Some exceptional crystalline gold specimens have been mined in Colorado. It is one of the richest mining states in the USA, abundant in both silver and gold.
Breckenridge is probably the most famous for its crystalline gold. Early miners recovered a lot of placer gold around Blue River, Swan River, Georgia Gulch and countless more areas near town. But most of the best crystalline gold samples were mined from exceptionally rich hard rock ores. Their unique shapes were often referred to as "leaf gold."
The largest and best pieces came from Farncomb Hill
, up French Gulch west of Breckenridge. This rich mine began operation in 1894.
The mine was owned by John Campion. He had previously made a fortune mining in Leadville before arriving in Breckenridge. Campion was a collector and took great interest in the exceptional gold specimens being extracted from his mine. He instructed his miners to bring him select specimens, which he kept intact rather than crushing them.
Campion helped to found the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in 1900. When the museum opened in 1908 his collection of exceptional Breckenridge gold was on display, and it still is today.
Visitors can still gaze upon a mind-blowing collection of Colorado crystalline gold, much of which came from Campion’s personal collection from the Farncomb Hill Mine. Other select pieces include “Tom's Baby
,” an 156-ounce piece of crystalline gold.
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