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Monday, 19 August 2013


As a gemstone producing location, Rainy Swamp is unusual in several ways. Firstly, the place
is not shown on any of the maps depicting sapphire localities and secondly the wash does not appear to be derived from any source nearby. In fact, I would suggest that the gems are being recycled from remnants of an old stream bed a little above the level of the present day swamp. Conversations with people who mined here 40 years ago confirm that the wash horizon could not be traced further upstream around the edge of the swamp.

Furthermore, everything points to a different
Typical small gems
source from that of the gemstones in Yarrow Creek (into which Rainy Swamp Spring Creek actually flows). The percentage of cutters is lower, the zircons are a different shade of pink, there are no garnets and there is an abundance of schorl tourmaline. Quartz crystals are frequent and topaz is found occasionally. If anything, there is a strong resemblance to the mineral assemblage in Back Creek, the next stream to the south. I would venture to suggest that the Rainy Swamp occurrence is a remnant of a former course of Back Creek.

The bulk of the material found at Rainy Swamp seems to be miners' waste, though there have been pockets of untouched wash found in less accessible places. It is a very rocky area and the best stones have been found underneath the many granite boulders.

Most fossickers enjoy Rainy Swamp because there is always something to be found, whether it be just a few small sapphires and zircons, some nice quartz crystals, chunks of black tourmaline or the elusive piece of topaz.
120 carat topaz
Tourmaline crystal

An article appeared in "Gold Gem and Treasure" magazine in September 1999 called "Summer Fossicking in the Ranges Around Glen Innes". Although the location is not named (naturally) it is Rainy Swamp. What is described is a part of the old lead which the miners must have missed. Unfortunately, on our many visits we have been unable to find a similar spot due to the disturbance of the hillside since 1999.
Check out my gem hunting videos from around Glen Innes here . I also have playlists on Glen Innes, the Blue Mountains and New Zealand. Videos on Rainy Swamp fossicking may be found here  and here.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting John. I couldn't find it on the map though. Is it on private property or public.