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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Sat Aug 08, 2015 10:25 pm 
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Icehut wrote:
Montana doesn't have mining claim info online?

That's just sad.

Collecting my own up there has long been on my bucket list, but small stones aren't much use to me, alas.



What exactly do you consider "small"?


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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:46 am 
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Location: N Dakota
mining claim info for Montana is cryptic at best. Lots of info from the forest service to be sifted through. Then there is the BLM. Of course after you are thoroughly confused there, you also need to file with the county recorder. And you will need to file state permits if you plan to use a suction dredge.
It took weeks to find all the info on permitting, but the hardest is finding any records locating existing claims in areas you plan to prospect. Platt maps, forestry service boundary's, BLM maps, and of course you must list it properly with section, township, range, not GPS coordinates!
If you plan to prospect, scout first for markers not so easily spotted even if you are looking. Access points, section line corner posts, a stacked pile of rocks. If its claimed they dont want you there, but they dont want to broadcast that there might be something there either.
I would suggest a good conversation with the forest ranger about known claims in the area, and be very polite when or if you meet up with someone while you are poking around. prospecting and mining tend to have folks that dont like other folks close to what they think is theirs. And most are packing heavy, and wont hesitate to send you on your way. No its not the first time I've been too close for someone elses comfort.
Legally you can walk all through a claim, hunt, fish, whatever. A rock is not worth the life of a friend or family member. Not saying you will get shot but you might fall a long ways down hill in a panicked trip. results are the same.
Do your home work, be smart about it and be safe. File your
NOI 36CFR 228.4a locatable minerals, :lol: and have fun.

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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:31 pm 
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Again!! Cancelled again! Well I give up for this year. The only consolation is I can order sapphire gravels and have them delivered for less than it cost me to drive out and get them myself. :twisted: I hate the UPS guy anyway, he can deliver 3 or 400 lbs of gravel to my doorstep and I wont feel bad at all. Maybe Ill let the dogs chase him back to his truck for more entertainment. Did I mention Im not a fan of the UPS guy? Of the various gravel outlets for sapphires in Mt. Gem Mountain is by far the best value. Yes they are typically small gems but very nice. Some of the stuff you get from Helena area isn't that great. Bigger isnt always better, but there is a greater chance of a 3-10ct rough! And they will tell you its salted with treated stones. Kind of takes the fun out of it for me. If I wanted treated sapphires I would just buy them in the colors I want. The other place salts theirs also but they arent pre treated and they are from the same mine. Take what you can get when you cant get it yourself. I guess it just gives me more time to plan out next years trip. Dang it anyway!

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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2015 6:36 pm 
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I just got back from Gem Mtn. Didn't find anything over 2 carats. The ground they are in right now is producing some really nice pinks. I found a nice red/pink just under 2 carats. I brought back 20 bags so I can assure myself of having a sore back throughout the winter. I also left behind 1300 carats to be heat treated. Was really smokey from all the forest fires. So much smoke it made me sick to my stomach. I hope next year is better.


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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:46 pm 
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Wow 1300 ct that was a busy trip! How long did you spend at the screening station? Or were they stones that just needed to be treated?

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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:24 pm 
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The 1300 was hoarding for about 7 years worth of trips. Anxious to get them back.


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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 10:36 am 
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What size stones are you treating? 5mm and up, or 8mm and up? If you lose ?% of the stone after cutting

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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2015 12:14 pm 
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Montana sapphires are ideal for overseas cutting in the smaller sizes. The guys in Thailand really know how to handle sapphire and you can get nice stones done pretty cheaply. So even if they aren't feasible for american cutting they are still worth treating sometimes.

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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 12:40 pm 
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We were at Gem Mountain August 24-25 and witnessed an estimated 25 ct yellow. He didn't make a fuss and quickly put it in his pocket. If we hadn't been right next to him no one would have known. He looked like a hard core rockhound...

Proof that big ones are still in them thar hills...


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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:14 pm 
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still studying the recovery process of gems vs gold or other heavier minerals. Most minerals are easily separated from the materials they come with in a placer environment. The simple fact that they are 8 x's heavier than the normal gravels makes a variety of methods effective. Gems however are a different matter being only a fraction heavier than the extracted materials. Washing becomes important, screening or classifying multiple times is essential. Still gravity works in our favor as long as we size our materials very closely. Perhaps as close as 2mm steps for say Sapphires from the rock creek area in MT. If the area has gold, platinum, or iron, in abundance you may want to keep your fines for closer inspection and use a sluice box to run those concentrates after you separate them from your gravels. A pulse jig is more effective in processing gems once you allow your heavies to sink away in the rough stage, the intermediate stage is where you will find the majority of your gems. The rough allowed things like fishing sinkers and shotgun pellets or gold and black sand to drop away from the lighter gems and wont displace them in the process. In the next stage the gems become the heaviest material in the box and force lighter materials of the same size up and out as tailings. Classify classify classify! At a place like Gem Mountain the bucket of dirt is easily screened first with a simple bucket screen system. Then take your same size materials to the wash bay and shake to concentrate the gems in the center. Same size materials to sort through keeps you from missing a gem hiding under a larger worthless rock. The automation of a pulse jig takes your hands out of the wash and shake portion, but you still get the fun of sorting out the gems from the washed basket of gem concentrates. I have efficiently run gravels through a sluice box and recovered 100% of the gems in the material. I have also done this with a gold screw. The secret is in the number of steps you must go through. Its a simple process of capture and elimination. If Im running a sluice I run materials first to capture the heavy concentrates and slough the tailings. Then I re run the tailings with a few adjustments of pitch and water flow to repeat the process to trap gem concentrates and slough waste gravels. Final step is to run your concentrates. A gold screw set up for gold recovery is too steep an incline for gems and must be adjusted to work with the specific gravity of your target. Dont let them tell you gems cant be recovered with typical gold mining equipment. It works fine if you modify your approach to fit your target materials. I am building a pulse jig with a viewing chamber for better understanding of the fluidbed separation process. It will also help to fine tune water flow requirements with different size materials. And its really cool to watch.

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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:26 pm 
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Dan your posts are too long for me. Can not read so much

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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:27 pm 
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But any way i am happy that you are doing good

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 Post subject: Re: the hunt for montana sapphires
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:34 pm 
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Love this thread and hope to read more from our intrepid sapphire hunters!

Do many of the Montana sapphires come in decent crystal form?

I could use small opaque sapphire crystals if the price is right.

Why exactly is classification so important when looking for sapphires?


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