Finding a sapphire, it’s not all that hard.
The Gemfields in central Queensland is one of the best sapphire producing fields in the world. The Gemfields is the area surrounding and including the towns of Anakie, Sapphire, Rubyvale and The Willows. There are several designated fossicking areas where anybody can go and dig for sapphires. The best time for a trip is the winter months ( May to September) because it can get really hot in summer. Rules do apply how ever and in Queensland you will need a fossicking permit which can be purchased from several shops on the Gemfields. Camping is allowed in all of the fossicking areas and when you camp
in the fossicking area you can make the most of your stay. You won’t have to pack up your gear every day, just leave it in your hole and head back to camp for a cold beer. The happy hours on the Gemfields are something to look forward to. Out comes the grog (usually home brew) and nibbles, with plenty of sob stories and bragging about the day’s diggin’.
A tip for you here is to always take a torch with you when you visit a neighbour’s camp for “beer o’clock”, because you will, without doubt always be finding your way back to your camp in the dark, and usually with your “wobbly boots” on.
It’s a wonder we are not all alcoholics, “or are we”? But if roughing it is not for you there are several caravan parks to choose from in the towns. So, now you have somewhere to camp and you have got yourself a fossicking permit all you need is some tools. A pick, a shovel and a sieve is all you really need to get started. These can be hired in the area if you don’t have your own. You can get a bit more
serious and get yourself a willoughby, a device for washing your gravel which makes it a lot easier to spot the sapphires in the wash. Now head out to one of the fossicking areas, our favourite is Glenalva which is 20 kilometers west of Anakie.
Where to dig? It is not hard to find some where to dig, all you need to do is look for a hole that someone else has dug, and then just jump in and continue on. Just because someone has abandoned a hole does not mean there is nothing there, it might just mean that their holiday is over and they have had to go. There is one rule on the fields though, and that is you never hop in and dig where someone else is digging or has left their tools. If there are tools left in a hole, this means whoever is digging there will be back and the hole is taken.
Sapphires come in many colours not just blue as many people believe but most look dark until you hold them up to the sun, then you will see the colour. The people are friendly and there is always someone willing to give you a bit of advice, in some cases a lot of advice. Don’t be shy, just say g’day and you will find most gem hunters are up for a chat. Once you have found your sapphire, and if it is a good one, you will need to have it cut. There are many cutters on the Gemfields and word of mouth works well in getting yourself a reputable one, then you will have something to show off to your mates.