Specking - on the ground is a favoured activity in the gemfields - especially after the rain. There are many stories about amazing stones turning up in freshly rained on ground. You do develop the habit of walking around with an eye to the ground up there - looking for the elusive glint!
Specking on old sieves heaps, which are everywhere and abandoned wash - there are often plenty of "leftovers" to find - especially if its a real commercial enterprise, which takes only the larger stones. Chips and cuttable sized stones can be found - and my kids have enjoyed finding lots of "colour" to put in a bottle and take home.
Mining virgin wash - is much harder work, requires a lot more tools and hands on deck - but is great fun, and very rewarding if you find any colour!
If you are turning over the dirt yourself - its always a good sign if you see any "billy" boulders - river washed smooth stones - and spinel and corundum are the stones which are generally around the sapphire.
Fondest memory: My first real sapphire find - a big 2 carat cut parti-colour - blue, green and yellow!!
Don't take good clothes to the gemfields EVER - they will never look the same again. The dirt just gets in!
If you do decide to have a fossick, make sure you have a good hat, boots, long sleeves and trousers, to avoid the inevitible cuts and scratches - and general ruination of your city honed body. Oh - and, girls, don't get your nails done before you go to the fields - even if you wear gloves! Ooooh - the dirt just gets in everywhere.
Have a go at fossicking - its great fun - and, if you decide to sit back and be precious, you WILL be disappointed.
Fondest memory: Mining with a jackhammer under the ground - more on this later!
Firstly, you need to obtain a fossicker's permit either from the gemfields, or Department of Mining and Energy offices in Emerald or Brisbane.
Most of the tools can be readily hired at the fields:
Pick and shovel, if you are going to turn over virgin soil
A wash drum - a 44 gallon drum cut in half in which to "wash" and then sieve and sort the dirt - or a tripod sieve for shaking the dirt for sorting.
Fondest memory: First time we went fossicking, we set up a blue tarp - BONANZA! - everything looked blue! You should have seen us going crazy!
Another wonderful memory was of "Ron" - one of the local miners, who came out from his house and devined a place to dig. Found my best sapphire there - even after we took the tarp down! It was a 2 carat parti-colour - still in a gem box!