Rare Gems and Minerals in Colorado

Anyone from Colorado can tell you, geology is what makes this state so beautiful! From the low deserts to the peaks of the Rocky Mountains, a wide array of gems and minerals can be dug in this beautiful state. Below are just a few of them:


The crystals found here are solely valued for their natural intrinsic beauty and the translucent red color variety found in Colorado attracts high value all around the world.

Rhodochrosites is found in eighteen of Colorado’s counties and it is one of Colorado’s most popular and highly sought after minerals due to its exceptional beauty.

There is a 6.5-inch rhodochrosite crystal known as the “Alma King” displayed in the Nature and Science Museum of Denver. This beautiful crystal found in 1992 in the Home Sweet Mine in the Mosquito Range of Park County, which is west of the old mining town of Alma is referred to as the earth’s largest rhodochrosite.

Amazingly, rhodochrosite was once regarded as waste on the Sweet Home’s dumps because the site was used as a silver mine in the late 1800’s, but now after the discovery of the beautiful crystal, the large deep, red colored rhodochrosite, attention has come to the Sweet Home area that is just as much as when silver mining was at its height.

The rhodochrosite discovered in the counties of Colorado is associated with silver, gold, lead, zinc, and molybdenum ores.


Colorado has about fifteen mines where the precious gemstone can be found. However, there is ambiguity in the amount that is found in these mines. Sometimes it is small enough in quantity that it does not qualify for commercial purpose.

The Cripple Creek Colorado Turquoise Mine includes several Turquoise claims like The O’Haver claim, Elkhorn claim, the Roanoke Shaft, the Florence Mine and the Hidden Treasure Turquoise Mine. Turquoise here is a by-product of gold mining. Another popular Turquoise mine in Colorado is the Leadville Turquoise Mine. The quantity found here is not much but the quality, matrix pattern, hardness and color is unmatched and much superior compared to other turquoise mines in Colorado.

Turquoise chief also known as Joise May Turquoise mine provide the best quality gemstone. Other turquoise mines in Colorado include the Villa Grove, Sugarloaf District, Lake County and Manassa Colorado Turquoise Mine.


There are several areas in Colorado that claim amethyst finding. Amethyst Queen Mine situated near Nancy Hanks Gulch is a famous spot for amethyst occurrences. It is a private property and one requires permission to explore the place.

In addition, there are reported occurrences of amethyst in Archuleta County, Teller County, San Miguel County, San Juan County, Park County, Pitkin County, Ouray County, and Mineral County. The Rio Grande River area and most of the Rocky Mountains is also known for its Crystal findings.

Amethyst is just one quartz variety that is found in Colorado. Other types such as smoky quartz and rose quartz also occur within the state.


The Calumet Iron Mine in Turret District is popular destination for sapphire sightings. Although it is a famous spot, the type of sapphires found here are of average quality. Different areas in Calumet such as Calumet No.2, Calumet Hecla Smithville, Hecla No. 2 and Calumet Hecla Williamson have claims that produce this gemstone.

Additionally, two other places in Colorado claim to have found the gem, the Tipton Tongue Placers in Timberlake County, Housel Gulch Placer, and the Great Divide area in Moffat County.


There are findings of this valuable stone in the Gem Mine of Topaz Mountain at the edge of Tarryall Mountain in Park County north of Lake George.

Some of the more notable occurrences of topaz findings in the state of Colorado occur in the following areas:

In Jefferson County at the Wigwam Creek area.

In Larimer County at Crystal Mountain.

In Chaffee County at Mount Antero and Ruby Mountain.

In El Paso County at Crystal Park, Sentinel Rock, Specimen Rock, Saint Peter’s Dome, and Stove Mountain.

In Park County at Topaz Mountain Gem Mine, Harris Park, Badger Flats, and Spruce Grove area.


Deposits of spessartite garnet in the gas cavities in rholite flow were located at Ruby Mountain in Chaffe County. There have also been sightings of the gemstone at Fort Collins, Larimer County and the Salida Copper Mine that is now abandoned.


Stoneham is a small community in northeastern Colorado in Weld County. This location is popularly known around the world for the presence of stunning blue barite crystals. The barite here occurs in a bed that is rich in montmorillonite clay that is comes from the alterations of volcanic ash, in the White River Group of Oligocene sedimentary rocks in the Chadron formation.

The crystals found here can be as large as 4-6 inches long. There have also sightings of the gemstone in the red bed of Colorado, 2 miles south west of the town of Hartselle.


Aquamarine is a semi-precious gem with fascinatingly beautiful and adorable appearance. It is loved all over the world by people especially women for its fine shades which matches almost any skin or eye color. Aquamarine reflects an extraordinary beautiful range light blue color and this color is believed to arouse the feeling of trust, sympathy, harmony, and friendship.

It derives its name from Latin ‘aqua’ meaning water and ‘mare’ meaning sea.

The pale blue crystal of the gemstone which is transparent belongs to the beryl family. Aquamarine has various good qualities that distinguish it and it is one of the most popular and best know gemstones. Aquamarine has good hardness and a wonderful shine and this hardness makes it very touch resistant and protects it from scratches to an extent.

There has been aquamarine found at Mount Antero. This mountain is valued for its deposits of gemstone and has the highest concentrations of aquamarine in the country. Several private mining claims are in this area that are digging for aquamarine and other gemstones.


Some beautiful piece of opal has been located by rock hounds from the specimen mountain located in the Larimer County and some other places in Colorado. While not a well-known mineral within the state, there are limited occurrences of opal here.

Petrified Wood

The Florissant Fossil Beds of Colorado, 35 miles west in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, contains deposits of the stones and you can still see the petrified sequoia stump in group still standing firm in their original position, displaying their attractive and brilliant colors.

There have also been sightings in the Uravan Paradox Valley in the Montrose County.


There have been discoveries of amazonite in the Rocket Mine and Crystal Peak area of Teller County. Amazonite is also found near Lake George in Park County.

Located in the Colorado Rockies near the Crystal Peak area is a mining spot that is popular for its teal blue amazonite and smoky Quartz combination of crystals. These gem mines have produced superb mineral specimens over a period of 100 years. There have also been sightings of the gemstone in El Paso County, Colorado.


Historically, this fascinating mineral was extensively used by the Native American Indians as knapping materials. Jasper is found in a wide range of varieties of colors around the state. There have been reported sightings of the gemstone in Park County, Chaffee County and Hinsdale County.

Jasper can be easily overlooked, as it is often dull and blends in with its surroundings. Only until it is polished does the true beauty of this stone come out.