Have you ever been arrested for “worrying the squirrels?” No? Well, maybe that’s because you’re not from Montana where such a heinous act is considered a crime. (Hopefully you’re kind to squirrels too!)
Montana, known as the treasure state (originally because of gold and silver deposits), not only produces some strange laws but also some of the most desired sapphires in the world. In fact, sapphire is the official state gemstone of Montana.
Fancy sapphires which are any colored sapphires besides blue, white, and red (known as rubies) are found in the western part of the state and “cornflower blue” Yogo sapphires are found in central Montana.
Montana has more variety of fancy sapphires than anywhere in the world. They come in green, pink, yellow, peach, orange and more. These gems require heat treatment which is the process of heating gems to their near melting point to improve their color and/or clarity. Most sapphires from around the world are heat treated.
Pink and yellow fancy sapphires have become a popular choice for engagement rings as they resemble pink and yellow diamonds and exude femininity and fun.
Another fun fancy sapphire is the Parti-sapphire. These unique gems display more than one color. Think green and blue or purple and orange appearing in a single stone! Parti-sapphires are difficult to find in store because manufacturers don’t buy such unique stones in bulk. You’ll only be able to get your hands on one of these gorgeous multi-colored stones by visiting a custom jeweler (like Les Olson).
The most precious sapphires in North America are Yogo sapphires found in the Yogo Gulch in the Little Belt Mountains. The perfect crystallization of Yogo sapphires during their geologic formation allows them to have consistent coloring and pristine clarity. These sapphires are usually free of inclusions and are never heat treated.
Yogo sapphires are known for their distinguishable “cornflower blue” color, one of the truest blues available without heat treatment. And while most sapphires found in the Yogo Gulch are brilliant blue, rarely you’ll find violet and purple. The rarest of all Yogo sapphires range from magenta to true red.
These gems are often very small in carat size usually weighing in less than 1/10th of a carat. Finished cut stones over 1ct are extremely rare.
A big selling point for Montana sapphire is that they’re ethically sourced. They have an easily traced supply chain and are guaranteed to be conflict-free and fair trade.
Visit Les Olson Jewelers to get your hands on one of Montana’s finest treasures. You won’t be disappointed.