Author(s): Bill Birch; Dermot Henry
Victoria is often seen as the forgotten state when it comes to gem minerals. The history of gems in Victoria is inextricably linked to the discovery of gold in 1851. In 1854, George Milner Stephen publicised for the first time, the discovery of gems in Victoria. These included blue and white sapphires from Ballarat diggings and rubies, topaz and garnet from the River Ovens in northeast Victoria. In 1857, well-known German natural historian Ludwig Becker reported that these same gems could also be found where there was gold.