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Author Topic: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"  (Read 24315 times)

Jimnyjerry

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #60 on: February 09, 2017, 01:56:29 PM »
Hi Gacel and welcome to ALF.

Could look here for information. http://www.inverell.com.au/fossicking/

Or look through the fossicking locations on this forum.

As newbies Billabong Blue or 7 Oaks will give you an idea of what is involved.

Inverell information Centre has a mud map of pay and free locations you can pick up.

My choice for you would be Billabong Blue. They have a eb page.

I will not be up that way until the Thursday of the Minerama fossicking and lapidary festival in March.

 :)
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.

Bucket

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #61 on: February 09, 2017, 02:02:33 PM »
Welcome to the forum Gacel.


As a beginner, my suggestion would be to start at one of the pay to dig sites in the area, I've not used any in Inverell, but have done so in Sapphire (Qld) with great success. Using these places gives you an idea what to look for and how to find them.  As everyone will tell you, finding them in the 'wild' is damn hard work and you've got to know how deep to dig, what to look for when you get there, etc.

For example, on my last visit to Sapphire a couple of years ago, I decided to go on a 'tag along' tour out to Glenalva to try my luck digging. After six hours of very hard slog, I walked away with 4 sapphires, one of which MAY be a cutter. The tour cost me $50, plus fuel, and I ended up very tired and stiff joints.  The next day, I went to a local pay to dig site where you paid $20 per bucket of gravel. They had tables set up to look at what you had sieved, so no bending over, and my wife and I spent a very relaxing morning there with 2 buckets ($40). We walked away with a number of cutters and a 30 odd carat bomb which should cut a nicely coloured cab.

If you take into consideration the cost alone, the pay to dig was far cheaper, with expert help on hand to assist you, and easier on the body.  You will most likely find something for your effort and everyone has a good time. Couldn't recommend them more highly.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2017, 02:04:26 PM by Bucket »
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busman

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #62 on: February 09, 2017, 03:24:22 PM »
Same as our experience, we have visited 7 oaks for a few days (drove our motorhome in, leaping from boulder to boulder) but in that location we scored more from other people giving us their cast offs than out of our buckets.

On a later trip with Caboolture Gem club, part of which was scratching for sapphire, we dug for several days for bugger all, then visited the loacl gem club where a member mentioned that an old miner "was letting heaps through"
Purchased a bucket there and in a few mins my wife had a small handful of various colours, happy as a porcine in excreta.

Day before ha she went to another operation and had similar success, so I don't know how the cost compares but you certainly don't end up anywhere near as buggered at the end of the day, and you are almost guaranteed a find of some sort, makes it much more worthwhile
William

Gacel

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #63 on: February 09, 2017, 03:56:35 PM »
Thank you all for the great replies so far, this has been extremely useful!

I will certainly give it a try at BB and/or 7 oaks (despite the lease issue mentioned earlier), and take it from there.

Also Ranger Itchy referred to Thinga Sands, so this sounds like another potential place to check, although not for sapphires (main interest today).

Time allowing I would like to start my trip at the Emmaville mining museum, hopefully is open on Mondays.

Thanks for any further thoughts, I will otherwise keep you posted on my luck in the region (fingers crossed ;)
« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 09:17:23 AM by Gacel »

Gacel

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #64 on: February 10, 2017, 09:22:29 AM »
Hi busman, thanks for the details. With such findings I would also be 'happy as porcine excreta'  ;) Was your trip referring to the old miner letting heaps through a recent one?

Cheers,


 

busman

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #65 on: February 10, 2017, 12:38:52 PM »
Probably have given you a bum steer, that trip with the gem club was up north, as far as Clermont, and we were staying at Rubyvale when above events happened.

As to time, we were there for the last gemfest. (October I think)

But the comment from the club member was telling I think, the wash supplied I reckon has had any "stars of Queensland" removed before they present it to you !

We have been to Emmaville, leave yourself a few hours if you are going to the mining museum, lots of stuff to see there  hotthirsty
William
« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 12:43:13 PM by busman »

Philip

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #66 on: February 10, 2017, 05:12:55 PM »
Hi Gacel

Please let us all know what you think when you get back, I'm looking at heading up there in the week preceding Minerama to have a go at 7 Oaks / BB / Tinga sands, etc. and it would be really good to hear from someone that hasn't had any previous experience as to where you found to be the better sites and why.

