No Luck with Sapphires. Why, and what are these?

Hi,

This is my first post, and I’m new to prospecting in Tassie, so l’ve got a lot to learn; please bear with me.

We went to a creek near Branxholm, and found what’s in the picture below. All in one crack, among lots of black spinel. I’m fairly certain that the spot hasn’t been picked over for some time, as there were many medium sized rocks wedged into that crack, which I had to pull out first.

The colours don’t really show in the photo, but some rocks have a dark vibrant red, others are more pink and some go into yellow. So maybe some Zircons, and maybe Ruby?

What surprised us most is that we didn’t find any blue Sapphires among all this. Were we simply unlucky, or is it more likely that the creek doesn’t carry any? What do you think?

Cheers,
Jake

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Hi Jake,

Those are zircons. You probably went to Branxholm Creek (in the maps as Snapper Creek), which has a ton of zircon but hardly any sapphires. This means you were not in a good sapphire-bearing creek.

The good news is that sapphires concentrate in your pan / sieve in the same way as zircons, so it was good practice. Next time try the Weld River, Main Creek, or the lower end of Black Creek (Black Rivulet). For Black Creek, upstream of Mt Paris Dam Rd is no good.

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G’Day Jake
Most look like zircons as there a lot in that district. However at least one might be a Sapphire.
I have seen a lovely Pink Sapphire from Black Rivulet. I suggest getting an experienced fossicker to have a look at them.

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Many thanks for replying, I appreciate your advice.

I’ve been to the Weld once, but found it hard to find a good spot that hasn’t clearly been dug up recently. Well, I think I’ll give it another go.

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Take a snorkeling mask along with you, have a good look around under the water and find a place where you can see the rocks have not been disturbed in a long time, covered in dark algae and tightly packed. I like to pick a manageable boulder and work on it, even if it takes a couple of hours to pop it out you normally have a good time after that.

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Brilliant idea. Hadn’t thought of it, but will try next time. Cheers!

Here are a couple of pics of blue sapphire from the Weld River I found one afternoon, march this year.

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Lovely blues, well done! Wherever you found those, there will be occasional gem-grade ones as well.

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Wow, some amazing sapphires!

I’m hoping to head out over the school holidays to Weld.

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Brrrrrrrr, I suggest that you don’t do my trick and slip and fall in the water. Had an unplanned swim in Black Rivulet recently and it took my breath away. Took a couple of hours of hours and a generous amount of scotch to recover!

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