Gemstones Down Under 2 Australian Sapphires

I’ve always been fascinated by sapphires, I had chosen a sapphire for my engagement ring from a dealer Harold Chalmers recommended. Later I worked with him in the Australian Museum on the Planet of Minerals Gallery. He was the model for the old miner. Formerly Curator of Minerals, he was retired by then, but still found a place in the exhibition.

In the 70’s I was out on the gemfields at Anakie. When I was there, I saw a little house surrounded by a picket fence, stuck up in the air on a hill where they had mined all around it. Later I asked someone I interviewed if that was very common. He said: it wasn’t that common, but it did happen. Some of the fellas got pretty hungry for ground, so they’d mine your backyard if they could. How did they manage to do that? I’d come from Lightning Ridge where they couldn’t mine within the town boundries.

It wasn’t a gazetted town, it was only a proposed town. Mining took precedence over everything. If they thought there was sapphires under the town, they’d probably still mine it, but they’d have to pay compensation. That’s how they got away with it. It seems to me Coal Seam Gas Mining is still getting away with it.

When I asked was it an arrangement with the landowner, I was told some of it was Crown land under a grazing lease. Provided the fellow pegging the mining lease does not interfere with grazing rights he can mine. How can he not interfere with grazing rights when he is strip mining the area. He pays a deposit to the Mines Dept. If he doesn’t restore it, the Mines Dept are supposed to restore it, but it doesn’t always happen. They mined 28-30 feet of ground a lot of cattle would get bogged to their knees and couldn’t get out. The farmer wasn’t compensated.

When I was there, there were lots of Thai buyers on the fields, coming around to buy sapphires from the miners.The Thais undercut the Australian buyers and were responsible for keeping the market price down. They took them overseas to cut and sold them as Burmese sapphires, so Australia missed out both ways.

The esoteric properties of sapphires are as a wisdom stone. It focuses and calms the mind and releases unwanted thoughts and mental tension, and brings peace of mind and serenity. Blue sapphire is a tranquil stone which can be used in sharmanic rituals to transmute negative energy. Pink sapphire clears emotional blockages. Star sapphire opens intuition. Yellow sapphire removes toxins and increases prosperity. Green sapphire improves vision and dream recall.

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Kakadu Dreaming
Kakadu Dreaming
By Christine A Deacon

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