Rockin the Rockies

Rockin the Rockies
Stowe Mtn

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Amethyst/Quartz at Creede, CO

Well, now that I've got your attention the specimen above came from Brazil, but there is amethyst in Colorado, just not the big geode chunks exhibited at most rock shops. I have run across an occasional pale amethyst quartz crystal while rock hounding at Lake George, CO; however, personally I have never run across anything much bigger than a 1/2" crystal. I've also found what we in Colorado call onegite. Onegite is quartz with goethite inclusions which give it a sometimes purple appearance or amethystine look. I've also heard of geodes found in Colorado with pale amethyst enclosed, but have not pursued those. This past week I took a color tour of SW Colorado and recalled our Rock Club had a guest lecturer who owned a mine near Creede, CO that has amethyst. 
Colorado fall eye candy
After seeing a brochure advertising this claim the "Last Chance" I decided to check it out. Amethyst is associated with galena, sphalerite and chalcopyrite in an amethyst vein in the Creede district, on West Willow Creek.
 The  specimens consist of small pale pinkish-purple crystals interlayed with milky quartz and often in banded form called "sowbelly agate". There are also pockets of euhedral crystals, but they are few and far between. According to the owner of the Last Chance, only 2 pockets of crystals have ever been found in his mine going back to the first find in 1923. Creede was initially established as a silver mining town, with a very rich mining history, but you can google that information for yourself.
I called Jack the owner prior to setting out and he advised not arriving until noon as there was still some snow and ice on the dirt roads leading to his claim.
Self portrait of Jack in wood carving
Jack was not really open for business this last day of Sept, but he was eager to show me around and open his museum. I had planned to do a little rockhounding on the piles of  rock downhill from his mine, but thought better of that due to the snow and ice. I had my wife along and when she heard Jack had some amethyst jewelry for sale I knew she would buy something. I also thought I might be able to get Jack to throw in a bit of amethyst rough. After some negotiating we finally arrived at a price for a ring with some sowbelly agate rough thrown in. Jack selected a couple pieces he had sitting near his work-site and was quick to point out the specks of silver included in the specimens. While I didn't exactly get to rockhound this day, I met Jack a memorable personality, I got some amethyst rough I can work on, and my wife was happy with an amethyst ring.
10" slab of sowbelly agate (specks are silver inclusions)
1.5" Amethyst pendant created by me!

A couple days later on the way home from our trip we stopped at an out of the way rock shop. The owner had some amethyst crystals covered in calcite which did not appear to be gemmy.  She was selling the crystals for $4 lb, so I bought a couple and will see what they turn out to be
One of the Amethyst crystals with calcite removed... not gemmy, but a nice lusterous 2.5 inch crystal

Another rock shop specimen, terminated but oddly zoned like a piece of  sowbelly agate, 


  1. You always have me dreaming when I read your posts. So, what did those cheap calcite-covered crystals look like after an acid bath?

    1. There you go Thomas a couple pics above of the cleaned amethyst crystals. Not show stoppers, but some fun

  2. Howdy Kevin. I'm in Longmont. What is a good source for finding private claims to stay clear of, and areas where a recreational rockhound can move some dirt? Thanks. Larry W Jones, Kingwood Kowboy.

  3. Hi Kevin. I just moved to Trinidad from Chicago. Im heading up to Stonewall in the morning. Any suggestions? I am totally new to gems and crystals. I feel im getting rock fever rapidly.