Tag Archives: ruby


In the late fall of 2014, the author published a new book published by CreateSpace an Amazon company, describes dozens of colored gemstone, diamond, gold and other minerals and rocks. The book lets the reader in on secrets used to find raw gemstones, diamonds and goldin field.

One of several hundred cryptovolcanic structures
identified in the Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming region.
This anomaly turned out to be a kimberlite pipe and
was discovered nearly 25 years ago in Colorado by
diamond mining companies.



Written for geologists, prospectors and rock hounds with some background in mineral and rock identification, the author not only provides information on the physical appearance of raw gemstones, but also describes many diamond, gold, ruby, sapphire, iolite, beryl, and other gemstone deposits giving locations using GPS coordinates and legal descriptions so that the reader can visit the deposits on Google Earth and on topographical maps. The author takes another step in describing areas likely to have undiscovered gemstones based on favorable geology – in other words, a few readers likely will find new gemstone deposits based on the information (some people already have)!
There are many cryptovolcanic structures visible on Google Earth that appear to be similar to kimberlite pipes. This is significant in that kimberlite pipes are known as potential hosts for diamond, garnet, chromian diopside and other gemstones. Nearly all of the cryptovolcanic structures identified by the author, remain unexplored in the field.

In another example, the author describes dozens of silicified fractures in an region covering several square miles that likely have quartz, chalcendony, agate, jasper and even opal. These too remain mostly unexplored.


Wyoming – The Gemstone State.

Gem-quality pyrope garnet faceted from rough collected at Butcherknife
Draw near Green River, Wyoming.
Colored gemstones were almost unheard of in Wyoming prior to 1977 other than some fabulous cobbles and boulders of jade, some petrified wood, a few agates and a couple of tiny diamonds that required a microscope to see. After I was hired as the Senior Economic Geologist at the Wyoming Geological Survey, I began first to search for diamond deposits, then gold, and along the way, I got interested in gemstones, their geological settings and necessary conditions for formation (chemistry, pressures and temperatures) (Hausel and Sutherland, 2006). It soon became clear that several variety of gemstones should be found in Wyoming but few were ever reported. 

So I went looking and was amazed at all of the gems, diamonds and gold that had been overlooked in the Cowboy State: I kid you not – some sitting right along the highway! And I can guarantee there is a lot more, but it seems like nothing is being done since I left Wyoming in 2007 even though I had found evidence for hundreds of more diamond deposits, gold deposits, a few palladium deposits, several ruby deposits, more iolite deposits and possibilities for emeralds and other beryl deposits (aquamarine and helidor) just to name a few.

A beautiful lady with transparent
jade in necklace.
Over the years, I mapped more than 1,000 km2 of complex Precambrian geology along with mapping some younger volcanic terrains: it became clear that Wyoming should have a wide variety of gemstones – but there were few reports of gems being found in the State and little evidence that anyone had been or was looking. After I formulated some ideas on what to look for I soon started making discovery after discovery. Along with my discoveries, some rock hounds were also making interesting discoveries. If only I could have been allowed to continue searching, I would have made many more discoveries.
I found dozens of gemstone deposits and possibly the largest colored gemstone deposit on earth. I recovered the largest iolite gemstones on earth (one weighing >24,000 carats) and left some in the outcrop that would dwarf these giant gemstones. A few I estimated would weight >100,000 to 1,000,000 carats and would require jackhammers and a dump truck to get them out! Yet these and other giant gemstones remain where they are all because of one corrupt state geologist and his governor buddy.

I also found evidence for additional ruby and sapphire deposits in the central Laramie Range, Granite Mountains, Owl Creek Mountains and southern Wind River Mountains after finding seven previously unknown ruby deposits. And I began chasing more opal deposits where ever the countryside had been blanketed by Tertiary to Recent ash falls from past eruptions from the Yellowstone caldera (I had already found one of the largest opals on earth that weighed more than 77,000 carats with larger stones left in the field and also found a large deposit of fire opal). I was searching for other gems including possibilities of emeralds in the Sierra Madre and Overthrust belt, investigating enormous amounts of sky blue kyanite, looking for more iolites, rubies, sapphires and aquamarines, and I had verified Colorado, Montana and Wyoming was underlain by a major diamond province.

