My father has always been interested in gems and gem hunting. At one point, he had all the equipment to polish stones and make jewelry. Over the years, he'd picked up turquoise, black coral, rhodenite, and other stones.
When we lived in Australia, we ended up going over some tailings out near Emerald in Queensland, looking for precious gems and stones. I think we were looking for sapphires. I did a quick look and there is a sapphire field about 45 minutes outside of Emerald. So that must have been where we were.
It was soo cool to go digging through all this dirt and finding little sapphires here and there to take home. I don't think any were really large enough to facet into proper jewelry but as a youngster, I thought it was cool to actually own sapphires because in the books, rich people owned them!
Since then, I've come to know that it is the size and quality of the sapphire that is important. I still think my sapphires are the absolute best because I worked hard in the hot sun to find them. Yeah!