smoky、quartz and Amazonite – a great collecting story (4)
Author: Joseph L. DORRIS Date: 2014-9-30 19:36:32
Each night, we religiously packedany exposed pocket and buried it. Eachmorning, we unburied the pocket and continued our work. My friend ChuckBorland arrived from Montana andoffered another set of welcome hands.
Chuck customarily does most of thephotography and washes some of thepieces for checking fits and quality. Timis the prime person for excavating thepockets. I usually keep track of specimens,wrap, and log material. Georgeruns the water and the chipper whenused. But we all trade off as well. Whocould not help but want to reach in andpull out a fine specimen never beforeseen by a human?
We took more time than usual collectingand screening for fragments. Anymissing tip could represent high valuelost. Any cleaved amazonite could becritical for a repair. Tim also spent moretime washing pieces and checking forfits. If they could be found in the field, itsaved time later on and often resulted inrecovering a specimen. Tim has an uncannyknack for memorizing the locationand shapes of pieces. The more hespends time studying the pocket, thegreater our chances are for fitting thespecimens back together later on.
“The V” after preparation, 21 cm. J. Dorris photo.
While Tim and George continuedcollecting the left side, working fartherto the back and toward the connectionwith the right side, Chuck and I beganworking the right side cavity. We workedfor only a few minutes before I exposed anice combination piece completely intact.I also uncovered the tips of somesmoky quartz rising from the bottom ofthe pocket. They were in better conditionthan those that had been on the left side,which meant there could be some nicefloor plates. Carefully, I packed this sectionso I could continue removing thebreakdown. Pulling out a couple morechunks, I broke through into the rear ofthe pocket. It extended into blackness forabout a meter. I was now certain the twocavities connected.
I had Tim pull out the next specimen.
It turned out to be incredible – amultiple-termination quartz like a castlewith incredible amazonites and a fluoriteattached, and, it was unrepaired.
Tim pointed to a 5 cm smoky quartzpoking out from the floor rubble.
– Want to pull out that one?
– Nah, you go ahead. – I was askingmyself who cared about a 5 cm smoky.
Last good specimen, known as “V”, collected from the Lucky Monday pocket still in situ. Ch. Borland photo.
Gently, Tim checked the piece. Theentire floor moved. He tipped the pieceup, and out of the floor rose a behemothquartz crystal about 13 cm in length by10 cm wide! Connected to it are other small smokies with several nice amazonites.
This is a record for the CrystalPeak district, I told myself. It is thelargest smoky yet found of this qualitywith quality amazonites. We later call it,“The Behemoth”.
We were fairy dancing. The incrediblepocket is continuing.
About this time, the great piecesmust have been giving off some crystal vibes or something. The collectors whohad been visiting decided to return toour side of the mountain, another fieldcollector and his buddy came up the roadjust to say hi, and my good friend, RayBerry, came over to visit.
– Now, don’t go spilling the beans– I cautioned. I was pretty certain theyrecognized they were seeing some of thefinest specimens ever collected in Colorado.
– We have to clean them yet. Idon’t want the word getting out.
Well that worked all of about 5 minutes.
Congratulations poured in nonstopfor the next several weeks.
The next day, we continued to pullout some more great pieces, generallysmaller. Eventually, we exposed and removedthe right side floor plates. Somewere intact and were in better conditionthan those on the left.
The two cavities had now connectedand we found great crystals throughoutthe back section of the pocket. Unfortunately,the front of the right side wasshattered, as was the far back. Therewas an abundance of single crystals, not like the groups we had pulled out, butgood, nevertheless.
Tim kept assuring me – It’s okay, Ican piece some of these together.
He was correct. One of the bestplates came from here, later called “TheForest”.
“The V” still dirty just after extracting. J. Dorris photo.
Tim continued working the finalsection.
– Here, want to pull this one out?
– He backed out of the cavity.
– Sure. – I wasn’t about to let anotherone get past me. Tim had exposedthe bottom of a potential crystal plate. Itwas about 10 cm across and likely one ofthe final plates.
Carefully, I finished removing someof the surrounding rubble, washed thematerial away with the water, and gentlylifted on the specimen. It was loose. Still I was careful not to wiggle the piece.
Often a smoky quartz tip can be restingbehind another crystal or be wedged behindsome rubble and even a wiggle canchip the tip. I washed more, removingmore bits of gravel and pegmatite untilthe piece was barely sitting in place.
Carefully, I pulled it up and out. Holdingit down but bringing it out to whereeveryone could see, I slowly turned itover. Many times we’d be met with disappointment,thinking we had a goodgroup, only to find missing or damagedcrystals. This one was superb. A large, 7cm smoky connecting to a large, 7 cmamazonite, forming a “v” turned overinto view.
Additional smoky quartz and amazonite crystals surrounded it. Anotherincredible piece from the incrediblepocket.
Tim and Joe proudly showing two great specimens recovered from the Lucky Monday pocket – “The Porcupine” and “The Behemoth”. J. Gajowniczek photo.
We finished the Lucky MondayPocket the following day, finding somesmall groups but nothing significant.
Having spent six full days collecting, Istill had the main excavator to repairand some other prospects to check. Wefilled the working face, hoping anotherincredible pocket would be found deeperin the mountain at a later time but realizingwe may have just found the mostspectacular pocket ever discovered inthe Crystal Peak district.