Gemstones Found in Montana

      Agate is found along the Yellowstone river in eastern Montana. This stone is wonderful in jewelry once polished.


      Montana's "Cornflower Blue" Sapphire is known throughout the world. However, less known is that all colors of sapphires (every color of corundum except red), are mined in the Rock Creek area of Montana. For example, they get various shades of pink, yellow, gold, white, and blue-green. All come in high quality, although quantity is limited in the fancy colors, depending on size, color, etc. Blues and blue-green sapphires are the most prevalent.

      Yogo Sapphires retain their brilliance under artificial light. This makes them in high demand for jewelry as other sapphires look duller as they aborb the light.

      Though the Rock Creek mine is not open to the public, there are nearby areas known as Gem Mountain that are sometimes open to the public during the summer. If the nearby area is not open, one can always buy bags of sapphire gravel, wash it and find the sapphires. (They even have a video to give you instructions -- to have your own "Sapphire Fever" party.)

    Other less common stones include: Beryl, Amethyst, Smoky Quartz, Obsidian, Tourmaline, Garnet

Montana State Gemstones

    State Gemstone: Yogo Sapphire
    Yogo Sapphire was adopted in 1969 as Montana's State Gemstone.

    State Gemstone: Agate
    Agate was also adopted in 1969 as Montana's State Gemstone.

Useful Books & Bibliography:

  • Symbols of Montana - by Rex C. Myers, Norma B. Ashby
    Symbols illustrate the historic development of Montana. From its first symbol, the seal in 1865, Montana has adopted a total of 12 symbols to represent its interests and its affections.

  • Rockhounding Montana - by Robert Feldman
    Montana is a rockhound's dream, where inland seas once deposited fossils and minerals that the forces of geology have since laid bare. Rockhounding Montana, formerly The Rockhound's Guide to Montana, can lead you to the Yellowstone River, where you can comb the gravel for Montana agate, an official state gemstone, or to the badlands along Hell Creek, where paleontologists have found dinosaur remains.

  • Yogo: The Great American Sapphire - by Stephen M. Voynick
    Great information on Yogo Sapphire.

  • Roadside Geology of Idaho (Roadside Geology Series) - by Donald W. Hyndman, David D. Alt
    Geology of Idaho. There are no better books for roadside geologizing than the Roadside Geology series.

    Gemstone Related:

  • Gemstones (Smithsonian Handbooks) - by Cally Hall, Harry Taylor (Photographer)
    A field guide to gemstones. Nice pictures and good, brief, well-written descriptions of over 130 varieties of gemstones.

  • The Curious Lore of Precious Stones - by George Frederick Kunz
    The definitive book on fascinating, traditional gem lore. Very practical.

  • Gemstone Buying Guide: A Guide to Buying - by Renee Newman
    Very nice gemstone identification book.

  • Simon and Schuster's Guide to Gems and Precious Stones - by C. Ciprianai, Kennie Lyman (Editor), Alessando Borelli
    This book is one inch thick and every facing page has a full colored photo of gems or precious stones. Hardness, weights, cuts, refractions, and value of color are given for each gem.

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Montana Travel Information