|Beautiful water sapphire, also known as iolite, found in the central Laramie Mountains by the Gem Hunter.|
|The Palmer Canyon Blue Star - 1,720 carat flawless gemstone. This was the largest iolite in the world in 1996. However, a |
few years later, the GemHunter (a.k.a. Dan Hausel) recovered the Grizzly Creek Blue Giant, a gem of more than
24,000 carats, and left specimens in outcrop estimated to weigh potentially a million carats and more.
Some were similar in size to a VW bug!
rd rate gem state. It was the premier gemstone state in the US! No other state could boast of having such a great variety of gemstones - many were discovered by the author over 3 decades and added to the already spectacular jade deposits and diamond deposits in the state. But soon polytickans stuck their nose into these research projects and by 2006 the research ended - even though it is pretty much guaranteed there are dozens of more gemstone deposits in Wyoming. By the time I left the Wyoming Geological Survey in 2007, I had evidence for more diamond, gold, iolite, ruby, sapphire, opal, spinel, garnet, apatite and even emerald deposits in Wyoming. What is a poly-tick-an you ask? Jay Leno set us straight when he indicated it meant 'poly' = 'many' and 'tick' = 'little blood sucker'. But to be honest, I did meet some very good republicans in Wyoming.
The discovery of gem-quality cordierite in Wyoming was thought to be one of the great gemstone discoveries in the United States in many decades. Even though four separate iolite deposits were discovered, beginning with the 1996 discovery, little effort has been made to research, mine, facet and market these attractive gemstones. With good marketing strategy, it should be possible to produce a tanzanite-like frenzy of this rare gemstone primarily mined in Sri Lanka from placer deposits. Because of the lack of iolite mining worldwide, iolite is difficult to find in jewelry stores in North America. Go ahead, visit a local jeweler and ask if they have any iolite jewelry. The answer is often - "no, but we wish we had some because we get many requests". Wyoming appears to have the largest known iolite resources in the world and Wyoming’s geology is favorable for discovery of more!
|Fractured but transparent iolite from Palmer Canyon. This|
stone could easily produce several high-quality gemstones.
Cordierite is an alumino-silicate found in a region with other alumino-silicates such as andalusite, kyanite and sillimanite. These porphyroblasts occur in alumina-rich mica schists known as metapelites. In Wyoming, cordierite has been reported in several areas including Copper Mountain in the Owl Creek Mountains (Hausel and others, 1985), South Pass in the Wind River Mountains (Hausel, 1991a), the Seminoe Mountains (Hausel, 1994b), the Laramie anorthosite complex, and the Elmers Rock greenstone belt in the central Laramie Mountains of southeastern Wyoming (Graff and others, 1982). Only four deposits to date have yielded gemstones, but no exploration has occurred other than by the author.
|This 100+ carat gemstone was one of hundreds found at Palmer Canyon in the central Laramie Mountains by the Gem Hunter.|
|Some of the many gemstones discovered by the Gem Hunter -|
these are Ruby, brown sapphire and water sapphire. The ruby
weighed 1.1 carats.
|Photo taken of the Gem Hunter (me) after I made a discovery of gem-quality |
iolite, ruby, sapphire and kyanite in the Palmer Canyon area of the central
Laramie Mountains. My foot is on kyanite schist.