Every year in August (In Australia’s winter) you can visit Gemfest, the ‘Festival of Gems’. Gemfest is the largest Sapphire exhibition in Australia that is organized annually over four days.
Of course, local Sapphires will be the Gems of choice during the festival, but you can also admire a great selection of pearls, diamonds, opals, zircons, and several other interesting Gemstones at the festival.
Australia’s Sapphire Gemfields, in Central Queensland, is a region that covers some 900 square kilometers (347 square miles) of the most important Sapphire-bearing terrain in the world. The area includes the towns of Sapphire, Rubyvale, Anakie, and Willows. The area offers a lot to uncover, and you may even discover your riches that could be just a stone’s throw away.
What are Sapphires
The mineral corundum has a gem variety that’s called ‘Sapphire’. It is actually one of the most sought-after and highest prized gems that we know, and Sapphires can have all sorts of colors. All gems of all colors are called ‘Sapphires’ with the exception of the red stones that are named ‘Rubies’. So a Ruby is a red Sapphire.
The general colors that are found in the Sapphire Gemfields are yellow, blue, and green. Besides these three colors, you can also find gems here that have a multi-colored pattern. These gems are called ‘Parti Colored Sapphires’. One more type of Sapphire is also found here, a variety named a ‘Star Sapphire’. This gem comes usually with a black or bronze color and will be showing, in a particular lighting, a star-like sheen.
We can see that the blue-colored Sapphire is the best-known type, but it is actually the Yellow Sapphire, and then particularly the rich golden-yellow sapphires) that come at the highest prices. A lot of the Parti Colored Sapphires also come at a hefty price.
Legends and Wisdoms
All through the ages, in fact, since the days of the early Roman Empire, Sapphires have been highly collectible items. Already in those days, Sapphires were traded and worn like jewels, and they were also known as the ‘Gems of the Soul’. Sapphires are the birthstones for September, and they are also known as 45th-anniversary stones.
In the old days, Sapphires were said to protect their wearers from any danger at times of epidemics, and the stones gave them good will and honor. The precious stones were also said to attract divine favor and protected the wearers from envy, and a sapphire was also the ‘gem of devoted love’.
(Australia’s Largest Underground Walk-in Sapphire Mine)
When visiting the area, you really should check out ‘the Miner’s Heritage‘. Here you can experience the largest ‘Walk-In Underground Sapphire Mine Tour’ in Australia. Miners Heritage was set up in 1982 while the mine was still working mine, and a little later, the decision was taken to provide Mine Tours as well.
After completion of the mine entry and an underground showroom, Miners Heritage was officially opened in 1984, and the first Mine Tours were offered. In 2004, the construction of a new above-ground and air-conditioned showroom was completed to celebrate the site’s 20th anniversary.
Miner’s Heritage offers visitors an unforgettable experience and highlights the life of miners and the world of Sapphire mining through the decades. Miner’s Heritage is located in the town of Rubyvale, Central Queensland, right at the center of the Sapphire fields. You can not only embark on an underground tour of Miner’s Heritage, you can also spend some time in the adjacent park trying to find your own precious gem.