Gem kyanite from Laramie
It was clear, due to the unusual geology of Wyoming being a craton that was underlain by (1) very old Archean rocks (rocks greater than 2.5 billion years in age) that were subjected to very high pressures and temperatures resulting in their recrystallization and (2) some younger Proterozoic (2.5 billion to 600 million years in age) schists
and granites that had a wide variety of mineralogy and chemistry that were also subjected to high pressures and temperatures, (3) younger Phanerozoic (less than 600 million years old) sedimentary rocks, (4) Tertiary and Quaternary volcanic rocks and ash falls and (5) rare kimberlites, lamproites and lamprophyres (subjected to extreme pressures), that Wyoming had many potential favorable host rocks for a large variety of gemstones – but no one had bothered to look.
I began to search for different gemstones keeping in mind the geological environments and the rock chemistry. I started to make lists of what I might find and kept extensive files on various gemstones and their geological environments worldwide. While I was mapping, I was also searching for gold, base metals, strategic metals, gemstones and decorative rocks. Soon I was finding many gemstones on my list. Here is the list of what I started searching for and finding in many cases:

Giant jade boulder from Jeffrey City, Wyoming.
Agate, aquamarine, almandine, andalusite, andradite, amethyst, apatite, azurite, ammolite, apache tears, amber, ametrine, barite, bloodstone, blue chalcedony, bronzite, burgundy diamond, canary diamond, carnelian, chalcopyrite, champagne diamond, cherry opal, chocolate diamond, chromian diopside, chromian enstatite, chrysoberyl, chrysocola, chrysoprase, citrine, common opal, clinozoisite, cuprite, dendritic gold, nugget gold, platinum, palladium, drusy quartz, emerald, epidote, fire (mexican) opal, fluorite, fuchsite, garnet, gold, golden beryl, golden sapphire, goshenite, green aventurine, green tourmaline, heliodor, hiddenite, idocrase, iolite, jade, jade pseudomorphs, jasper, jasperoid, jasper breccia, kunzite, kyanite, labradorite, lemon serpentine, lepidolite, malachite, maxixe, black opal, moonstone, morganite, moss agate, onyx, oriental sapphire, peridot, pink diamond, pink sapphire, precious opal, prehnite, pyrite, pyrope, quartz, rock crystal, rose diamond, rose quartz, rubellite (pink tourmaline), ruby, rutilated quartz, rutile, schorl, specular hematite, scapolite, sillimanite, silver,  smoky quartz, sodalite, spessartine, sphene, sphalerite, spodumene, star sapphire, tanzanite, tourmaline, tigerseye, varisite, white sapphire, zoisite and zircon.
A 12-carat, nearly flawless, rough pink sapphire recovered from the Palmer
Canyon deposit by Vic Norris.
The more I searched, the more I found. I also spent time educating rock hounds, prospectors, companies, geologists and mineral collectors in Wyoming and nearby states by providing lectures, short courses and field trips on how, where and what to prospect for. I also wrote many articles and books on prospecting: it was working. Soon I was not the only person looking for gemstones and others began searching and finding gems in the Cowboy State. Over 3 decades, I found nearly 75% of the gemstones on my list and I suspect if I would have been able to continue my research, I would have found many more deposits and possibly as many as 85 to 90% of the gems.
Flawless pyrope garnet I collected at Butcherknife
Draw, Wyoming and sent to Sri Lanka for faceting.
I was in demand to give talks all over the country and many people were showing up to my lectures carrying all kinds of minerals and rocks previously unreported in Wyoming including things like gem-quality labradorite found in road bed material from Albany County 11 and 12 where I had recently found a breccia pipe with limestone xenoliths adjacent to a significant kimberlitic mineral indicator anomaly that we had identified prior to 1988. Others found diamonds in anthills in the Green River Basin and a few showed up with beautiful specimens of gold nuggets (one person had more than a hundred high-quality nuggets from South Pass and another showed me ball jars full of gold nuggets and dust from the same region), jasper and agate.
I had found many previously unreported kimberlites and kimberlitic indicator mineral anomalies in the Iron Mountain district near Chugwater and this attracted prospectors to dig for diamonds. I visited the Great Diamond Hoax site in northwestern Colorado where I recovered diamonds, rubies, and pyrope garnets salted by scam artists in 1872. But then I was told by Dr. Tom McCandless that Diamond Peak actually had conglomerate containing gem-quality pyrope garnet and chromian diopside (both diamond indicator minerals). What was the chance of this happening? 
