In Sapphire we get to fossick again – but this time there is a welcome shortcut because we can buy a bucket of stones already excavated AND use a pulley device to help rinse them clean. There’s still plenty of work left in sorting through the rock for the elusive gems, but our hard toil pays off handsomely – we leave with a fistful of zircons and sapphires valued at approximately $700. Sapphire itself is a ramshackle outpost that has been divided up, patchwork like, into odd plots of land; everyone is digging for treasure and using every contraption imaginable to aid their efforts. It is a hoot, as is the neighbouring town of Rubyvale, which we pop into as well and find the hillbilly gem fields theme just as strong. But we’re not ones to scoff either when “thayars gold in thayem thayer hills” or near enough… so we don’t dare leave without one last fossick, on our own, out in the fields, sunstroke be damned.