Montana Blue Jewel Mine
Montana Blue Jewel Mine
5
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Write a review
About
This place is seasonally closed. We will be open May 2017. Check our website for updates!
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
The area
Address
Best nearby
We rank these restaurants and attractions by balancing reviews from our members with how close they are to this location.
Attractions
3 within 6 miles
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

5.0
66 reviews
Excellent
59
Very good
4
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
3

Micah H
2 contributions
Jul 2021 • Family
My family and I had a wonderful time! We had mined at Gem Mountain in Phillipsburg the week before and we were looking to get more sapphires. I called and made an appointment. It's a bit off the beaten path, about a 45 minute drive from Helena, on mostly gravel roads, so don't drive your Beemer or 'Vette!

Once we arrived, Eric gave us a quick demo of the screening process and gave us instructions. It's a pretty good deal for $100 I think! Essentially you use three screen sizes to weed out the big stuff and the fines (pro-tip you can plan the fines for gold. The dredge that worked the area back in the day missed all the small gold.). The material from the medium and small screens goes into 6 five-gallon buckets. Once you have your six buckets of sorted gravel, you split it into 12 half buckets which Eric runs through the jig. Once that's done, the concentrate gets flipped onto a table for you to sort through. We found a couple bigger stones right away, but had to wash the gravel again with a hand screen and work through it bit by bit to find the rest.

All told we spent three hours there and came away with a few sapphires worth cutting. Several in the 2.75-3.00 carat rough size. Nothing monstrous, but decent size, color and quality. All told, we got a couple dozen pieces over .75 carats.

We are already planning our return trip!
Written July 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JillandTommas
Indiana2 contributions
We wanted to find a place that was as natural and real as possible to go mining for gems for our two girls. This was it. I highly recommend Blue Jewel Mine as a family activity. Excellent service and the people were very helpful and friendly. Thank you for making our family vacation even more enjoyable.
Written March 6, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cynthia E
EDMONDS50 contributions
Jul 2014 • Friends
This out of town location is hard to find but well worth the trip. After several miles on a dirt road, our GPS wanted to take us down a gully to nowhere when we entered the address, but we continued on and eventually found it a few miles on down the road.
This is a real, operational Sapphire mine with a fascinating history and the best hosts you could ever hope for. There are many, many mines and sapphire hunting operations in the area but this is by far the very best actual mining experience you could hope for. Bruce, the owner, is very knowledgeable and very willing to explain everything you want to know and help you get started. This is a real mine so not a fancy place. You will stand out in the open while you screen your treasures so wear sunscreen and bring water as it is hard work and gets hot. You might want to get a burger at the York Tavern before or after you go here - the burgers are excellent (mushroom/swiss) and York is the closest little town nearby.
We've been to Phillipsburg and found a large sapphire there but this was far superior to that experience even though we didn't find our fortune that day. Bruce has many gorgeous stones for sale but you have to ask to see them and there is absolutely no pressure to buy - in fact, you can tell it would be hard for him to part with some of them and again, these stones are spectacular!
We are planning to return again next year. Thanks Bruce and Panama! We had a great time at Blue Jewel Mine.
Written July 16, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Charlotte W
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas219 contributions
Jul 2015
This place is 45 minutes northeast of Helena in the middle of nowhere. It is a redneck trailer park dump. Even though the site clearly says u don't have to make an appointed and there are free digs.....nope. No office, no nothing. Save your time it is a scam!
Written July 5, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chuck N
Billings, Montana, United States3 contributions
Sep 2012 • Solo
I have been to the mine 5 to 6 times over the years and have found it to produce consistant gem and mineral results. Fun for every level of miner's skills by the bucket or by the day can put you back into an era of frontier mining where anything is possible. I have seen good colour stones come from this mine and large ones too. People are very helpful with teaching you the art of the trade so that finding sapphires become more likely. Never a problem finding something, I was never skunked when I dug a pile. Nice views and wildlife fill the fresh clean air as you dig for that natural ice gem waiting to see the light by your hands. It was a great place for anyone to enjoy, I know I did.
Written November 18, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

TJNM_seattle
Seattle, WA1 contribution
Jul 2014 • Couples
My boyfriend, our little dog and I went to Blue Jewel Mine on the way home (to Washington State) from visiting family in Montana. I had dug for garnets, quartz, and amethyst as a kid in Montana, and my boyfriend had always wanted to look for gems, so it seemed like the perfect thing to do during our trip.

Totally worth it! It's a bit off the beaten path so make sure you take down the directions from their website, call them or ask along the way after York, as you'll spend around 15-20+ minutes on gravel roads. I have a tiny city car that did just fine so I'd say not to be worried about your vehicle making it there.

