RING, ring, ring. RING, ring, ring. CLICK. Scratch, scratch, scratch - voicemail answers:
“Sorry, Can't get to the phone right now - Just found another gem deposit. You should see these - they'll knock your socks off. Just need to figure out how to get 'em out of the rock."
"I apologize about last week. I found a cashe of gems! Can you imagine a plethora of Cape Emerald, Cape Ruby, chromian enstatite and diamond so saturated in color that Mother Nature had to of worked overtime to produce these? Yep, found them near... well let's just say somewhere in North America."
"And the previous month? Well, you must admit when you find water sapphire as large as Smart Cars, it can make you forget about appointments. Why do you suppose they call them Smart Cars anyway? Can't be too smart paying full price for half a car. I suspect the large stones will yield tens of millions of carats in iolite gems. Did haul out a small one: it weighed 24,150 carats, the largest ever recorded, but tiny compared to those I left in outcrop."
"Yep, remembered my 44 Magnum and boots. The gun does make better bear repellent: the boots are not bad for kicking diamondbacks off the kimberlites. Why do you suppose those snakes are so attracted to diamonds anyway?"
"Oh, one more thing - if you're a telemarketer, you have the wrong number! A politician – I don't vote for neanderthals! A CEO for a mining company and need information on gold or diamonds - you know my rates. A rock hound? Leave a message and I might get back to you after I get this boulder out of my pickup”.
The good looking guy was me in 1988, after we found what has been described as possibly the most important gold discovery in the world by the Northern Miner. And I was there!
Over the years, I've explored for gold, diamonds and colored gemstones in Alaska, Australia, Canada and all over the US. I found some right under your nose adjacent to highways; even along I-80. At one place believe it or not, Albany County (Wyoming) used roadbed material filled with high-quality labradorite gemstones to grade a county road. And sitting next to the gem-road was a diamond pipe! Makes one wonder if anyone opens their eyes?
Actually, it is understandable as most of us are not trained to recognize colored gemstone, diamond and gold deposits even though people in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming are surrounded by them. I can visualize those county bureaucrats taking one of many 3-hour lunch breaks with their dump truck full of gemstones in the road bed gravel while sitting on a rock in the middle of the diamond pipe complaining about their rotten pay.
I spent many summers in a tent. During one I mapped the Radium Springs and Lewiston Lakes quadrangles at South Pass and didn’t see another person. Over the years, I mapped more than 1,000 square kilometers. To be in the middle of nowhere (I don’t use the term wilderness because it's used by wantabe outdoorsmen, environmentalists and politicians who think they are earth conscience) with my tent, rock pick and singing songs in evenings accompanied by a local coyote band. Sorry, don't like environmentalists - they have an agenda that doesn't include people.
I enjoy writing. Not too long ago, I published my 1,000th paper and contributed to a 97th book. My bibliography of publications on geology, gemstones, diamonds and gold excludes most abstracts and need to update the last few years. I enjoy sharing ideas with prospectors and rockhounds as many are my kind of people. Someday, I hope to write a book about some of these unusual personalities.
Once, I was in demand for field trips and led more than 400 excursions and lectured to local mineral and rock clubs and national professional associations to educate the public on finding minerals. I won an American Association of Petroleum Geologists award for best talk at a conference (and I'm not even a petroleum geologist), was presented the Wyoming Geological Association's Distinguished Service Award. I was a Distinguished Speaker for the Laramie Lycem and Distingished Lecturer for the University of Wyoming Department of Geology and Geophysics. I was even inducted into the National Rock Hound Hall of Fame for communication skills.
Ok, Ok, I agree, I’m a workaholic – I would describe myself as a polymath. I’m good at things that interest me but just as bad at things that don’t. I’m a geologist, gem hunter, gold prospector, diamond prospector, martial artist, public speaker, artist, writer, former astronomer, and former professional musician. Did I mention I write books? There’s a few other things that even I don’t know about myself yet that I’m good at. I also love to break rocks: with a rock hammer, or my hands. When I'm not using my rock hammer, I'm usually teaching karate, kobudo, samurai arts or self-defense.
Not a mechanic: can't fix anything without a hammer and duct tape: good business management escapes me: computers dumbfound me. Not good at being politically correct. Guess I’ll stop there in case your kids are reading.