Diamond companies started to show up in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming. And the Kelsey Lake diamond mine opened on the border south of Laramie – but soon closed due to legal problems. Other companies picked up other properties in the same area and found enough diamonds for commercial production. Between 2004 to 2006, the Wyoming Geological Survey was decimated by a sociopath who is still on the loose. For ethical and a reasons, I decided to take early retirement and run US exploration for DiamonEx Ltd, an Australian Mining Company with interests in Botswana. And I had a wonderful time until the market crash of 2008, which put several small mining companies out of business.
Gem kyanite cut into cabochons from Palmer Canyon, Wyoming.
There are literally hundreds of billions of carats of this gemstone
in eastern Wyoming at Palmer Canyon, Cooney Hills, Grizzly
Creek and likely in other areas of the state (Hausel, 2009). These and other
aluminum-rich minerals are often found in what geologists call metapelite
(mica-rich schists) that was subjected to moderately high pressures and
temperatures. Using this information, I found dozens of these deposits around
Wyoming. The colors and fractures in these gems actually enhance their
appearance. I am very surprised that someone has not tried to market these
as they are relatively easy to cut. They are a low value gem, but when there
are billions of carats – who cares.
While at the Wyoming Geological Survey on the University of Wyoming campus, I had received regional and national awards for communication skills including the American Association of Petroleum Geologists President’s Certificate and the Wyoming Geological Association’s Distinguish Service Award for my research on Wyoming’s geology and for the dozens of talks I had presented at that society. I had also been twice nominated for the Dibble Mapping Award by two former directors of the Wyoming Geological Survey – Gary Glass and Dr. D.L. Blackstone, Jr. The Laramie Lyceum had presented me Distinguished Speaker of 1994 and the University of Wyoming Department of Geology & Geophysics included me as Distinguished Lecturer and these were just some of the national and international recognition I had received over the years for being a great communicator. When I was in college at the University of Utah, I had been employed as an astronomy lecturer at the Hansen Planetarium because of communication skills. But what the heck, what did all of these people know including Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Science, Who’s Who in the World, 2000 Notable American Men, etc.
I was considered to be one of the few specialists in Archean gold deposits, diamond deposits, colored gemstone deposits, greenstone belts and more. I was told by the chairman of the Geology Department at UW, that it was only because of my work and research that geologists had a good grasp of the Precambrian Geology. I had been awarded and inducted into two different Halls-of-Fame (nominated for a third) for my geological research, education efforts and communication skills, something that I suspect no other geologist in Wyoming (and possibly the US) could claim.
Giant ruby found in the Granite Mountains. This was at one time the largest ruby ever
found on earth – but unfortunately, much of the ruby (purple red) was replaced by zoisite
and fuchsite (green matrix). However, it suggests that exploration of this deposit will
potentially result in discovery of some of the largest rubies on earth.
I had found one of the largest gold deposits in North America, found a whole new gold district with commercial gold mineralization, studied hydrothermal alteration characteristics associated with a large disseminated gold and copper deposit, identified more than a hundred gold anomalies, dozens of gemstone deposits, a couple of massive sulfide deposits, one of the few nickel anomalies ever to be found in Wyoming with some palladium and platinum and more (for which I gained nothing other than recognition and my personal education). I mapped nearly every mining district in Wyoming along with the two largest kimberlite fields in the US and the largest lamproite field in North America, and I was in demand as a consultant for mining companies when I took annual leave from the Survey.
It was time to move on, so I went to work as VP of US Exploration for DiamonEx Ltd, where I found some diamond bearing kimberlites, identified several hundred possible kimberlites for the company to explore and drill.  After DiamonEx, Ltd, I worked as a consultant for other mining companies including Black Range Resources, Giant King Gold, Strathmore Resources, Wyoming Gold, Saratoga Gold and others. Personally, I love geology and I love hunting for new mineral deposits.
Transparent blue barite from Shirley Basin, Wyoming.
Cape Emerald from State Line district, Wyoming
Banded Jasper from Tin Cup district, Wyoming
1.1 carat faceted ruby from Palmer
Canyon, Wyoming
Enormous ruby faceted from rough collected in the Laramie
Range, Wyoming
Cabochon of specularite with copper from Charter Oak mine,
Gem labradorite from Sybille Canyon,

