Had the opportunity to go on another open dig this year at the Topaz Mountain Gem Mine operated by Glacier Peak Mining. As many know we’ve had some serious drought this year and has aided to many forest fires. We have gotten some relief with an early monsoonal flow pattern with the weather and have had several days of heavy rain; one day which was at this mine. I got there at 8:30 and a few people were already there. We all were just walking (crawling) around and looking for topaz that were laying on the top of the soil that had been washed off; in the early morning sun they were pretty easy to spot. I found several small fragments and others found some killer stones just laying on the surface; but after about 30 minutes of combing the area I decided to start digging…because that is what I do.
I had to move off a muddy layer (about 4-6 inches) on a pile to get to dry gravel to be able to start raking. The first 90 minutes or so was simply to get “set up”. I did not find anything raking so I tried my hand at sifting. I was going through a lot of material but still nothing! So I decided to start working like I do when I dig for Smoky Quartz and Amazonite and use a shovel and scrape small amounts off into a hole and watch the dirt as it falls. I immediately started having luck with this technique and found a nice stone. So I did this in combination with raking and sifting the rest of the day and found a good stone about every 45 to 60 minutes. I had a great day; this is uncommon to find so many nice stones but I was moving through a lot of dirt too–which I found is the key.
I found the following topaz next; it was a shiny object in the wall of the hole I was digging. This one was cool because it appeared it had grown around a Smoky Quartz crystal originally. It had several fractures and would not be a cutter; but it is beautiful none-the-less. Of course, holding it is memorizing and the picture doesn’t do it justice!
I continued and found a couple of more stones; one that *may* be a cutter. It started to sprinkle and you could hear the mean thunder echo through the valley of storms that were forming and passing directly to our Northwest; I assumed we’d have rain and the day would be cut short so I didn’t want to stall and take lunch so I kept digging. About 3:00 or so I dug into a another nice clear topaz that had mostly faceted sides. It is simply beautiful and although it could be a nice cut stone I’m going to have a hard time giving it up for cutting as it is just too spectacular as Gaia produced it!
The sun went away behind the storm clouds and it started to get darker as the storm clouds bellowed and became more dense. I kept thinking “just one more” and I’ll be done; you know how that usually goes! I decided since a few folks were still there I’d continue as long as I could. A bolt of lightning struck withing 1/2 mile and I decided it was time to go; but immediately after I was shook by the bolt a found the find of the day. What a perfect ending to such a fun and lucky day! It was a 105 carat sherry stone. This stone also had remnants of being grown against other crystals and it had a nice area that was fracture free and likely could be cut. Upon checkout, Krystle didn’t want to give this stone up but luckily I took some extra cash and she was gracious enough to let me have it! I definitely will get this cut and will post a picture when I receive it…it *will* be beautiful!
One other great part of the day is that I was able to find many smoky quartz crystals too; a couple were large points and one really nice crystal! All in all, was one incredible day at the mine; I met a couple of really great folks and hopefully will get the chance to dig there again this year! Krystle was correct; I did have a productive day (and year so far for that matter!); hopefully future visits will yield one or two of these and I’ll call it a successful day!
This pile includes stones from the bag of topaz I purchased as well; the kids got to sift through the bag when I got home!