This is the main station for purchase of gravel bags and washing your own gravel that you have dug. it is right off York Rd. in Helena, MT.
You have to be ready to dig your own gravel or buy pre-packaged ones. They even have precut stones for sale as well as jewelry. They will weigh your finds and tell you how much your stones are worth.
The mine is easy access on York Road. It hosts a family owned operation with a main house and tables for sifting and sorting sapphires. Attendants teach you how to shake your gravel and process it on the many tables available. It is close to Helena so you can get lunch if needed quickly. You are offered different bags of gravel depending up place and quantity of expected sapphires. The bags vary in sizes to accommodate the purse strings of the buyer.
We were offered a place to dig behind the main house. We were led to the “pit” along with some Bozeman people. They provide the shakers, buckets, and shovels so you don’t really need supplies. We bought buckets that we dug for $10 each to take home which they put into sacks for $1 each. Upon sifting them at home we found nothing in them, but our Bozeman counterparts found a huge 7.9 carat blue sapphire that made the owner’s son jealous.
My son last year dug 10 buckets in the same area and found nothing as well. Apparently the bags that are sold in the store are from the El Dorado Bar area where the other mines are located.
It is an easy place to learn how to classify sapphires and if you buy the bags, you might be luckier than if you dig. The scenery is gorgeous and it is worth the trip. They have been in business for a long time and taught many about sapphire mining.