Malachite with specular hematite from the Hartville area, Wyoming


Geology of Gemstone Deposits

Large chlorite pseudomorph after garnet found in the Sierra Madre Mountains, Wyoming. The chlorite slowly replaced
the garnet and accepted the garnet’s crystal form. 
Much of Wyoming is underlain by Archean cratonic basement rocks and cratonized Proterozoic rocks that provide favorable geological environments for a variety of gemstones – notably diamond, iolite, ruby, sapphire, garnet, kyanite, andalusite, sillimanite, labradorite, jewelry grade gold, platinum and palladium nuggets, emerald, aquamarine, helidor, tourmaline, spinel, clinozoisite, zoisite, apatite, jasper, specularite, etc. Thick Phanerozoic sedimentary rock successions with lesser Tertiary volcanic rock cover large portions of the basement terrain. Some of these Phanerozoic rocks provide favorable hosts for other gemstones including opal, placer diamond, placer gold, placer platinum, placer ruby, jasper, agate, emerald, varisite, etc.
Using traditional exploration and prospecting methods, dozens of gem and precious metal deposits were discovered over the past 3 decades, including major discoveries and geological and mineralogical evidence for significant undiscovered deposits. Major swarms of mantle-derived kimberlite, lamproite and lamprophyre, many of which have proven to be diamondiferous, also host colored gemstones including pyrope garnet (Cape Ruby), spessartine garnet, almandine garnet, chromian diopside (Cape Emerald) and chromian enstatite. One lamproite also yielded peridot.
Favorable conditions for crystallization of metamorphogenic gemstones during regional amphibolite-grade metamorphism occurred during the Precambrian. In this terrain, metapelite in the central Laramie Range hosts kyanite, sillimanite and andalusite. These three minerals provide evidence of favorable pressures and temperatures needed for crystallization of aluminous gemstones including ruby, sapphire and kyanite. Cordierite (iolite) another aluminum-rich gemstone, formed during a later thermal event. This later event was responsible for deposition of world-class iolite (Water Sapphire) gemstone deposits.

While searching for gold, I came along
this giant jasper deposit.
Evidence for undiscovered gemstone deposits is predicted based on mineralogical anomalies detected during various research projects from 1977 until 2005. These include ruby, sapphire, gold and aquamarine found in stream sediment samples as well as favorable geological terrains that remain unexplored. Other anomalies include pyrope garnet (several with G10 geochemistry), picroilmenite, and some chromian diopside that provide evidence for hundreds of undiscovered diamond deposits. Elsewhere, detrital diamonds reported by various prospectors provide direct evidence for undiscovered diamond deposits. Other geological and mineralogical evidence suggest the presence of additional undiscovered opal, cordierite (iolite) and kyanite deposits. Wyoming could potentially become a major source for gemstones including diamond, gold, platinum, palladium, Cape ruby, Cape emerald, iolite and opal.

Giant chrome diopside gem in kimberlite from Colorado.


Diamonds were discovered in Wyoming & Colorado in 1975 by Mac McCallum, Chuck Mabarak & the USGS. This lead to some exploration for diamonds. Associated with diamonds are a host of extremely rare mantle nodules & gemstones known as Cape Ruby (pyrope garnet), Cape Emerald (chromian diopside & enstatite) that are always overlooked by mining companies. Yet these are very attractive, value-added gemstones. With some marketing skills, could potentially capture large parts of the colored gemstone market. For example, many Cape Emeralds are much more saturated & beautiful than emerald.
These gems were found by many prospectors and geologists all over Wyoming & northern Colorado. Large areas in the Green River & Bighorn Basin contain these diamond indicator minerals, yet little exploration has ever occurred for these or their source rocks.
Photos – Diamond indicator minerals from Sloan kimberlite, Colorado, & faceted pyropes from Green River Basin, Wyoming & Kyanite Eclogite from the Aultman 2 kimberlite, Wyoming.



