Spotting with the Naked Eye; Are You Good Enough?
Bought a bag of gravel for ten bucks at the El Dorado Mine along York Road out of Helena. Before I got home to process the gravel for possible sapphires I thought, "I bet I could find them without soaking them in water!" So, I sat in my car before a meeting and filed through the ziplock bag. Found nothing. Blamed the poor showing on the source.
Several days later I decided to run them under water in a colander to see if the water showed up anything. Wham, bam, thank you mam' there were two shiny blue stones my eye didn't catch. Proud owner of some sapphires I thought I could spot, but didn't in the raw. They always say go through your gravel several times. I am sure at least once would be good, and not have elevated skills as it is good to double check on what you think you can do while prospecting.
Billings Rock Shop
Want to take your rock breath away? Try stopping into the Stones and Bones rock shop on 24th in Billings and see what you will feel when you open the door and step into the room filled with every kind of rock imaginable.
Crystal, the operator exhibits knowledgeable skills of many uses of the stone from decorative, healing, lapidary, and more, and is ready and willing to answer any of your questions about rock hounding in Montana, and all over the world. Her rocks rock!!
Just the choices of pendulums is an eye catcher, plus all the egg rocks all in a circular fashion. The fossil display is profound, and whatever avenue of rock pursuits you might have, certainly she can answer your questions. Stop by for the rock of your life. It's amazing.
All Things That Sparkle
The gem and mineral shows across Montana in the springtime feature a gigantic array of choices of stones, novelties, fossils, rocks, minerals, anomalies, and the hard to find items. Stories of seeking adventure for their finds abound as well. The earth's treasures from all over the world are on display. But the samples have its draw. So many pieces to garner your attention to hop in your pocket with laying down some cash to take home.
Certainly, the history that lies in each morsel of earth's beauty can be at your fingertips to examine and mull over for your weekend perusal.
The Helena Mineral Society puts on a two-day event with opportunities on the second floor level to examine sapphires in the gravel, play games with the rocks, and a silent auction that moves rapidly throughout the day. The displays are perfect, and the entire family finds lots of curious objects to feast the eyes upon. Lustville prevails; all life's desires can be found at these shows. You will love them.
Butte, Montana Gem and Mineral Show Rocks!!
If you can't find the time or opportunity to head out to Arizona in the winter months, spinning over to Butte's Gem and Mineral Show in June gives you the brushing of shoulders with rock vendors from everywhere with rocks from all over the world on parade just like in Arizona.
These Ethiopian opals were a hit with the show with the water baths helping to showcase their beauty you could purchase as they weighed them per gram.
Rocks from China, South Africa, Basin Montana, Arizona, Utah, Madagasgar, you name the place and the vendors had polished, raw, partial, complete, rock beads, and even hair from wooly mammoths encased. I brought home some wooly mammoth ivory from tusks a few hundred thousand years old.
Feeling connected with the mineral vibrations from all over the world was a part of what jumped out to you with flash, shine and sparkle. Wondrous sites with silent auction happenings every few minutes. A real go to event on the must see list.
If you are inclined to search for sapphires on flat ground and not traverse dirt trails up the mountain top down to a mine, you might want to consider stopping at Blaze N Gems right off of York Road instead of heading for the hills. You have the same opportunities to find your sapphires in gravel buckets, classify, and wash them to find your sapphires. The atmosphere is just different and there is less wear and tear on your car if you stay down at his shop in the Helena Valley. If you dig in his mine up on the hill, you can be remote, have the deer watch you and dig at bedrock. Either way, you can get gravel to find Montana sapphires. He has a cool rock collection at his shop and you can see his array of cut stones.
When one travels around the state of Montana stops at local rock shops are high on the list of places to visit.
Just outside of Bozeman at the gateway to Yellowstone National Park is Livingston. It has a rock shop that is open 6 days a week loaded full of fossils, gemstones and all things related to rocks.
It is found on the side of a mini mall on your way down to rockhound in the Petrified Forest.
This rock shop was recommended by the Great Falls rock shop owner Mark Amundson who is friends with these owners
If you want to be knowledgeable about rocks and talk to someone who has been in the business a long time stop by to check out their vast rock collection and see what they have to offer. You'll be glad you did and especially if you have you rock kids who want to know more in the form of Montana geology.
Mark Amundson, a Vietnam vet, has the only Great Falls rock shop at the 4West Art League at the Columbus Center.
He is open mainly on First Friday Art Walks or by special appointment.
He specializes in agates but has a wide variety of stones such as dinosaur rocks and fossils of a very unique nature.
He makes jewelry out of any rock you bring him and he definitely knows his stuff.
You can ask him any rock question you can think of and he will tell you lots of stories about your inquiries.
He winters in Arizona each year and has lots of stories to tell of the gigantic rock events offered there.
He always gives guests to his shop a complimentary stone and he regularly goes rock hunting along the rivers and streams of Montana he knows where you can find many specialty stones and fossils.
You just have to talk with him and ask your questions. He is a great resource.
There's nothing like the counter of a rock shop as a sight for sore eyes. All those multi colored specimens ground to perfection, showing all the tiny particles of earthen beauty encased with a bevel of metal that can hang from your neck.
Some are found in Avon, some in the back hills behind the rock shop out of Helena, but some cut with the most brilliant shine you just gotta have it. Rocks just call to you without using a phone dial tone. They make you feel like you own something of value and you never want to let them go.
Outside a rock shop you can find rocks just sitting because they are so perfect to own, like at Blaze N' Gems on York Road. Then go to the mine up top the hill and you can dig yourself some. Rock shops are for visitors to our state and towns. Helena has some good ones, of course, Bynum, and Phillipsburg touts sapphires all around the area. Rocks just help us live life better. Get some for your pockets all over Montana!!
Watch Live on Facebook Andrew Luna cut slabs of rocks and tour around his yard for his buckets and piles of rocks collected from all around Montana and elsewhere is captivating.
Even though it takes 15-20 minutes to slice a slab of rock, you get tours and sites and sounds of a rock hounding advocate. Ask to sign up on facebook for 406 Minerals and exploration so you can get the notices of when Andrew goes live. You will be fascinated at the earthen beauty that comes alive with each slice. It's totally fun. They are found out of Helena, the seat of all things rocks. You will love it.
Had never heard of this organization that was started at the beginning of the 1900’s until a serious rock hounder told me this was the source of information and records for the state of Montana that you could not find anywhere else.
When researched on the internet the find was astounding and quickly a date was set to go see this facility on site. The archival records is what I am seeking because apparently one can have anything you want put onto a disk for your perusal at home.
In looking at their website there is much to see. Just the idea of the meteorites from the sky or the 27.5 troy ounce gold nugget found out of Butte. For sure there will be pictures of these to share with you for your trips around the state.
In setting your future goals put this on your October calendar because this program will surely fill the bill for any topics of mineral and mining interest that you might have.
While you are in Butte attending this symposium, plan on going to the archival section and see how the integral workings of this fabulous place work.
Plus, you cannot miss the museum itself on the third floor overlooking the campus of Montana Tech. You will be sure to want to take lots of pictures of the gold and all the stones that abound in this room.