"Rubyvale - Sapphire Country Queensland!" Rubyvale by thedouglas
Rubyvale Travel Guide: 14 reviews and 22 photos
This wonderful place is about 80kms west of Emerald - and has become an increasingly popular tourist destination. The Gemfields are made up of 4 small towns - Rubyvale, Anakie, Sapphite and The Willows.
We first visited the Central Queensland Gemfields about 16 years ago - and have been back a few times. I have never found my fortune in sapphire there - but have some wonderful memories, stories about the locals, and a few gorgeous purchases.
I have a beautiful 2+ carat golden yellow sapphire ring - this is the crowning glory of Central Queensland sapphire - a so-called "fancy" stone. Bought it off a guy who had kept it in a bit of cotton wool in a matchbox for 15 years! It was worth a few thousand $$, but got is for a bargain. Eyes nearly popped out when I saw the valuation of the ring. You KNOW you've got a good one when the locals grab your hand and rave about your sapphire!
The first recorded find of sapphire in Central Queensland was at Retreat Creek in the 1870's - and it is said that you could "ground speck" - just walk around like an emu looking at the ground - and the glints of sapphire and zircons were all around! The red zircon was first thought to be ruby - hence Rubyvale.
In 1878 (or thereabouts - exact history not a priority at that stage), the first commercial production commenced, and an area of 80 acres was granted at Reward.
By 1903, there were two major mining areas - at Sapphire and Rubyvale - occupied by a lot of Europeans as well as Aussies.
Machinery mining and real commercialism didn't really hot up until the mid 1900's - but not allowed anymore, and sapphire has again become relatively less abundant.
There have been many fortunes made and lost in the Gemfields - and stories abound about the characters who have shaped the fields we see today.
The sapphire mined in Central Queensland is regarded as the finest in the world - and, as I said earlier, the elusive golden yellow is the most valuable. Other so-called "fancy" stones are the parti-colours (a mix of blue, yellow and green usually), orange, pink and even red. It is said that sapphire comes in all the colours of the rainbow - although many people think of them as a blue stone only.
The market for Australian sapphire was European countries, hence the number of European people flocking to the fields. For anyone who visits Thailand, take heed that the biggest buyers of Australian sapphire are Thai buyers - who can be seen in their little "stalls" in the town streets, buying from the local miners.
I recall visiting with a miner who we met up there, and, when we entered his "makeshift" home, there he was mining under his kitchen! Any bit of dirt must be dug and turned over to seek a fortune in stones.
- Pros:Unique piece of Australia
- Cons:Hot and dusty in summer
- In a nutshell:If you want a real Aussie experience - come to the gemfields of Central Queensland
This park is in Rubyvale - and you can come and look around, pay to have a fossick, buy some rough or cut sapphire. TBC more travel advice
There are a lot of characters at the gemfields, and plenty of stories of their mateship and shenanigans. more travel advice
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