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Conchita Montana Sapphire Butterfly

Photograph of the Conchita Sapphire Butterfly (NMNH G10539) from the National Gem Collection courtesy of Robert Kane, Fine Gems International. Photography by Harold & Erica Van Pelt
Photo by Harold and Erica Van Pelt. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G10539-00
Locality Rock Creek Deposit, Montana, United States

Gift of Mr. Robert E. Kane and Paula Crevoshay in 2007.This object was designed by Ms. Paula Crevoshay and made by Crevoshay, Inc.

The spectacular Conchita Montana Sapphire Butterfly highlights the amazing variety and color range of sapphires from Montana. The sapphires represent a rainbow of colors, from steely blue, to fancy-colored shades of purple, pink, orange and yellow. Virtually all Montana sapphires are enhanced by heat treatment to intensify the original colors, as well as completely change the hue in some of them. The 18k yellow gold butterfly is set with 331 round brilliant-cut sapphires and 2 cabochon cut sapphires, totaling 27.97 carats. The exquisitely crafted piece is extremely versatile and can be worn as a brooch, pendant, or clasp for a beaded neckpiece. All of the sapphires are from Montana and most are from the famed Rock Creek deposit, located in the Sapphire Mountains near historic Philipsburg, Montana. More popularly known as Gem Mountain, gold miners discovered sapphires here in the late 1890’s. Over a period of 110 years, several hundred million carats of gem-quality sapphire were produced from this site that noted gemologists and journalists describe as the “Rainbow Over Montana.” A few of the sapphires in the butterfly are from the Dry Cottonwood Creek deposit, which is about 45 miles East-southeast of the Rock Creek deposit; these sapphires are also heat treated. The Conchita Montana Sapphire Butterfly, a collaboration by jewelry designer Paula Crevoshay and gem dealer/gemologist Robert Kane, was generously given by them to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Gem Collection in 2007. Ms. Crevoshay named the butterfly “Conchita” in memory of her mother, who instilled in her an early appreciation of butterflies and nature. The butterfly is a wonderful representation of Montana sapphires and is on display in the Gem Hall at the National Museum of Natural History.

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