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Willows, Queensland

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Willows Gemfields is 11 kilometres off the Capricorn Highway, 24 kilometres past the Anakie/Sapphire crossroads and about 45 minutes' drive west of Emerald. The Willows Gemfields is a popular fossicking spot, as very little machinery and no corporate mining has been permitted in the past. 'The Willows' is known for having unusually coloured sapphires. Some of the world's most famous sapphires have been found on the Willows Gemfields, including a 332 carat rough yellow, aptly named the 'Golden Willow'. Hand mining and/or fossicking involves digging from old creek beds, now underground, and sieving it to separate out the sand and oversized rocks. It is then washed before the sapphires can be hand sorted from the other heavy gravels. Fossicking on the Sapphire Gemfields is easy with equipment hire and fossicking licenses available. Willows Gemfields has caravan park accommodation and also offers fossicking park facilities, where you can learn to recognise and find sapphires from the earth. The Glenalva and Willows shallow digging areas are where you fossick near Willows Gemfields. Willows Gemfields service station only has unleaded fuel, and the nearest hospital to the Gemfields is located at Emerald.