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These pictures are for the viewing enjoyment of everyone, and are presented as educational and informational. The specimens pictured are not for sale and are the property of myself, other collectors, or museums. Pictures of specimens other than what I own were for the most part taken at large gem and mineral shows.
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|A late summer view of part of the Crystal Peak collecting area, Pike National Forest.|
|Remains of the old Whitmore cabin at Crystal Peak, headquarters for the old American Gem Mines back in the early 1900's. Most of this burned down in the recent Hayman Fire.|
|Superb amazonite and smoky specimen found by Bryan Lees, Collector's Edge, summer 1997. Original photo by Bernie Kowalski.|
|Amazonite from our digs at Crystal Peak, with amethyst. Spomer Collection. The single amazonite crystal is very unusual in that it has a pale amethyst quartz growth on it. I have several other pieces with amethyst, one quite dark in the tips; unforunately that amazonite is not termintated. This is genuine amethyst and not onegite which is so frequently seen. Onegite's purply color is due to visible iron oxide (goethite) inclusions. This crystal was found on the site mentioned below.|
|Typical digs at the Blue Heaven claim, Crystal Peak, Lake George, Colorado, showing from where the above crystal was removed. Tree roots seek the path of least resistance when growing and often are able to penetrate into the voids and spaces of the pockets and mineralized seams in the harder granite. Notice how crumbly the granite is here, at least on the surface. The smoky quartz taken from here was mostly grade B, although some of decent size, up to 6 inches long. But there were numerious single small amazonites taken from here varying in places from light colored to dark, some with selective stripes. Very little was found in groups or clusters. |
There was also some very unusual cubo-octahedral fluorites found here which regrettably do not photograph very well. Most of the best crystal groups taken from the Pikes Peak granite are from hand-dug pits up to 6 to 12 feet deep, below the frost line. Much productive land is private property or active mining cliams in the forest, so finding a good collecting spot can be difficult and confusing.
|More nice dark amazonites from there, some with side stripes.|
|This light colored multiple crystal came from the same digs.|
|Don Belsher extracting amazonites from a pocket at Crystal Park, 1996. a nice pocket of deep-colored amazonite crystals up to 3 inches or more were recovered form this dig. Notice the pile of crystals on the upper left, completely covered with the typical red pocket "mud" or clay. The clay is a disintegration product of feldspars, the red color due to hematitic iron. The clay and iron stain will not was off completely in water and detergent. It must be removed by heating in oxalic acid or other acids which have an affinity to iron, or by a long soaking in Iron Out, and as such must be done observing certain precautions for safety reasons.|
|A couple of the bright blue ones found that day.|
|View to the NW from Devil's Head Mt. Campbell Mt. is in the distance. The Devil's Head Mt. area is another smoky quartz, microcline feldspar, and topaz collecting area on the Front Range between Denver and Colorado Springs. Fluorite and other rare minerals can sometimes be found as well as the rare (for this locality) amazonite. This is a vast and somewhat wild area that is easy to get turned around and lost temporarily by foot in if you aren't paying attention to your landmarks. It is accessed by the graveled Rampart Range Road.|
|A cute smoky and amazonite cluster I found at Harris Park in 1996.|
|"Señor Smoke", A huge smoky quartz crystal found at Harris Park (Black and Blue Claim). Collected by Ken Gochenour. Spomer collection. It measures approximately one foot long and 8 inches wide, with associalted microcline. Crystals taken from this pocket tended to be complex growths and were quite gemmy. Some odd cleavelandite was also found.|
|Attractive "whitecap" smoky quartz xl from Crystal Peak. Crystal is 5.5" x 3". Found by Carl Holzer. Spomer collection.|
|Some great specimens from Crystal Peak on display at the Colo. Springs gem show.|
|More great displays from the show.|
|An outstanding cluster on display at Colo. Springs. Everyone wants one of these, but few find them.|
|An interesting complex growth in medium color found at our claim, '98.|
|One of the larger, darker singles found at the white cap smoky dig, 1998. Approx. 2.5" long.|
|A nice striped cluster from the Blue Heaven, '98.|
|One of the nicest dark groups with clevelandite, Blue Heaven Claim.|
|My best crystal dug from Carl Holzer's big find in Douglas Co. Crystal is about 4" long.|
|A nice twin crystal from the same find above. Approx. 2".|
|The best octahedral fluorite cluster from the Blue Heaven, approx. 4". I found this on a dump the week after we dug there! It had obviously come out all covered with clay and washed off in the rain!|
|Some of the bizarre cubo-octahedral fluorites I have found at the Blue Heaven.|
|Another of the cubo-octahedral fluorites.|
|Typical smoky from the Blue Heaven. 2+ inches.|
|Amazonite on smoky quartz, approx. 2". Found on the RAMS gem and mineral club claim during an exhange field trip.|
|A topaz crystal emplanted on a pale smoky quartz xl. Tarryall Mts., Park Coiunty, Colorado. Topaz xls are usually found detached or "loose" in the pockets.|
|Colorado light blue topaz, Tarryall Range, Colorado. Over 1" across.|
|Fine zoned champagne topaz, Wigwam "Devil's Spire" claim. Collected by Bruce Kinney.|
|A really strange intergrowth of amazonite and clevelandite, Harris Park. Self-collected.|
|Base camp at Harris Park. Ken Gochenour (l.) and Carl Holzer discuss strategy for the day. Some pictures from the base camp and collecting area (below) at the Black and Blue Claim.|
|A group of collectors at the Black and Blue, summer 1996.|
|Looking into a huge pocket of crystals at the Black and Blue.|
|Proud miner Ken posing by the big pocket before extraction begins. Note the large smokies and mics (microclines) in the pocket found in August, 1996. The pocket wasn't as large as the one found two years earlier a few feet away, but did contain several nice large smokies and huge pale amazonites. The pocket was "dry" and the amazonite partly cleaved, but crystals over one foot long were found. The owner of the claim at that time, Ken Gochenour had a number of years experience mining tourmalines and beryls in southern California, and had recently opened a quartz scepter claim at Peterson Mt., Nevada (Hallelujah Junction area).|
***We all miss Ken. He passed away in the mid-2010's from complications from malaria contracted on an African trip.
|Other pages that might be of interest:|
My Blog on Crystal Peak Area and Amazonite
Amazonite and Smoky Quartz Minerals for Sale - COMING SOON
Come back again as I plan to add more photos as time permits.
All photographs shown here are for your viewing enjoyment only. Copyrights are retained by original photographer or publisher. Please see our Copyright page for more information.
All photos, scans, gamma corrections, and color adjustments by Robert Spomer, unless otherwise noted.