Bruce and company were extremely kind, informative, and welcoming! They taught us all about how to sift and wash the gravel and look for the gems, and they showed us all sorts of amazing examples of both cut and raw sapphires and other neat stones and fossils to keep an eye out for. From a number of buckets of gravel we walked out with a small bag of beautiful raw sapphires, some of them cuttable, plus fossils, hematite, quartz, and agate. We spent probably 3-4 hours there and would have been there even longer if we hadn't had to get on the road.

Tips: Do bring lots of water/fluids, snacks if you're planning on being there a while, hats/sunglasses, sunscreen and decent shoes, plus common sense based on the weather. Don't expect there to be a lot in the way of frills as this seems to be very much a working mine, which makes for a very neat, casual, hands-on experience.

It was so much fun! We'll definitely be going there next time we're passing through Montana. Thanks to everyone at the mine!
Written July 12, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tom H
Tallahassee, FL47 contributions
Jul 2016 • Family
Me, my wife, and my 5 year old went and had a blast!! From the moment we got there, Bruce treated us so well it felt like we were family. I can't thank Bruce enough for the epic day we had!

Having never mined before (but used to hard work), he walked us through the steps, and when I told him how much I loved rocks and fossils, he spent WAY more time than he had to, teaching us about the various rocks that we were finding in our samples.

We ended up with 25+ sapphires, a garnet, and a ton of cool rocks and fossils for me to take home. Believe me when I say, if I lived in Montana, I'd be coming back next weekend. I can't wait to sift through some of our leftover rocks to see if I can find any more fossils or sapphires that we missed the first go round!

If you are a rock hound, want some beautiful sapphires, or just want to see what it's like to be a miner, THIS IS FOR YOU!

A couple of notes:

1) this isn't a "mine" that you'd see in North Carolina with a couple of quartz crystals dumped in a bucket sitting in their gift shop (having been to one, I'm guessing that is what they do :) ), your grabbing your samples out of the same pay dirt as the mine itself uses. It's the luck of the draw!

2) it is a workout and its dirty. Bring "work clothes" that you'd wear if you were working, cause your going to be covered in sweat and dust afterward

3) pack a bunch of drinks and food, there isn't a gift shop, this is a active mine site

4) pay attention to their (great) directions. This is off the beaten path, as you'd imagine a working mine would be. GPS coord' worked for us

Thanks again Bruce!!! You made my trip, and the sapphires made my wife's trip! :)

Written July 4, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

clanderson2014
Stuttgart, Germany9 contributions
Sep 2014 • Family
The mine is remote but worth the drive to find it. It's a true, authentic working mine and not just your typical tourist trap. Bruce was very helpful and his passion for his livelihood was contagious as he patiently explained the process to us. We spent an afternoon sifting and sieving through about four buckets that yielded a couple larger blue sapphires. One was not cuttable but will likely become a wire-wrapped pendant. The other, however, yielded a gorgeous 2.5 carat stone that will now become a family heirloom!
This place is highly recommended for anyone looking for a truly unique experience! Even if we hadn't found these stones, I wouldn't hesitate to return again and would gladly spend all day there.
Written November 10, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ryan W
3 contributions
Jun 2015 • Solo
This was my first visit to the mine and from the experience it won't be my last! Bruce, the owner, operator, and host, is once of the nicest, honest and helpful people around. He's just one of those people who you quickly can see that wants you to be happy and successful, plus he has hours of mining stories to keep you entertained. The mining is pretty straightforward - you dig buckets from a pile of gravel that has had the large rocks removed. The pile is exactly what he puts through his big machinery and isn't altered or searched, he simply saved part of his main mine run for the pile. Once dug, you screen off the larger gravel, keeping the next two sizes below. Once you have "concentrated" the amount of buckets you want to buy, you run them through his smaller jig, which concentrates the "heavies" which includes the sapphires. The jig is a huge time saver, as it will reduce 10 buckets down to about 1/2 a bucket in 20-30 minutes. Once concentrated, Bruce will "flop" the concentrates over on the table and you start picking out the Sapphires. Once done, you can then go through the smallest saved gravels (not run through the jig) by hand concentrating them in a screen. In all, I spend the entire day mining and came out with 133 carats of sapphires, some very nice cutable stones too! Bruce even let me spend the night so I didn't have to drive out in the evening. Thanks for the fun time, it was a great experience and worth the drive out there! As Bruce says "I won't allow anyone to leave here without some sapphires!"
Written July 5, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Travis L
Helena, MT5 contributions
Sep 2014 • Family
It's out of the way (way out of the way, west of York on some dirt roads), but totally worth the trip. You show up at a trailer, some equipment, and giant piles of rocks, give Bruce some cash, and get to mine your own rocks. It cost us $50 for as long as we wanted to...prospect?...and we ended up with two sapphires - a 2K and a 6K uncut that ended up as a 1 and a 3 cut. Awesome!!
Written June 5, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Showing results 1-10 of 65
Anything missing or inaccurate?
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing

Montana Blue Jewel Mine (Helena) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about Montana Blue Jewel Mine

Montana Blue Jewel Mine is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM