While on our trip to Montana last month, one thing we really wanted to do was look for sapphires. You buy a bucket of dirt, shake and rock scoops of dirt placed into a mesh box in water, flip the box over, and carefully look for colored bits that look like glass with a pair of tweezers. What a ball we had! I didn't know that spending $20 for a bucket could offer such grand entertainment for hours on end. Forget the theme parks!
This is a picture of what hubby and I found together. The kids each had their own bucket (to cut down on any disagreements...and trying to find the best one first).
Our young daughter found the biggest and best in her bucket--a 3 k round one.
I thought that they would be, well, really blue like one thinks of with a sapphire. The naturally blue out-of-the-mine ones are found more on the eastern side of the state, and we couldn't find a "buy a bucket of dirt" deal there. Most are heat treated to enhance the mineral that is already present in the sapphire--so the pink ones get pinker; the blue ones bluer; etc. Most of the ones we found were too small to have cut. We were thrilled to find many different colors including one small bright pink one.
Perhaps I'll put the natural sapphires into a bottle or something. Otherwise, we sent away to have three cut and heat treated, and, of course, we sent our daughter's to be cut and treated as well. We'll put it into a ring for her when she is older and will appreciate the fact that it is a stone she found herself. I'll show pictures when they arrive...but it won't be for awhile.