Search This Blog

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Colorado and Gemstone Mining

Post by Doris McCraw/Angela Raines-author


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.
en.wikipedia.org
Mount Antero, taken from along U.S. 285, near the town of Nathrop

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. 

en.wikipedia.org 
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.

csmsgeologypost.blogspot.com
A bi-color sherry and blue topaz crystal collected from rocks of the Pikes Peak Batholith, Tarryall Mountains, Park County Colorado.

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


http://amzn.to/2aoVSaQ

24 comments:

  1. With all the fuss over gold and silver, we forget that there are gemstones, copper, lead, and a myriad of other treasures to be found. Thanks for all the research, Doris. Good article to save!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jacquie, I only scratched the surface as they might say. I suppose having a 'Prospector' in my writing group helps to fuel the need for information. I even wrote a murder mystery show, based upon the mining of these stones. Doris

      Delete
    2. My ex-Inlaws have a cabin at Creede, Colorado (elevation 8000 feet)Aside from Creede being the place where the killer of Jesse James (Bob Ford) was shot in the back at local saloon, the area also has an amethyst mine that is now closed. I did find some nice pieces rock-hounding. Cynthia Breeding

      Delete
    3. Cynthia, that is so cool. Creede is an interesting place, that is for sure. I would have enjoyed the amethyst mine.

      One of these days, I'm going to have to go out again. **Sigh** so many things I want to do, so little time. Oh well, getting off work so, so back to the story I spoke of in this post. Doris

      Delete
  2. WOW, Doris! I wear a lot of turquoise and thought it was the main gem from the western territory other than maybe gold and silver, but I never realized so many stones and gems were found in Colorado. I sure learned a bunch on that subject today and am grateful to you for doing such interesting and rewarding research. Loved all the stories in One Hot Knight as I knew I would. Wishing you the best.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Bev, thank you for the kind words about the stories. I enjoyed reading the others in the anthology also..

    I have been fascinated with the idea of gemstones in Colorado for many years. I do confess, one of the 'Prospectors' is in my writing group, so I can pick his brain when we're not writing. Still, I was surprised myself when I first started studying the subject. Doris

    ReplyDelete
  4. Interesting! The Amazonite is gorgeous! We visited the mining museum in Leadville and it was an amazing place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tanya, so glad you were able to get to that museum. It is wonderful, isn't it?

      I confess, this subject is so fascinating to me. Thanks for adding to the discussion. Doris

      Delete
  5. That's new information for me--although granted, I know very little about Colorado. It seems every state has its geological wonders and gems. North Carolina has amethyst and emeralds--and a bit of gold. My niece, Betsy, and her daddy would sometimes go gem digging. They had fun doing that.
    I can't wait to read the Christmas themed medieval anthology. I have always enjoyed reading medieval stories. I love the cover, too.
    All the very best to you, Doris!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sarah. This story is for the Western, but I'm also going to try to write a full Medieval novel.

      Gemstones are such a fascinating subject. I confess you had me at emeralds. *Smile*. Doris

      Delete
  6. Hi Doris! Interesting stuff! This might sound weird, but I have never really liked diamonds. I've always preferred jewelry with colored gemstones. Ruby is my birthstone, and I love it. But I truly do love most of the gemstones--they all have a beauty that's all their own--so unique! Emeralds, amethyst, garnet...and so many more. Since I was a teenager, I've had a particular fondness for turquoise--I know there are different "grades" of it, but I love it all. LOL I guess what I am saying is, basically, I don't really care about the value so much as I do the beauty in my own eyes.

    Had no idea CO had so many gemstones to be found! I remember a couple of years back, I heard on the news about a young teenage girl who went to a place in Arkansas or Missouri--can't remember which, where you can just go and pick up diamonds if you can find them. She actually found one that was a good size and worth quite a lot of money. I would love to visit that place someday--on the off chance that it might be my "lucky" day! LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheryl, It doesn't sound weird to me. In fact my neighbor goes out to search for garnets, yes we have those also. Depending on who you talk to, my birthstone is a Pearl or Ruby, both of which I love. I didn't mention it in the article, but there is a small museum in Florissant that has a 3' smokey quarts and it is stunning.

      I wouldn't mind finding a diamond or two myself. A field trip might be in order. *Smile* Doris

      Delete
  7. Doris,

    I love this gemstone article. It adds such color to our Colorful Colorado. *wink* Down here in the far southeastern corner of the state is the Comanche National Grasslands. Winding in and through the grasslands is a series of canyons and creeks. Tucked into one of those canyons is an old copper mine. I've walked to the mouth, which is caved in and boarded up, but the fact that there is/was a copper mine out here on the prairie really intrigues me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and me both Kaye. Copper mine...sigh. There is so much unique history to this state. Thank you for sharing the info about the copper mine. Guess who's going down a rabbit hole soon. **GRIN**. So glad you enjoyed the info in this piece. Joe Dorris, one of the prospectors on the Weather Chanel show "Prospectors" is in my writing group and I learn a lot from him, plus he is a really nice person. Doris

      Delete
  8. This is really interesting, Doris, since all you ever hear about are the silver and gold mines. Good to know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know me Kristy, if there is more to the story, I've got to go find it. I does help that I know a person who mines for gemstones, so it made it easier to know what to look for when researching. While you won't get rich like the mine owners in Cripple Creek in the 1890s, you can do pretty well. Doris

      Delete
  9. How interesting! I not only learned there is such a thing as gemstone mining in Colorado, but I was introduced to some "rocks" of which I was not aware. Amazonite--how pretty, and I love the name. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then I accomplished my mission. LOL. Thank you Zina. It is a fascinating subject and one that is pretty popular here in Colorado where I live. Doris

      Delete
  10. Doris, as always a great informative blog. We eent to an Emerald Mine in, NC. We sifted through the rocks and found a couple of little emrralts. And a few other semi-precious gemstones. Ut was fun. We want to go back and dig in the mines. Id love to dig for gold. I just have to convince Del it would be fun. Cher'ley

    ReplyDelete
  11. Doris, as always a great informative blog. We eent to an Emerald Mine in, NC. We sifted through the rocks and found a couple of little emrralts. And a few other semi-precious gemstones. Ut was fun. We want to go back and dig in the mines. Id love to dig for gold. I just have to convince Del it would be fun. Cher'ley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it amazing how such small things can be a great joy. Gold panning/digging is work, but sometime rewarding. Here's to finding those 'nuggets' in the ground, our stories and our lives. Thank you for the very kind words Cher'ley. Doris

      Delete
  12. I like the post,Nice blog, The gemstone universe is the biggest astrology gem providers, they offer good gems for your rashi,these are change your life, for want to know more about this click the below links

    Pukhraj Stone
    Neelam Stone
    Panna Stone
    Pukhraj
    Gemstone

    ReplyDelete
  13. Very nice post, keep updating, thanks.
    Buy Original Gemstone Visit Our Links...
    gemstones
    Ruby Stone
    Yellow Sapphire
    Neelam Stone

    ReplyDelete
  14. Greeting!
    You are right that 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. Emerald gemstone with the new exuberant shading is a standout amongst the most alluring gemstones.

    ReplyDelete