The history of sapphire gems in Australia stretches back
over 150 years. One of the first reports is from 1851 when sapphire was
recovered during gold mining on the Cudgegong and Macquarie rivers in New South
Wales. In 1854 sapphire was reported from the New England area of New South
Wales and in 1875 Sapphire was discovered in Retreat Creek, Central Queensland.
Numerous small deposits have been found up and down Eastern Australia.
The discoveries near Inverell on the New England tableland
in Northern New South Wales and at Sapphire and Rubyvale in Central Queensland
lead to the development of a commercial Sapphire Mining Industry in Australia.
The much later discovery of sapphire at Lava Plains in North Queensland further
complemented this industry.
Most of the early production from Australia went through
German jewellery agents and was sold into other European countries. The reason
for for early export into Europe came from Russian Miners who worked the Central
Queensland gem fields in the late 1800s. A good number of Australian
sapphires found their way into the crown jewels of the Russian Imperial family
and other Russian nobility. After the collapse of this market because of the Russian
revolution, the impact of wars and the depression, sapphire mining saw hard
times until the advent of machinery mining and the arrival of Thai Buyers in the
For a brief history of these major sapphire regions use the
Queensland Sapphire Gemfields -
Maps of Area
England Sapphire Resource - Maps
History - The Lava
Plains Sapphire Resource - Maps of
genuine sapphire -
made by nature
Resource on the Australian Sapphire Industry