Colored gems, diamonds, gold & other precious metals are rare until you learn how to read rocks & geology. But few prospectors have the time to spend months & years learning the geological processes that produced various gemstone & precious metal deposits. But this is exactly what I did for >3 decades. Now I'm sharing these discoveries & insights with my members & readers.
For instance, take our NEW GOLD BOOK. It was written for you, to tell you exactly where to find gold while providing ideas on what to look for to help you find new deposits.
Gem-quality garnet & pyroxene from anthills in southwestern Wyoming. Photo was taken with back-light projection. Even though these are small enough for aggressive ants to carry in groups, they are cuttable and yield some extraordinary gemstones. Where is the source for these gemstones? The source is likely hidden in hundreds of diamond pipes sitting under a few feet of soil in the Green River Basin. And yes, some diamonds have been found in anthills and in at least one breccia pipe on Cedar Mountain.
Imagine panning gold from streams within the city limits of Cheyenne or from the Laramie City landfill or panning diamonds in downtown Ft. Collins, Colorado. Gold and gemstones likely occur in these locations if you know where to look - in fact, we found gold in the Laramie City landfill in an ancient stream bed! Gold prices are $1,400 per troy ounce!
Our book on GEMS, MINERALS & ROCKS will tell you about gemstones, how to recognize them & where to find them and tell you about other minerals and as well as their host rocks.
By understanding rocks, geochemistry & geology of various areas, I was able to find new gemstones & gold deposits nearly every year in Wyoming including some of the largest gems ever found in North America. Some were sitting adjacent to U.S. highways, a few were within sight of the interstate, while others were found in the wilds of Alaska, California, Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
Some deposits found near roads include: (1) A giant opal & agate deposit in road cuts along & adjacent to a US Highway & in oil field roads used every day for many decades - but nobody paid attention to the hundreds of rounded concretions in the road cuts.
Photo of a road cut with a large, orange, lichen-coated boulder adjacent to the rock hammer. This is actually one of hundreds of boulders of opal weighing several hundred thousand carats, that no one bothered to stop their car and look at. Just a short distance south of this road cut, I discovered an 'entire hillside of untouched fire opal'. The first fire opal ever reported in Wyoming.
Giant opals weighing >75,000 carats were recovered & larger stones were left in place (too heavy for one geologist to carry)! The area was covered with common opal and agates, and I found an entire hillside of fire opal and specimens of rare precious opal in this area. The BLM initiated plans to withdraw all of this from public access even before they knew where it was located! If the government would just get out of the way or at least work for the people who pay taxes and ultimately their salaries, many of us would not have to deal with heartburn.
(2) Diamonds were found within site of US 287 and Interstate-80. More than 130,000 diamonds were recovered & hundreds of thousands if not millions of diamonds remain in the ground & in nearby creeks in Colorado and Wyoming. While working for the geological survey & consulting for companies, I found >300 anomalies characteristic of kimberlite (one of the principal host rocks for diamond) and my staff identified >100 stream sediment anomalies containing diamond indicator minerals. This means Wyoming and probably Colorado, Kansas and Montana have many diamond deposits that are sitting out there waiting for the right person to dig into them and find the next major gemstone discovery. Why waste your time on buying lottery tickets when all you need is to understand the geological characteristics of these deposits.
Gem-quality diamonds from the Kelsey Lake kimberlite (photo courtesy of Howard Coopersmith & Redarum). This is another example of $millions in gemstones sitting within site of US Highway 287. Just go to Google Earth (40 degrees 59'40"N; 105 degrees 30'25"W) and you will see a reclaimed scar in the hillside - the historic Kelsey Lake diamond mine.
The kimberlite was discovered by David Eggler and Howard Coopersmith later found commercial diamonds in the kimberlite and in Fish Creek. The deposit (on private land) was only partially mined (actually, barely touched) before it was closed due to legal problems. The mine is 4 miles west of US287 and actually could be seen from the highway. And this is not the only diamond deposit in this area. David Eggler found several more diamond deposits in the area, I found a few within one mile of US287, and M.E. McCallum and his students from CSU found others. Using an airborne geophysical survey, one geophysicist identified what could be dozens of buried kimberlites that remain uninvestigated!
