Rockin the Rockies

Rockin the Rockies
Stowe Mtn

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Highly Prized Large Smoky Quartz Crystals at Lake George CO

After finding only relatively small smoky quartz crystals most of the summer we were due to find something a little more substantial.  Anytime I find crystals over 3 inches in length I am satisfied. Of course exterior luster interior gemminess and overall appearance are critical factors in a crystal's aesthetic desirability.

Badger Mtn from northeast of Lake George CO
I returned to one of my old digs near Lake George and continued to follow a somewhat spotty quartz seam about 3 feet under the ground. The pegmatite would almost turn to country rock, then back to fairly large grained granite with an occasional quartz shard. Finally quartz shards dominated the pegmatite and faces began to appear on quartz which was also turning smoky in color. Red dirt was also becoming more evident which is another good sign of a pocket. Bob was working some distance away, so I picked out a few subhedral crystals and went to find him. I was fairly confident I was into something good. I listened for a minute and soon heard the clink of Bob's pick axe hitting granite. I located him and asked him if he would like to see me pull out some crystals and he decided he would take a look. Back at the dig I quickly got past the malformed subhedral crystals and started pulling out 7"smokys! Unfortunately the dig, already dipping underneath a large rock, was getting more difficult to work due to the cramped conditions. Bob volunteered to dig on the other side of the rock that was blocking my efforts and see if he could attack the pocket from the other direction. Within minutes Bob was digging out shards of quartz which soon turned to crystals. Bob's crystals were bigger than the ones I was finding. Since it was my discovery Bob decided he should let me dig out what appeared to be a substantial crystal that he had started to excavate. I pulled out a couple of crystals around the one he was digging, but predictably the crystal's tip was damaged.
Large Smoky emerging from the pocket
We dug most of the crystals out of the pocket, but due to a couple of half ton boulders we will have to return some day and remove the boulders and double check the pocket depth and see if any quartz stringers with additional attached pockets remain. While many of the crystals were broken due in large part to the 1000lb boulder that rolled down on top of the pocket, I still got one 9" crystal, two 7" crystals and a handful of 2-5" smokys and two 2x3x1" purple fluorites all being highly prized by me. The smaller crystals are gemmy, but the larger crystals have internal fractures. I filled up my backpack with about 30lbs of crystals and Bob put a number of crystals in his backpack as well. I would say this was the highlight of my 2013 rock hounding trips. Looks like I'll have to buy a bigger crock pot to give some of my finds an acid bath in order to clean them up.
Quartz shards and subhedral crystals from the pegmatite which led me to the pocket and one of the hefty boulders

Smokys stacked in the pocket (7" crystal on right)

Cathedral Crystals popping out of the hole/pocket behind me these cathedrals are my favorite
Cathedral cleaned. I will add a couple more pictures of the fluorite to this post after they are cleaned

Cleaned smokys on left, largest 9"crystal on right is ready for an acid bath (next time I'll use a Colorado quarter)


  1. Now that is a pocket! Congrats on the wonderful find!