· By Dillon Rose
In the wild rolling hills and steep mountains that form Montana’s impressive landscape, a special stone forms. Within the earth, in areas close to streams and ancients creek beds, small, colorful gems emerge. The hardest gem beside diamond, a compound of aluminum dioxide, sapphire, is found throughout the landscape. Found in green, pink, blue and yellow tones, sapphires are the rainbow found within the earth. A celestial clarity differentiates sapphire from other colorful minerals. This unique clarity is also found throughout Montana in crystal blue streams, lakes and glaciers. The sparkle of waterfalls and mountain snow sprinkles the landscape and leads me to a place of delightful wonder.
My primary mission in Montana was to mine for sapphires, which I successfully did! I brought home more than 100 carats of rough sapphire and left more than 20 carats behind in Montana to be cut and faceted. They should all finish out at the perfect sizes for stud earrings, delicate necklaces or small rings.
I also used the trip as a good opportunity to take my son on a solo trip and explore new landscapes together. After our 2 days of mining in western Montana we went north to Glacier National Park by way of the Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge. Abundant wildlife and excellent birding was sprinkled throughout everyday of our adventure. The highlight of the animals we saw was a large white mountain goat that came down our trail right after we stopped to take pictures of a sapphire necklace by a waterfall.
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