In my current Christmas short story I've one of the young characters finding a gemstone. Now you may be saying, gemstones in Colorado. Well, if you'd been watching 'Prospectors' you would know it is a reality. But was it so in the 1870-80s? Turns out it wasn't too far fetched to have such a thing happen.
In the late 1800s, Aquamarine, the official gemstone of Colorado, was mined on Mt. Antero. At 14, 275', Mt. Antero is one of the most prominent peaks in the Sawatch range and is the 40th tallest in North America. Most of the mining is done about 12,000' and above. As a side note, Mt. Antero was surveyed by the Pike Expedition of 1806.
Amazonite and Smokey Quartz are mined in the Pikes Peak region. The Native Americans used amazonite to make beads to wear and trade. By the late 1800s, commercial mining began and the crystals were transported east to be prepared for sale. Most of Amazonite and Smokey Quartz gemstones can be found within a four mile radius of the summit of Pikes Peak.
Amazonite from the well-known locality on Pikes Peak, Colorado. Size: 5.5 x 3.1 x 2.5 cm.
Topaz crystal is found near the Tarryall Area north and west of Pikes Peak. Indications are this occurred in the1880s.People in Florissant, closer to Pikes Pike, have said they found topaz in their region much earlier.
Colorado also had the first commercial producer diamond mine in North America. Located on the Colorado-Wyoming border, it was in production from around 1976 to 2000. For more information:http://bit.ly/2b0KDVY
Most of these gemstones are now mined for collectors and a lot of rock hounds can be found up and down the Pikes Peak region. For more information on this subject here are some links you may enjoy. http://bit.ly/2aPkPdF ; http://bit.ly/2aBBPo5 ; http://wxch.nl/2aoVbOI
So the next time you're in the Pikes Peak region, let's go gemstone hunting!
Angela Raines is the pen name for Doris McCraw. Doris also writes haiku posted five days a week at – http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com and has now passed one thousand haiku and photos posted on this blog. Check out her other work or like her Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/1I0YoeL