On-Site Mining


Montana Gems brings you virgin sapphire gravel!

Montana Gems of Philipsburg has a great on-site mining area. Get ready to get dirty washing your Montana sapphire gravel using our running water flume! Great fun for a single traveler or a whole family reunion. The running water flume helps wash away the mud so you can better see your gems. It’s also a great form of entertainment for those less interested in gem-hunting and would prefer to float some boats!  


Our downtown location is easily accessible and provides a relaxed family environment. Sunny weather helps you find your gems and Montana sapphires, but covered tables are available for those days when it’s a little wet. Our outside screening area is open year-round.  


The Montana sapphire material we offer is still in the virgin state and is brought in from private claims. We carry gem material from the El Dorado Bar of the Missouri River, near Helena, Montana as well as Rock Creek sapphire material from Melee Gulch, near the Gem Mountain Peak in the Sapphire Mountains of Philipsburg.

Montana sapphires come in every color of the rainbow but tend to be light blues and greens, resembling sea-glass or old broken coke bottles.


The sapphires found in the El Dorado Bar of the Missouri River range from 1 to 12 carats, with the largest found on site to date being 34.7carats! Sapphires from this deposit tend to run larger than Rock Creek gems but are tough to spot due to their rough shape and muted colors amongst the river gravels. El Dorado sapphires come in a wide range of colors, with several color-shift stones being produced. You may find an occasional ruby, garnet, and/or hematite specimen. Often the hematite has replaced various seeds, nuts, even clam shells and give you a fossilized impression that’s quite interesting and fun to add to your collection. This material may also contain small flakes of gold, fossils or petrified wood.



Virgin Rock Creek sapphire material from the Mountains of Philipsburg provides another flavor or sapphire mining. This deposit is rich in clay, making it a little tougher to wash clean but the sapphires have a little more polished or rounded look, making them easier to spot. This material is from the Potentate Mining Company.