Gem hunting is absolutely one of the jobs of your jeweler.
Behind every exquisite jewel, there’s the story of the gem hunter. The intrepid explorer who travels to the planet’s most remote places, seeking one-of-a-kind gems and precious stones in caches hidden with treasures. What’s the most fun fact about them? The adventurous gem hunter is probably none other than your own jeweler.
If you’re curious about the story of a gemstone, just ask – your jeweler is likely full of fascinating details about the gem adventure behind finding it. Of course, not every discovery story involves a trip across the globe – it may be a tale of secret meetings with trusted sources to bring back the array of colored stones or diamonds you see before you. Read on to hear a few.
Thailand: Gem Hunting with Indy Facets
A few years ago, we travel to Thailand in search of some of the rarest sapphires and rubies. Along the way, we find even more gem treasures to bring home to Indiana. “We go right to the source to find just the right stones for our clients and friends,” says Owner/Designer Shaun Goodyear, who leads the adventure to the Land of Smiles. Here’s another fun fact: The majority of colored stones and gems are polished and distributed globally from Thailand.
Ethiopia: Gem Hunter’s Ron LeBlanc Finds Hidden Treasures
Well-known gem hunter Ron LeBlanc, who does commissioned work as a worldwide gem expert, has traveled extensively in search of rare finds. Fans of Travel Channel’s original series Gem Hunt have seen him in the mines of Colombia, northern Vietnam, Tanzania and Cambodia.
More recently, Ron and his team travel to Ethiopia in search of opals and other stones. The opals he finds are extraordinarily luminescent and colorful. Yet at first glance, they don’t look like much. To the untrained eye they appear rough and chalky.
In fact, while watching one of Ron’s short before-and-after videos about opal polishing, you get a glimpse of what motivates the gem hunter: revealing the hidden treasure inside a chunk of Earth. After polishing, the opals beam with prisms of light. Some are dark and mysterious-looking while others have a glittering rainbow effect. It’s fascinating.
Afghanistan: The Life of Gem Hunting Icon Gary Bowersox
If you’re starting to hear the lure of the gem hunt, here’s an interesting read: The Gem Hunter: True Adventures of an American in Afghanistan, by Gary Bowersox. In a career spanning more than 30 years, he travels across the rugged terrain of Afghanistan into remote mines and controversial zones.
Gary is now considered one of the fathers of modern gem hunting, due to his long career, political savvy and ability to uncover rare tourmalines, aquamarines, emeralds, sapphires and rubies. He’s most known for finding an untouched cache of Afghanistan’s most valuable lapis lazuli.
DIY Adventures in Gem Hunting
Not every gem hunt involves airplane trips around the globe – especially if your goal is to educate and inspire a young gem hunter. Legend has it the person who finds a 5-carat brown diamond worth $15,000 during an Arkansas tourist trip is a 12-year-old boy (!). So … hunt for gems this summer with your family on one of these road trips closer to home:
- Indiana Caverns in Corydon, Indiana – Sluice through your bag. Discover your treasure. Identify the gemstones, fossils and more.
- Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas – Treasure hunt in a volcano crater where nearly 30,000 diamonds have been found. There’s also a water park for cooling down after your adventure.
- Woodward Ranch in Alpine, Texas – If you’d rather walk than dig, head to this west Texas cattle ranch. Rare red plum agates sit right at ground level, so you can walk along spotting them with an eagle eye.
- Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite, North Carolina – Hunt for emeralds on a 70-acre site or get a rough bucket of stones guaranteed to contain a hidden treasure.
- Spectrum Sunstone Mine in Plush, Oregon – Oregon’s state gem, the sunstone, is a rich gold-red stone found in a lava flowers. Visit Tiffany & Co.’s former sunstone mine, where you can stay in a teepee or cabin.
Hunting for a Diamond Now?
When you are ready to find the perfect diamond or gem or precious stone for the jewelry piece of your dreams, give us a call or send us a message right away. In addition to connecting one-on-one with you as your private jeweler and custom designer, there is nothing we love more than the chance to be your own private gem hunter, too.
Indy Facets – Everyone’s Private Jeweler
Indy Facets seamlessly blends the expertise and full service of a traditional jewelry store with the value and convenience of a personal jeweler experience. We give you the face-to-face interaction with an expert that you deserve, in a private setting where you can relax and feel comfortable. Owner/Designer Shaun Goodyear and his team have earned an excellent reputation as everyone’s private jeweler for engagement rings, custom design, investment grade diamonds, luxury Swiss timepieces, estate jewelry, jewelry repair and the highest level of customer service, available to you from an onsite, state-of-the-art Custom Design Studio and Gemological Laboratory by private appointment only. You are guaranteed a unique, fun and exciting experience without the hype, pressure, judgment or uncertainty associated with other jewelry shopping options. We schedule appointments at your convenience, and are usually available evenings and weekends, too. Call 317-810-1665 for your private appointment or schedule online, indyfacets.com/schedule.