There is no greater treasure than the sapphires in Montana. Montana is known for having some of the best sapphires in the world.

Many of the mines throughout Montana will sell you gravel to sift and wash either on-site or later depending on the location. During peak tourist season, many people visit Montana trying their hand at finding “the big one” only to give up rather quickly.

Jesse Ropelato

It’s not a quick process, and it can be rather labor-intensive, but for those with the dedication and time, it can make for both a fun experience and the chance of a real payout.

If you want to dig for sapphires in Montana, you are going to have your best luck with mining for sapphires by visiting one of the pay-to-dig operations. These places let you sift through paydirt that is known to have sapphires and other gems.

Jesse Ropelato

Locations to Find Sapphires in Montana

  • Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine - Located in the aptly named Sapphire Mountains, it's hard to find but worth the drive. Located 22 miles west of Philipsburg at the south end of the Sapphire Mountain Range. You can also check out their year-round storefront located in beautiful downtown Philipsburg, Montana. Visit or call 406-859-GEMS (4367) for more information.
  • Yogo Gulch - The major mines in the area are inactive for the most part, but it’s still a hot-spot for hobbyist prospectors looking for gem-quality sapphires in Montana. Yogo sapphires are considered some of the finest in the world, coming in a deep azure color. The gulch itself is in Judith Basin County, about twelve miles to the southwest of Utica. Due to the quality of the stones in the area, you’ll likely have to find someone with mineral rights who will let you work some of their piece of land as most of the areas that produce these valuable gems have been claimed for decades.
  • Sapphire Studio - Located near Missoula, this site isn’t primarily operated as a mine in and of itself, but they do have sapphire paydirt available for prospectors and have a shop in Hamilton. They do require you to call ahead for reservations in the summer, especially if you’re planning on doing your “wash” at the site itself. Their website claims it’s really no hassle to come and get “gravel-to-go” however, which may be the better option depending on your proximity to the deposit. For more information, or call 406-381-1392.