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From Central Otago

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Denis Litchfield

22 Bringans St, Alexandra

  • Denis's Workshop
  • Denis cutting
  • Denis cutting
  • Drilling in the mine
  • Denis down the mine
  • Processing plant
  • Sapphire Earrings
  • Rough Sapphire

Denis Litchfield is a gem cutter who specialises in Australian Sapphires and Zircons. He travels each year to his own mining claim in the remote Anakie gem fields of Central Queensland in Australia where he mines for the rough gemstones. Finding these precious gemstones which were formed in volcanoes 60 – 100 million years ago is no easy task, he has to drill and dig down to the ancient riverbeds some 30 feet below the ground. A shaft mine involves first digging out the mine walls with a jackhammer to loosen the ground then the loose material is taken to the sapphire processing machinery. At the end of the day the "sapphire trap" is sorted in order to find the heavy sapphires and zircons, and finally, the best stones are selected to facet into cut gems.

Denis brings back all he finds to his home in Alexandra to facet. The sapphires Denis finds range in colour from light green to deep blue and the zircons from light honey to deep gold. Zircon is a natural gemstone and comes in a variety of colours. It should not be confused with cubic zirconia - a synthetic commonly used as a diamond simulant. Creating a beautiful cut stone ready to be set in jewellery is something Denis enjoys immensely.
Visitors are welcome to his workshop in Alexandra to view his work and learn more about this fascinating craftsman and what he does.

Open when the sign is out or by arrangement.