Where To Find Sapphires
The sapphires can be found all through the ground, but most are concentrated near the bottom of dirt sitting on or just above the ‘floor’ – this used to be the ancient creek bed.
Along time ago, sapphire moved from the volcano where it was formed, to selected regions via water flow.
The ‘floor’ is sometimes referred to as bedrock. It can be any depth from one foot down to 90 foot below the surface. The Bedford Hills district has the deepest floor. Here at Graves Hill we a find sapphires from 1 to 18 foot in the areas we have explored so far.
To get to the sapphire rich wash a vertical shaft is dug straight down, this can be dug with machinery thankfully for those in areas of 50 foot floor. Once the floor is reached, the miner then starts his tunnels straight out along the floor with the aid of jackhammers.
Often machinery winched are used to pull up the buckets of sapphire bearing dirt to the surface to be worked through the machinery. In the areas where the floor is shallower, like 4-12 foot some ‘open cut’ which is basically digging a big open pit.
The advantage is that you are out in the open.
The disadvantages being that you are open to the elements and sometimes need a shade roof over you in the warmer months, and the other disadvantage is that the top layer of dirt must be moved away, this dirt may have sapphire in it, but not as much as the ground just above the floor – so it is up to the individual if he process’s this dirt or not; Remembering that some very good sapphires are found near the surface.
It is always fascinating to follow the leads or runs of sapphire and sometimes a pattern emerges where you can see the sapphire (being heavy) has dropped where the old water flow has slowed, like behind a boulder or on the inside bend of a river or where there is a bit of a whirlpool, enough to slow the water down and the sapphire can drop and stay.
The sapphire is heavy like the gold nuggets so you are able to sometimes discover or get a feel for where there may be a pocket of sapphires sitting.
On our mining lease, we have many large boulders underground and the richest sapphire bearing wash is found on the upward slope beside the underground boulder.
When you are on a gem rich area you can often see the sapphire in the wall as you are digging or in the ground amongst the loose dirt that you have dug. This is always a thrill!
After a heavy downpour of rain you can walk around the gem fields and sometimes find sapphire lying on the surface, recently uncovered and washed, just gleaming in the sun.