Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Journal Entry Twenty three: Gemstones in the Valley

The Arkansas River valley is also provides a surprising wealth of natural gemstones. Mt. Antero is one of the 14ners, 14,269ft. and number ten on the list of over fourteen thousand feet mountains in Colorado. It is located between the towns of Buena Vista and Salida. It was first prospected in the late 1800’s, as were mot of the rest of the mountains in the state. Most men were after gold at that time, but what they found here mostly were aquamarine crystals, beautiful sky blue to sea green colored variety of gem beryl. Another interesting note is that all known gem deposits here occur above timberline, making this mountain the highest known gem locality in the United States. The aquamarine occurs in pockets or bubbles in the granite rock. There are both patented and un-patented mining claims in the area, but most of the land is considered open for hand-digging. Mt. White, one of the off peaks of Mt. Antero is seeing renewed activity as new mining claims have occurred since a large aquamarine was found by a man named Steve Broncato. He found his own large pocket of aquamarine crystals, which would up totaling somewhere around 2,000 of them. Steve filed a claim there and in the summer can usually be found there camping in the high country to protect his claim. He later found the largest aquamarine ever discovered there and sold it, I was told for a very impressive amount.

There are a lot of other gemstones to be found besides the aquamarine; jasper, topaz, smoky quartz, turquoise, amethyst, and lapis lazuli.


Anonymous said...

Hi Liz,

I was reading a bit of your blog..and I thought the information and detail are excellent.

I'm working on a story for a local Denver magazine on hiking and I was wondering if you would be willing to talk about your favorite CO hiking spots for fall?
Favorite trails and why?

I really appreciate your help.

Jane said...

I live in Western Colorado and have a couple of hikes I'd love to share. I have to find some time to sit down and write it but wonder how/where to add it? In the comments? I was also wondering if it would be difficult to include driving directions in your stories...I've been eying Mt. Antero as my possible first 14er...I've got books but it's nice to hear it from someone who's been there recently and can point out landmarks and such...I enjoy reading your blogs :)

Liz said...

Jane, Thanks for reading this blog about hiking, one of my absolute favorite things to do. You are welcome to post your hikes in the comments section, or after you have written them I can give you permission through your email to be an author on this blog. Let me know when you are ready and happy hiking!!!


goooooood girl said...

your blog is so good......