While I mapped in the Colorado-Wyoming State Line, the Iron Mountain, the Middle Sybille Creek and Indian Guide districts, as well as the Leucite Hills lamproite field (Wyoming) I identified other probable diamond deposits as well as other gemstones, many anomalies and some kimberlites (and this doesn't even include what we found in Montana). I even found one probable kimberlite in an Albany County road cut.
In the popular Happy Jack area east of Laramie, I found a group of probable kimberlites (we call these cryptovolcanic anomalies because they have not yet been verified even though they have many important characteristics of kimberlite) that transverse the Happy Jack Highway where thousands of people drive across these structures every day! Then right adjacent to Interstate 80 not far from Cheyenne, I discovered what could be some of the largest kimberlites in the world. You can even see these from I-80 if you know where to look. And in this same area, I found more than 100 cryptovolcanic structures.
Most people are under the impression that only a few industrial diamonds were found in this region. But ~50% of the recovered diamonds were gem-quality and weighed up to 28.3 carats (with evidence of much larger diamonds according to Howard Coopersmith, the former Kelsey Lake mine manager). Significant minable diamond resources were left in place in three of the kimberlites, while most remained unevaluated. Of the >500 anomalies in Colorado and Wyoming, at most about two dozen were ever examined. So this will be the subject of a new diamond book in the future and it indicates there are a lot of diamond deposits to be found!
(3) Since the late 19th century, olivine grains were examined by many geologists including two well-known geologists without any realizing these were high-quality gem peridots. During reconnaissance of this area, I recovered >13,000 carats of gem-quality peridot from just two anthills and found some as large as 0.25 inch in place. This same area likely has diamonds - but again, no one is looking. The type of rocks are conducive to fancy diamonds. For instance, similar rocks in Australia produce Argyle pink diamonds, the most valuable gemstone for their size on earth.
Faceted peridot from the Leucite Hills discovery. Millions of peridot gemstones likely occur in the soils surrounding some of the Leucite Hills lamproites. This area could even have some pink diamonds. Diamonds with pink hues have already been reported in the Colorado-Wyoming State Line district, yet no one bothers to look.
(4) Several hundred gold anomalies & deposits were identified in old mining districts and in areas previously unrecognized. One such deposit was even found within throwing distance of Interstate-80 near Arlington.
Other deposits of interest include (1) an entire gold district with Cripple Creek-type gold deposits & several shear zone & exhalitive gold deposits. I discovered this district in 1981, but it took considerable time for anyone to seriously look at it.
(2) I was on the discovery team of a major gold deposit in the wilds of Alaska in 1988. It will likely take 25 years for this deposit to be turned into an operating mine. Part of the problem is government over-regulation.
(3) I found several ruby & sapphire deposits by simply understanding the geological characteristics of these deposits. These all remain undeveloped even though some beautiful gems were recovered from some of these. And in one deposit, one of the largest rubies in history was found.
(4) I investigate enormous jasper deposits found by past miners looking for gold. These deposits contain considerable jasper that is very attractive, but it was just sitting in the ground and no one bothered to exploit this enormous deposit.
(5) Possibly >$trillion in iolite (water sapphire) gemstones are found in Wyoming. These include the largest iolite gemstones found on earth! One weighing >24,000 carats was donated to Wyoming for display, while much larger gemstones remain in the outcrop!
(6) Billions of carats of cabochon-quality kyanite gemstones were identified by myself in eastern Wyoming. These gemstones also remain unexploited even though most have a very attractive sky-blue color.
(7) Extraordinary pyrope garnet (Cape Ruby) is found in kimberlites and stream sediments in Colorado & Wyoming.
(8) I found chromian diopside (Cape Emerald) gems in California, Colorado, Montana & Wyoming. These are more attractive than most emeralds!
Hillside of jasper found in the Tin Cup district near Jeffrey City. No gold in this area, just thousands of tons of high-quality jasper.
(9) Large heliodor and aquamarine gemstones were found in pegmatites at several locations in Wyoming.
(10) Road beds & hillsides with beautiful labradorite gemstones remain untouched.
In just three decades, a couple of other geologists and myself turned Wyoming from a little known gemstone state into a state with the most diversified and largest quantity of gemstones in the U.S. And this is just the beginning - its now up to you to expand this knowledge.