The “big one” eludes most gem hunters, though the thought of it drives us all to keep searching year after year. My largest sapphire turned up in 1989 and it was 4 times larger than any other cutter I’ve found in the years since.
|The "Big One" and a few of its friends from the same hole|
A fiction based on the circumstances of the find appears in the Minerama book on Cassiterite (1994), page 28. (You can download this book from the Australian Lapidary Forum – ALF – site. See the Blog entry for Thursday 4th July 2013). The real stone wasn’t 200 carats, only 120. Nor was it blue. Its colour varied from green to mauve to inky blue depending on how you looked at it.
The stone was cut by Bill Gowlett from the Gem Centre at Inverell, using existing flaws to reduce it to 5 stones with a total cut weight of around 40 carats. A photograph of the 5 stones appears in the Minerama book on Sapphire (2000), page 22.
It has proved quite difficult to photograph the cut stones in anything like the colour they appear to the eye. I can see the green colour, but the camera sees it as mauve. One of the smaller stones seems to be brown in daylight but green by artificial light.
The old channel referred to in the story really exists at the “Down the Hill” location on Yarrow Creek. If anyone wants to remove tonnes of sand and gravel (in a dry season, of course) there is still the chance of another “big one”.
Check out my gem hunting videos from around Glen Innes here .TI also have playlists on Glen Innes, the Blue Mountains and New Zealand.
|The second largest stone - 11 carats|