(an introduction by a Doug Worrall)

Digging for sapphires gives you plenty of time to think… thoughts such as “why am I doing this?”, “why are sapphires so hard to find” and “my, I’m gonna be buff after a day of digging with this pick.”

Sapphires are hard to find… you have to shift a lot of dirt and rock; you have to sift and sieve for hours, days or years to find that “great stone.”  But, as anyone who has tried it will tell you, the thrill of finding even a gem-quality sapphire — buried for millions of years just waiting for you to discover it — and then having it cut and set into a beautiful piece of jewellery is priceless.

But, as I said, they can be hard to find.  I know… in 2011 I visited the Queensland Gemfields on a camping holiday with my wife and kids intent on digging up a monster sapphire.  How hard could it be?  Armed with some equipment rented from the caravan park we were staying at we headed out to one of the public fossicking areas sprinkled throughout the Gemfields and started digging.

By the time my hole was two metres deep, with the faint sound of Chinese voices telling me that I had almost dug through the planet with no success, it occurred that we might benefit from some professional advice.  Actually, it was my wife that suggested it… my natural “male” response was simply to come back tomorrow and dig even deeper (perhaps I would surface in a jewellry store in Hong Kong and be able to help myself).

That’s when we decided to go on a “tag-along tour” run by a local miner Keith Bezett.  On these self-drive tours you accompany Keith out to the fossicking areas where he provides the equipment, knowledge, advice and a cup of tea and biscuits at smoko time.  Of course, you provide the sweat!

In the afternoon you can visit Keith’s brother, Dave Bezett, at the Fascination Gems & Crystals centre in Rubyvale where he will give you a professional assessment of all of the sapphires you dug out in the morning.  He has also been cutting sapphires for decades and will be happy to facet any particular treasures you may have found.

Well, to cut a long story short, we discovered that there is quite a bit to learn about the actual art of finding sapphires, and there would be none better than Keith, with 20+ years experience, to pass on this knowledge. Of course there is nothing going to further your skills and knowledge better than getting out in the field an getting your hands dirty.

My wife and I have read just about everything there is on the Internet about sapphire fossicking and find the information to be a little lacking.  As Keith told me last week (yes, we came back again the following year)… Doug, I’ve forgotten more about sapphires than you will ever know. We are, therefore, really excitied that Keith is starting this blog where, perhaps, we can learn a little more before Keith forgets that too!

So please allow me to welcome you to Sapphire Talk!, discussion, links and information about sapphires, fossicking, life and times in the Queensland Gemfields!

Doug Worrall
September, 2012 



September 1, 2012 · Posted in Blog