Good luck with the dig! Do try to leave some for the rest of us though  :)

Philip

Gacel

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #67 on: February 23, 2017, 06:32:59 AM »
Hi all,

I finally found a few minutes to share my experience at Inverell last week. Having arrived quite late on Monday evening due to unexpected road cuts due to bush fires, I set camp at 7 Oaks. The set-up is basic for camping, but the place is very nice. I had the luck of sharing the site only with another couple (and their lovely 11 month old king charles cavalier pup) and therefore was very quiet and relaxing and had quite a few chats on fossicking. Facilities are basic, but OK. Hot shower, basic toilet and a 'kitchen area' with gas bbq, tables and chairs. I fossicked there for 2 full days (from the pile) and had the chance to try the pulsator on my final morning. Results were quite good and the hard work payed off (though I admit I don't have that much experience to compare), with hopefully a few cutters. I did not visit BB so I can't really compare.

I visited Tingha Sands ($10) and within a couple of hours I walked away with a couple of very nice smokey and clear quartz crystals. Just a warning, try to avoid going there at noon time, in particular on a hot day, as you would get roasted like I did... Other than that I had a quick go at the Stannifer Creek (info provided at the Inverell visitor's center) where I could find a couple of nice jelly beans, and also Nallamana (Frazer's creek, quite close to 7 Oaks), where I tried a few buckets without any luck - to my inexperienced eye this seems to be an over-fossicked place.

Finally, on my way back to Sydney I joined a small group having a go at gold at Uralla ( public fossicking zone) and got a couple of mg after a few hours of work !

Overall a really cool experience, looking forward to repeat soon !!

In the meantime I need to start doing some research as to where to cut a few sapphires. I've been told about a serious Australian company based in Thailand. Can anyone point in the right direction/forum thread?

Cheers,
G
« Last Edit: February 23, 2017, 06:38:58 AM by Gacel »

Jimnyjerry

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #68 on: February 23, 2017, 08:25:17 AM »
Good report on 7 Oaks, Gacel.  :)

You would want Lamberts in Thailand www.lambertgems.com/gemcutting.php

The group you saw at Uralla is most likely a mob from Hastings Valley Prospectors.

 beers Jerry
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.

Philip

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #69 on: February 23, 2017, 09:59:46 AM »
Thanks for the update Gacel, sounds like you had a great trip.  :)

I'm glad you found a couple of nice stones while you were there.  Tingha Sands is definitely on my list to do when I get up there in a week.
Did you have any luck finding a few jellybeans at Stannifer Creek?

Philip

Gacel

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #70 on: February 23, 2017, 12:25:24 PM »
Hi all,

Jerry, thanks for the comments and address for gem cutting in Bangkok - let's see how that goes !!. I did actually join a group that came from Port McQuaire in Uralla on Sat, which came up for the day.

And yes Phillip, I did get a few jelly beans of approx 3-4 cm - nice pieces :-)

Cheers,

 

Philip

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #71 on: February 23, 2017, 01:09:06 PM »
Glad to hear it Gacel   :D

I think I will have to add it to the list to visit while I'm up there.

I'll let you know if I find anything good.

Philip


Ausdigfam

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #72 on: February 24, 2017, 05:50:30 PM »
Nice to hear you did alright up there, we are hoping for the same. My son and I are venturing up that ways, on Tuesday. Firstly staying in Tamworth. Then onto  Tingha for 2 nights, going to Tingha Sands and Stannifer. Next 3 nights at B.B. Then onto Deepwater, via Emmaville, to fossick out at Torrington area. We are really keen fossickers, but respectful, so look out!!!

MrSydney

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #73 on: February 25, 2017, 10:27:23 AM »
Ausdig - the Emmaville Mining museum is a must especially for you son.  It is actually a better display that what is on display at the natural history museum here in Sydney if that means anything!

Gemster

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Re: Which is better fossicking for sapphires, "7 Oaks" or "Billabong Blue"
« Reply #74 on: February 25, 2017, 11:49:29 AM »
X2 MrSydney, Best Display I have seen..  :D Way better than the Sydney Museum... Up here the Museum at South Bank is in the process of building a whole Floor, Dedicated for Rocks, Minerals and Fossils.... Opening Late 2017 or Early 2018...Cant wait... I Installed some Extra Air-Con in the 'Storage Area' of the Museum that holds the Specimens... All I can say is WOW :o... I was always looking at these and not doing my job, so my boss recons... >:(

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