Ruby & Sapphire are beautiful stones. In 1995, I discovered my first ruby-sapphire-corundum deposit mixed with iolite & kyanite at Palmer Canyon west of Wheatland. After I recognized this association of gems with a rock type known as vermiculite, I started searching other vermiculites. It turns out that vermiculite is a alteration product known as glimmerite formed by retaining aluminum in the original rock & removing all silica (under pressure). Thus, one ends up with a rock that is essentially nothing but aluminum-rich mica. Ruby and sapphire are aluminum oxides are require high pressures and temperatures to form (as well as a good source of silicate poor aluminum). (photos above show one of the largest rubies found on earth at the Red Dwarf deposit. Sample is partially replaced by green zoisite; and a pink sapphire with excellent cleavage from vermiculite. Middle photo is a 1.1 carat ruby cut from material at Palmer Canyon and lower photo is a ruby from the Red Dwarf).

Earlier work in the Elmers Rock greenstone belt had shown rocks in the central Laramie Mountains formed at great pressures & temperatures that were high enough one might expect to find ruby & sapphire. So I was not surprised when I found these gems. Luckily, two geologists had put together a report on vermiculite in the 1940s, so I took their publication & began searching all vermiculite deposits for ruby – about 30% contained ruby! In addition to these, other rubies were found in the southern Wind River Mountains & the source remains to be found, even though some rubies found by prospectors weighted as much as 80 carats. At another deposit in the Granite Mountains, I mapped 3000 ft of ruby schist at what is known as the Red Dwarf deposit & recovered some of the largest rubies ever found.


Major Diamond and Colored Gemstone Deposits Found in US

See also http://DiamondProspector.webs.com
State Line Kimberlite Province showing locations of (1) Radichal kimberlite &
Mineral Indicator Anomalies, (2) the Iron Mountain kimberlite district, (3) Schaffer,
Aultman, Ferris kimberlites, (4) Keslsey Lake Kimberlites (5) Nix kimberlites, (6)
Sloan kimberlites, (7) Estes park kimberlites, (8) Boulder Kimberlite, (9) Boden
diamond placer. In between these are several hundred cryptovolcanic structures
with similarities to kimberlite pipes as well as more than 300 kimberlitic mineral

False-color aerial photo shows a few of the several hundred
cryptovolcanic structures that have been found in Colorado
and Wyoming. These structures are lake filled, structurally
controlled depressions with carbonate-rich soils
on shore lines. Are these just lakes? Or
are they diamondiferous kimberlites? Note the roads near
these structures to get an idea of scale.

Research suggests that the Wyoming Craton encloses a world-class diamond province as well as major deposits of colored gemstones. The Wyoming Craton includes portions of Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Montana , Wyoming, Alberta & Saskatchewan, & encloses the two largest known kimberlite districts in the US & the largest lamproite & lamprophyre fields in North America. Diamonds have been reported in kimberlites and lamprophyres in this craton in Canada, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas.

Winkler Crater in Kansas with two trenches dug to sample the material.
Originally classified as an impact crater until it was verified by Doug
Brookins to be kimberlite. Tested by Cominco American in the 1980s
the pipe may have yielded one microdiamond, but there is concern that
the diamond may have been contaminate from the State Line district.

Hundreds of kimberlites, lamproites and lamprophyres were identified over the past few decades. In addition the many known diamondiferous kimberlites & lamprophyres, in recent years, four significant iolite (water sapphire) deposits were found as well as deposits of ruby, sapphire, opal, kyanite gems, jade, chromian diopside (Cape Emerald), pyrope garnet (Cape Ruby), almandine garnet, spessartine garnet, peridot, gem-quality apatite, jasper, agate, onyx and other gems – all found since about 1975. Two of the iolite deposits are world class. This region has turned into an exploration geologists’ and rockhounds’ paradise.