I worked among mountain lions, bobcats, bears, rattlesnakes (those critters that crawl, not politicians) and ranchers. At one place in the West Cooney Hills, I found billions of carats of a gemstone known as kyanite. At a nearby abandoned mine, I walked into a rattlesnake den. The mine floor was alive, so I did an about face, and published a map labeled the Rattlesnake Den mine. At another mine at South Pass, I labeled the diggings “Wet Dream Mine”. I never heard the end of that one after I later met the mine owner. Some people have no sense of humor.
I love old gold mines and found most still have significant gold. I once offered a couple South Pass prospectors some beer to dig out some mine adits so I could get in to map them (prospecting old mines and finding new gold and gem deposits is better than sex). I was the first person in some of these mines in 50 to 100 years.
In one, I could see where the last miner wrote in mud on the mine rib “1890”. Amazing it was still there after all of those years. I explored an old mine in California where miners in 1911 and 1939 did the same – but instead they burned numbers on the mine ribs (walls) with their candles. I mapped mining districts to find precious metals and stones and provide basic geological information for prospectors and mining companies. I even discovered a major gold district not far from Casper. After many years, a mining company finally identified commercial gold mineralization in this district right where I said it would be.
To the east of Rattlesnake Hills district, scam artists reported finding gold at Pine Mountain. I was asked to assist the Postal Inspector’s office. Later, one university professor reported 287 million ounces of gold reserves had been outlined at this site at Pine Mountain (where there was no gold)! Nope, the university didn't fire the professor, instead she was promoted: next thing you know, she'll run for governor.
In 1871 and 1872, one of the greatest mining scams took place in the Wyoming Territory at a location now known as Diamond Peak, Colorado. Politicians (seems like nothing ever changes) tripped over one another to invest in this great diamond-ruby-emerald discovery. More than a 100 years later, I panned 4 diamonds, 17 rubies and 24 pyrope garnets from the location: all 1872 salt! Amazingly, those scam artists accidentally picked a place not far from three known diamond districts.
I took my annual leave (vacations) each year to consult around North America and was on the discovery team of one of the largest gold deposits ever found in North America: a deposit larger than the great Homestake mine. We found it in 1988 and it's finally scheduled for production in 2015 (maybe). Why so long? Well, there is a species known as a burrocrat - need I say more?
When I left the WGS, all that was left was a sports caster who slept on his desk, a farmer who thought he was the reincarnated General Custer, an editor who never edited, a director who thought he was Napoleon, and - I kid you not, a real Chinese and Russian Commie (didn't realize Wyoming would hire Commies - what is this world coming to?). So, I left the job I loved and went to work as VP of US Exploration for an Australian diamond company. While working for the Aussies, I found a few hundred cryptovolcanic deposits in Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming, and got them an actual diamond mine, but the economic crisis of 2008 put the company out of business. Well, there goes another finder fee! If I could have collected all of the finder fees I was promised over the years, I would be able to buy the Wyoming Geological Survey and send all of the managers to a state institution. As it is, I can hardly pay for my 10 cups of coffee every morning. Guess everything has to do with timing.
In 1975, Wyoming was the jade king. Today, Wyoming has jade, diamonds, pyrope garnet, almandine garnet, spessartine garnet, peridot, chromian diopside, Cape Ruby, Cape Emerald, blue barite, aquamarine, helidor, common opal, fire opal, precious opal, gold, iolite, ruby, sapphire, apatite, jasper, agate, onyx, epidote, kyanite and many other gems. Where were all of these gems hiding? Well, I hope to tell you not only where they were hiding, but also how to find others in this website and in books I'm working on.
The GemHunter getting ready to go underground at Arizona's Inspiration Mine in 2011.
Well, got to go! Oh, by the way, you can get weekly tips on prospecting at the GemHunter's Facebook. And when you forget your rock-hammer, we provide you with tips on how to break those rocks without a hammer.
I accidentally learned to sketch in 1990. If it wasn't for my fellow co-worker (Fiddy), I probably would never have discovered this talent. This one I sketched at a staff meeting. See if you can pick out Ronnie, Dickie, General Custer & our sleeping Sports authority. I was pleasantly surprised how I was able to capture their likeness.
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