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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Day 13 of 31 - I Dig Playing With Rocks, Sapphires - Part 1

I am fortunate to live in Montana the "Treasure State", known for its mining resources and vast natural resources, lush landscapes and wildlife. I find myself enjoying just that... mining and treasure hunting in the form of rock hounding, digging, sifting through rock and yes... gravel.


Today's efforts involve cleaning, sorting, sifting, gleaning, and rinsing, sorting some more and repeating these steps until it is certain the gravel depleted of treasure. Then and only then is the section of gravel put aside. It is not worth risking throwing away an unturned treasure and believe me folks have. I have gleaned treasure out of gravel that folks left for trash. We are looking for Sapphires!


What we need to look for is something that looks like sea glass. I will remove it from the gravel whether large or small, flawed or not, they are all validation in my eyes. I CAN use them all in my creations. I am not limited to setting in snap sets  pre-made bezels. In my work, I am more versatile and there is a place for all that I find, even fragment pieces - raw, rough, refined, enhanced, heated, fortified, and faceted, etc. Stay tuned for future posts to see what these beauties become...

I thought I'd share a little of the joy with you. If you want to know or learn more. I would be honored to share the path with you. And even help you along... Ready???


First we measure some into our screen. The we shake and sift it in the tub of water outside for a few minutes to wash the dirt away. Then we flip the screen over, yes invert the screen over the table top. This way we can now remove the screen and sort through the pile of wet gravel. Much like when we were kids at the beach and made sand blocks or mud pies or things like that. Just now we have gravel and we are not going to build we are going to inspect...


Now immediately. Scan.... Don't be surprised if you have a few playing peek-a-boo right at the start. They are heavier tend to drift to the bottom so when you invert your screen they are on the top! If they aren't don't be dismayed. You just didn't give a strong enough shaking in the sifting in the bath. It comes with practice too. They are in there and you will jump out of your seat when you start finding them


Make sure you have these items if you want to try to do this: 

*the gravel
*sifting/qualifying screen
*washtub, water source bigger than screen to allow sluicing
* containers with/lids to store sapphires (Specimen jars, test tubes, seed beads discards, would work well for this)
*tweezers to pluck them out of the gravel 
*jewellers loupe/magnifying lens to inspect for flaws or ribbons
*small bottle with straw squirter to rinse specimens with as needed

My hubby and I make our own kits and can help you with yours if you decide you want to take the plunge. We get all of our gravel from Gem MountainIf we aren't on the mountain digging, we're in town using their facilities, when roads are too bad we have it shipped and I sort at home. No matter what. I always bring a bag or two home with me. Good stuff. Good clean fun, my loving granddaughter corrects me, "it's not clean until you wash it Nan", funny kid. 

Give it a shot, or not. This is one of the things I dig, it's a guilty pleasure finding treasure. Thanks for letting me share. Be good to yourselves. 

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