Consulting geologist W. Dan Hausel identified hundreds of cryptovolcanic structures within this province over the past several years. Many are quite large and some are situated within known diamond districts and in large areas that remain unexplored. In addition to the the known kimberlite, lamproite and lamprophyre districts, more than a dozen new districts containing many cryptovolcanic structures were discovered. As incredible as it seems, a few lie adjacent to interstates and highways and have been missed by millions of travelers every year.

Cryptovolcanic structure (kimberlite) in Colorado showing open park associated with depression.

During the past 30 years, the two largest diamondiferous kimberlite districts in the US and the largest field of lamproites in North America were mapped in the Colorado-Wyoming region. Several hundred kimberlitic indicator mineral anomalies were also scattered all over Wyoming, parts of Colorado, Utah, Montana, Kansas and Alberta. Other researchers found similar anomalies.

The several hundred cryptovolcanic structures have characteristics that suggest most are kimberlite pipes. They are circular to elliptical in shape, structurally controlled, many are distinct depressions with distinct vegetation anomalies similar to kimberlites mapped in the past. Some of the depressions are so distinct that they have actually been mistaken as impact sites, such as the Winkler crater in Kansas, that was originally thought to be an impact site, and later discovered to be kimberlite, and a few depressions that were identified in the central Laramie Range and Medicine Bow Mountains. Field examination of many depressions show visible blue ground and carbonate-rich soil, with rounded boulders and cobbles –characteristics that are generally associated with kimberlite. In addition, samples from some sites yield the traditional kimberlitic indicator minerals.

Historically kimberlite pipes were described in 19th century South Africa as having ‘blue ground’, considerable calcium carbonate, and were thought to be old dry stream placers because they contained rounded cobbles and boulders (similar to the cryptovolcanic structures found in the Wyoming craton). The rounded boulders were instead due to country rock fragments that had been rounded and polished in the kimberlite magma as it erupted a few hundred million years ago.

Diamonds from Arkansas – photo
from Glenn Worthington

A few of these structures may represent some of the larger pipes in the world. The best explanation for most of these depressions is that they represent soft, circular deposits of rock that is dramatically different from the more resistant and harder basement granite and gneiss country rock they intrude. Kimberlite typically erupts in circular maar-like volcanoes and is a relatively soft rock. This is why so many kimberlites discovered in Canada as well as in the Wyoming craton form distinct open, treeless parks, with several being submerged under shallow ponds and lakes.

Such structures have been found in the Laramie, Medicine Bow, Front and Seminoe Mountains, the Green River Basin, Bighorn Basin, eastern Kansas, and Alberta. Several hundred were found as far south as Denver Colorado, to as far north as central Alberta, and as far west as Little America to as far east as eastern Kansas. In the vicinity of the Colorado-Wyoming border, Hausel mapped the State Line district with more than 40 diamondiferous kimberlites. Some of these form distinct circular depressions and have already be verified as diamond pipes.

Rough diamond with trigons

Unfortunately, only a few of the anomalies and the known kimberlites, lamproites and lamprophyres have been tested for diamond. But nearly all that have been tested yielded some diamonds. The State Line district alone produced more than 130,000 diamonds during testing in past years. No one really knows what awaits discovery here as past diamond testing was inefficient.

For example, the four diamond mills constructed to test various diamond deposits in the State Line district had many significant flaws & evidence supports that they only recovered a small portion of the diamonds. Even so, gem diamonds >28 carats were recovered along with a octahedral diamond fragment from a larger diamond estimated at 80 to 90 carats. But much larger diamonds were very likely missed by the mills, and these deposits likely contain hundreds of thousands of carats! In Wyoming, kimberlites yielded 50% high-quality gem diamonds. In Colorado, about 30% with gem-quality.

Little effort to outline this resource has been done by the respective state geological surveys in recent years. Research expenditures on diamonds in Wyoming, Colorado, Montana & Kansas has been nearly non-existent compared to the tens of millions of dollars spent for Canadian research along with the hundreds of millions in exploration by companies. Canada now has some commercial diamond mines developed since 1998 an others in the planning stages. In fact, state and federal agencies in the US, which should be conducting research, have only hindered research.

Past work has shown that nearly 50% of the diamonds in this craton have been very high quality gemstones. But at the pace that various government agencies are investing to outline this resource (currently non-existent) is shameful and little will happen until a major diamond is accidentally found by a prospector or rock hound.

