SAPPHIRES were first found in the area in the late 1870’s and by 1890 commercial mining had begun. Many booms and lows have been part & parcel in the life as a Gem prospector. Australian Sapphires dominated the world’s supply of Sapphire in the 1970’s & 80’s. The harsh and hard digging conditions belay the fact that many world famous sapphires have been found, with many more to come. Commercial mining of Australian Sapphires is currently in a low, with hobby miners and fossickers being the prominent “diggers”.
Today exploring the ‘Gemfields’ may encompass sapphire fossicking, mine tours, gem cutting, jewellery shops, and Gem galleries, sieving and the bush experience.
The easiest and fun way to fossick is to visit one or more of the many ‘Fossicking Parks’. The digging of the Sapphire bearing gravel (called wash) has been done for you and all you have to do is sieve and sort for any treasures. This is fun and you learn to identify sapphires in the rough.
The Australian Sapphires found in these areas are blue, green & yellow or beautiful multi-coloured Sapphires known as Parti-Colour Sapphires.
There are 2 underground Sapphire Mines in Rubyvale where you can experience what life is like as a gem prospector below the surface.
Browse the many Sapphire shops and galleries where you will find magnificent gem and Jewellery to dazzle and tempt every taste and price. Indulge yourself or just enjoy.
‘TAYLORS FINE SAPPHIRES’. – specialising in Fine Unique Australian Sapphire Jewellery are a must.
Another form of fossicking is to join a ‘Tag-a-Long’ Fossicking Tour. These are run by keen prospector miners who are going fossicking and digging whether you go or not. They enjoy the thrill of the find, and you can go too, with all the gear and tips included. But remember you do the digging!! An Australian Sapphire found in the ground can be a lifelong memory.
The Sapphire Gemfields is a huge area to explore with many bush tracks, gullies and old mining areas. Enjoy the bush where treasures are found.
The Sapphire Gemfields also has nominated areas set aside where the general public can do their own thing, wander and fossick. Fossicking gear can be hired and licenses purchased locally, detailed maps and Information available from - Dept of Mines & Energy.
‘Specking’ (just scouring the surface for Sapphires lying exposed) is a common method for finding Sapphires particularly after rain.
The towns of Rubyvale and Sapphire have 3 general stores, hotel, Post Offices, fuel, cafes, take-aways, Sunday markets, jewellery shops, gem gallery, gem cutters, goldsmiths and jewellers.
ACTIVITIES: Fossicking, gem cutting, gemstones, specking, jewellery, mining, arts & crafts, four wheel driving, native animals, bushwalking, exploring, birdlife & historical.
Gemfest – Festival of Gems is an annual event held in August every year and is a must!
Just don’t forget that whatever you do you will feel relaxed and comfortable at Rubyvale Motel & Holiday Units - the best accommodation on the Gemfields.