphire. Its solid gold or platinum band supports the center stone which elegantly reflects flashes of light off of its many facets for a pulled-together look that is luxuriously ethereal.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF MONTANA SAPPHIRES
Montana sapphires were first discovered in 1865 by gold prospectors who were perplexed to find small traces of colored sand in the prospecting pans. Called Alluvial sapphires, these small white and yellow sapphires were quickly brushed aside and dismissed.
Thirty years later, in the 1890s, a new property owner decided to send some small pebble samples from the Yogo Gulch to Tiffany’s (yes, that Tiffany’s) Gemologist, George Kunz. To the surprise of all, Kunz declared the sapphires the “finest precious gemstones ever found in the United States” and a sapphire rush quickly developed in response. This rush unearthed even more sapphire sites which have since been mined for sapphires to varying success.
Thanks to the influx and specificity of sapphires within Montana’s state borders, Montana adopted the Montana sapphire as its state gem in 1969.
In the 1980s a heat treatment was developed by Thailand Gem Treaters. This treatment utilizes temperatures between 752℉ and 3092℉ to improve clarity and color by dissolving sapphire silk, removing color zones, and deepening color. Thanks to the new technology, the Alluvial sapphires that were deemed worthless were able to evolve into precious and vibrant gems.
WHAT DO MONTANA SAPPHIRES REPRESENT?
If you're looking for a gemstone that will help you feel calm, clear, and spiritually connected, then Montana sapphires are a perfect choice.
It's long been said that sapphires bring wisdom and integrity to those who wear them. The vibrant blue color is said to increase feelings of calm and serenity, which can help you focus on your spiritual side and find inner peace.
It is also believed that sapphires can alleviate physical ailments such as headaches, insomnia, depression, and more. Perhaps most importantly, a Montana sapphire engagement ring will represent your lasting love for your partner.
Montana Sapphire Engagement Rings at Olivia Ewing Jewelry
Olivia Ewing Jewelry creates handcrafted Montana Sapphire engagement rings that are both ethically sourced and stunning. From twig to ring, personal attention is paid to the piece from every stage of creation to ensure a masterful and unique ring. With Olivia Ewing Jewelry, you can rest assured that your ring is made with love and care—and that it will last a lifetime.