Great article on Devils Head Topaz

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I found this several years ago and just came across it again recently. ┬áThis is an old article on the Mineralogical Society of America’s web site about a Topaz dig at Devils Head. ┬áThis is from American Mineralogist journal from 1945.

It talks about dig(s) during the summer of 1934 of Edwin Over and Arthur Montgomery. The article is technical and shows detailed drawings and crystallography of the Topaz they found at this locale.

All of the journal is posted online here and free through 1999.

A few takeaways…

  • it is noteworthy that the pockets especially rich in iron are poor in topaz (pg 355)
  • Within the pockets the microcline masses reach 6 or 8 inches in greatest dimension; well-formed crystals are relatively rare and they do not exceed a size of two inches
  • Quartz occurs in smoky crystals, in most cases slender and distorted

I have yet to find Topaz at Devils Head, but most of the larger smoky quartz I find is as they describe.


  1. Hello!
    I’m trying so hard to identfy a large specimen??
    It looks a lot like clear green glass
    But we are in St. Louis county-
    If you can or have the time can u send me an email where I could send you a couple photos?
    Thank you so much

  2. Hi,

    I go to Colorado every summer and I was looking for some advice on a few things from someone with experience. I plan on making my first trip to North Table Mountain this summer, but I won’t have much time in Denver. Is the fastest way to get to the eastern quarry, to park in the parking area then walk down along the road then up or is it too steep? From some posts I hear people having to go to the top, walk across then down to get to the open area of material.

    My second question is, are there any open public areas in Devils Head or Lake George, I am not up there long enough to have a claim, and I am extremely paranoid about getting onto someone else’s claim, so I figured I would ask.

    Stay safe and have fun!

    1. Hi Kyle.

      I’ve been to North Table Mountain’s quarry a couple of times. Here is a blog posting of my experience going as guests of the Flatirons Mineral Club from Boulder. How to get there? I’ll update my post with information as I can’t post pictures in this reply. Also note I believe that you need permission to collect from Jefferson County Open Space, you should double check first!

      Lake George area is HEAVILY claimed. I was told by a friend in a rock club of some “open areas” near Lake George and I scouted around not finding any corner posts only to find someone else that told me I was on his claim…he had corner posts (metal, not the traditional 4×4) I just didn’t find them until after he showed me, so make sure and do a lot of walking before starting any digging! In this case, the posts were far from obvious! For Lake George, I hope to make it to the BLM office soon to get the scoop on claims since there is very little “public” land left.

      Devil’s Head, however is much less claimed. I’ve explored this area extensively and I have found posts in two areas, and a sign at the quarry saying it was an active claim. The first was clearly planted in the middle of a trash heap (with stolen property) which was really discouraging, but you couldn’t miss it because the trash got your attention; this was near the switch-back north of Topaz Point Picnic Area! The other set of posts were laying on the ground in a pile near a tree a little bit west of the Topaz Point Picnic Area, they appeared to had been there for several years; so I don’t know what that meant (other than someone carried them there which seems like a lot of wasted effort)…they were well off the beaten path, unused and piled on the ground (I think 3 of them??) next to a tree; so not properly placed. Whenever I head out to new areas I walk extensively looking for posts, especially in areas where I see diggings. I’d say your best bet is several miles South of the Campground / Fire Tower turn-off near Topaz Point Picnic Area on Rampart Range Road. Virgin’s Bath is the “popular” area which is off of the 677 Log Jumper trail and there is plenty of parking here…just south of the Topaz Point Picnic Area. Anywhere in this area I have found to be good!

      Let me know when you will be out in Colorado, perhaps I’ll be able to head up there too.


    1. Hi Austin. Yes, there are numerous claims along RRR and Log Jumper in the Virgin’s Bath area and have been for several years. Things may change over time, we’ll see. Happy prospecting! FYI, if you want to map that area out; you can do so in the comfort of your own home. I have a blog post on mapping Devil’s Head using Douglas County’s online site.

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