Fossicking

Fossicking  for  Sapphires sapphire

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

Our camp at Glenalva

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’.

Happy hour at our camp at Glenalva

 

 

 

 

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.

The Jim Beam tree at Glenalva

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

Using a willaboughby

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.

 

Diggings on the gemfields

 

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.

Spot the sapphire

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.

 

Finding a sapphire is not all that hard to do. 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 severaldesignated 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.

Our camp site at Glenalva

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 skiting about the day’s diggin’. A tip for you here is to always take a torch with you when you visit a

The Jim Beam tree

neighbour’s camp for “beer o’clock”, because you will 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?

Happy hour on the fields

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

Using a willoughby to wash the gravel

device for washing your gravel which makes it a lot easier to spot the sapphires. Now head out to one of the fossicking areas, our favourite is Glenalva which is 20 kilometers west of Anakie. It is not hard to find some where to dig, all you do is look for a hole that someone else has dug, and then just continue on. Just because a hole has been left doe’s not mean there is nothing there, it might just mean that their

Diggings

holiday is over and they have had to go. There is one rule on the fields, 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. We have seen people hop in a hole that is not theirs and use the tools left in there, and believe me, one day they will wear a pick, . Back to digging,  you need to find the “wash”, this is a layer of gravel below the surface. The depth of the wash will vary but in the fossicking areas it is usually about half a meter to one meter deep.

Spot the sapphire

When you find the wash keep an eye out for any

Dry sieving at Glenalva

dark stones. Sapphires are not all blue they come in many colours 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 a good one, you will need to have it cut and then you will have some thing to show off to your mates.

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