I received my first piece of Yogo Sapphire jewelry for Christmas and I love it!! My necklace has unfinished stones, but I enjoy the muted color. The necklace can go with just about anything. I appreciate that the Yogo is unique to Montana and so highly valued. Oh, and I ADORE the jewelry store it came from. If you are ever in Bozeman, Montana, check out Miller’s Jewelry – or you can see them online at https://montanayogos.com/
The following information was found at https://montanagems.net/yogo-sapphires/
Sapphires were first discovered in Montana in 1865, in the gravel along the Missouri River. Finds in other locations in the western half of the state occurred up to 1892, and 1894. Yogo sapphires were not recognized or valued at first. Gold was discovered at Yogo Creek in 1866, and though “blue pebbles” were noticed alongside gold in the stream gravel by 1878. It was not until 1894 that the “blue pebbles” were recognized as sapphires. Yogo sapphire mining began in 1895 after a local rancher named Jake Hoover sent a cigar box of gemstones he had collected to an assay office. The assay office then sent them to Tiffany’s in New York, where an appraiser pronounced them “the finest precious gemstones ever found in the United States”. Tiffany’s fell in love with the Montana gemstone and is still a large retailer of the beautiful Yogo sapphires today. Hoover then purchased the location of the original mother lode from a sheepherder, later selling it off to other investors. This became the highly profitable “English Mine”, which flourished from 1899 until early 1920. A second operation, the “American Mine”, was owned by a series of investors in the western section of the Yogo dike. This yogo sapphire mine was less profitable and was bought out by the syndicate that owned the English Mine. In 1984, the Vortex mine opened and found montana yogo sapphires to be gemmy and plentiful. Unlike the gem mountain sapphire mine, these gems didn’t need heat treating for color and clarity reasons. Yogo sapphire mine Lewistown Montana was on a few miners bucket lists.
Jewelry containing Yogo sapphire was given to First Ladies Bess Truman and Florence Harding. First lady Florence Harding was given an “all Montana” ring made from a Yogo sapphire and Montana gold. In 1952, President Harry Truman had received cut yogo’s along with his wife Bess, and their daughter Margret from a yogo mine owner. Many Yogo’s were also sold in Europe, as some Yogo mining was conducted by British interests. Montana yogo sapphires may have been in the personal collections of some members of the British royal family in the 1910’s. Yogo sapphire appeared in the personal gem collections of the Duchess of York, Princess Mary and Queen Victoria of England. Historian’s also believe that montana yogo sapphires, possibly misrepresented as oriental sapphire, were used for the British Royal Crown Jewel Collection. Promotional claims that Yogo’s are in any of the crown jewels of England cannot be conclusively proven or disproven. Claims that the gemstone in the engagement ring of Lady Diana and Kate Middleton is a Yogo sapphire are suspicious; the gem is thought to be of Sri Lankan origin. The story that the gem is a Yogo can be traced to a Los Angles Times article that described the ring as a 9-carat montana sapphire, and quoted Intergem president Dennis Brown’s claim that the gemstone may have come from a British-owned Yogo mine.
I am a recently retired small town librarian living the dream in Montana in my boujee yet redneck kind of way. Married to a mining engineer and mother to two wonderful young men.