Rare Gems and Minerals in New Mexico

New Mexico is a very popular state to search for a variety of rocks, minerals and gemstones. There are an abundance of different types that can be dug here, some of which are quite valuable.

Below are a few of the most highly desired minerals that you can find in the state of New Mexico.

Turquoise



Out of New Mexico’s 33 counties, turquoise is said to be found in the mines of seven of them; Santa Fe, Dona Ana, Socorro, Grant, Lincoln, Hidalgo and Otero Counties.

The Enchantment Mines discovered in 1996 in Otero County are situated in the Sacramento Mountains close to a town named Ruidoso. The turquoise from these mines are rare and of high quality.

Opal



Even though found in extremely low quantities, common opal has been found in the Rockhound State Park of New Mexico which is about 7 miles from the town of Deming. There are also an abundance of agates and quartz crystals that can be found here.

Amethyst



Amethyst has been found in the Brushy Mountain Range which is located close to the town of Mule Creek in Grant County, New Mexico. The amethyst can be seen in the basaltic and rhyolite rocks of the dark thunder formations present at this site. The hues of crystals range from pale violet to pinkish violet and darker shades of purple.



Jasper



Jasper has been found in Valencia County near Belen, New Mexico. The place is located on the road leading to the Rio Puerco canyon area. Brightly colored jasper and agate can be found on both sides of the road for almost 5 miles.

Jasper is also available in Gila, a small community in Grant County of New Mexico. The area has large areas of volcanic masses rich in silica. The Gila National Forest has especially earmarked certain areas for the public for collection of samples. These are the Round Mountain Rockhound Area and Black Hills Rockhound Area.

A few other places where jasper has been found in New Mexico are near Los Lunas in Valencia County, Albuquerque, Thoreau in McKinley County, and Crownpoint in McKinley County.

Red Beryl



Red beryl is found in New Mexico in its Black Range. The Black Range is a mountain range made of igneous rock formations which run from the north to the south along the border of the two counties of Sierra and Grant.

One of the sites in the Black Range where red beryl is found is the Paramount Canyon which lies in Sierra County. The other location in the Black Range for the red beryl deposit is the Round Mountain located in the Taylor Creek Tin District of the Sierra County. The crystals found here are comparatively smaller and lighter colored than the ones in Utah.

The red beryl bearing site in the Black Range is being worked by the Virgin Mining Company of New Mexico.

Peridot



Peridot in New Mexico can be found in a large deposit in the Potrillo volcanic field area of Dona Ana County. The volcanic field is at a distance of about 35 kilometers from the city of Las Cruces. This field has a volcanic mar cavity known as Kilbourne Hole which is the main source of the peridot. The rim of this cavity consists of a thick basalt layer and is capped with grayish breccia along with a rich deposit of granular peridot. The peridot found here are of very good gemstone quality, green in color and are very bright and clear.

Peridot is also found in the four corners region in the Navajo volcanic field that lies in New Mexico. The breccia pipes in the area consist of the stone as dispersed nodules.

Azurite



A number of mines in the state have been found with the mineral azurite.

Azurite has been located in Rose Mine in Grant County. The other mines in Grant County which have azurite are Hanover Mine and Emma Mine in Fierro District.

Azurite has also been reported in the Magdelena District of Socorro County from the Graphic Mines and the Juanito Mines.

The mineral has also been collected from the Lost Lake Claim of the Nacimiento Mine of Sandoval County of New Mexico.

Fossils



The Kirtland Shale and the Fruitland Formation located in the San Juan Basin towards the northwest of New Mexico are known sites for petrified wood. There are many other locations in the Colorado Plateau of New Mexico where petrified wood has been found. Some of these in Escalante are Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, Horse canyon and Wolverine Canyon on the way to little Death Hallow, area around Grosvenor Arch, The Paria River corridor. Other locations in New Mexico to find petrified wood are Ash-Shi-Sle-Pah, Bisti and De-N-Zin in the San Juan Basin.

Other than petrified wood, New Mexico also has fossils of dinosaur bones from the Jurassic age.





Wulfenite



The Stevenson-Bennet Mine situated in the Organ Mountains of Organ District in Dona Ana County of New Mexico is the only known site where wulfenite crystals have been found in the state. Very small, thin to thicker size crystals in different colors such as yellow, brownish yellow and brownish orange have been found at the site.

Vanadinite



Very few places in New Mexico have been located with vanadinite. Some of these are the Lake Valley District in Sierra County and the Commercial Mine situated in the Georgetown District of Grant County.