Diamonds from the State Line of Colorado & Wyoming

In Canada, it typically takes $1.5 million per discovery (whether diamondiferous or barren). The Wyoming Geological Survey invested about $20K in research over the past 30 years! – “It is no wonder why nothing is happening, yet a new multi-$billion dollar industry potentially awaits discovery”.
And the author believes he has found enough kimberlites, anomalies and colored gemstone deposits in this region that could have enough value to pay for a significant portion of the national debt (prior to Obama). In addition to significant diamond resources, two world-class colored gemstone deposits were discovered along with other major and significant gem deposits. The area not only provides some of the better samples of kimberlite, but has also been the most productive in the US as far as the number of diamonds recovered.
Hundreds of kimberlite pipes occur in a large group of 12 districts within a major diamond province in Colorado and Wyoming. Some of the recently discovered districts enclosed as many as 50 known cryptovolcanic structures (along with potentially dozens of hidden kimberlites).

Aerial photos showing (left) – one of more than a dozen distinct cryptovolcanic structures (depression filled with rounded boulders & cobbles containing calcium-carbonate-rich soils within a granitic terrain) in the Happy Jack area west of Cheyenne.

And (right) aerial photo of one of the largest cryptovolcanic structures in North America at the Twin Lakes field south of Interstate 80 west of Cheyenne. This field of >50 such structures (kimberlites?) are outline by distinct vegetation anomalies, depressions in silicate-rich Proterozoic age granites & gneisses in cratonized belts, have considerable calcium-carbonate salts (white bull’s eyes), rounded boulders, are structurally controlled and located between the State Line and Iron Mountain diamondiferous kimberlite districts.

The author discovered these in the State Line district, the Red Feather Lakes district, the Boulder district, the Happy Jack district, Horse Creek district, Iron Mountain district, Middle Sybille Creek district, Indian Guide district, Harrison district, Twin Mountain district, Eagle Rock district, King Rock district, Strong Creek district, Grant Creek anomaly, Lone Pine field, Lost Lake field, Creedmore Lake field, Chicken Park field, BG field, Lake Owen district, and the Douglas Creek district. Very few of these are tested but provide evidence for one of the largest kimberlite provinces in the world. IN the past, the author mapped the two largest diamondiferous kimberlite districts in the US (Iron Mountain and State Line) in this region.

One of the largest lamproite fields in the world (Leucite Hills) and one of the largest lamprophyre fields in North America (Missouri Breaks) occurs in this region, and few of these have been tested even though a group of lamprophyres near Cedar Mountain Wyoming contain diamonds and several lamprophyres have produced diamond-stability minerals, and evidence suggests that one of the largest lamprophyre fields in the world is located in southwestern Wyoming near the Leucite Hills lamproite field.

Placer diamonds are likely to be found all over the region, but little exploration has occurred. In the state line district, the kimberlites are deeply eroded providing geological evidence for a very large placer diamond population to occur in the adjacent draininges. To date, only a few samples have been taken in these drainages, yet placer diamonds as large as 6.2 carats were recovered in the past.


One deposit discovered more than 10 years ago yielded the largest iolite gemstone in the world at the time of the discovery – a >1700 carat iolite. Recently, a world-class iolite deposit was discovered where a >24,000 carat iolite gemstone was collected, but masses of gem were identified in outcrop that are estimated to weigh >a million carats. At another deposit, high-quality iolites were verified, where past exploration accidentally identified a deposit that could be the largest ever found – it is suggested that this latter deposit could host more than a trillion carats of iolite (iolite sells for $15 to $150/carat).

Many other gemstone deposits are suspected in this region. For example, nearly a dozen ruby deposits were found by searching favorable geological regions and recovering rubies in stream sediment samples while searching for diamond deposits. Need more information on diamonds, other gemstones and how to find them? We are putting together a newsletter to send out to interested prospectors and geologists – write to us at: diamondprospector@live.com.
Photo of outcrop of iolite in central Laramie Mountains.

And, I’ve always wanted to see if I could cleave a large diamond with my hand. So, do you have a giant diamond you would like to donate to this research project? Diamond verses Karate.

Diamond Books by the author