Prospectors Part II
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 02:49PM

As the Colorado rock collecting season nears its wintry end, I survey my finds from the past several months and marvel over the specimens I've collected among my three mining claims. One of my claims was especially productive, with a variety of smoky quartz and amazonite crystals, or a combination of both. I'll attempt to post photos of the more spectacular ones as I clean and prepare them.

Find the topaz!Aside from that, the highlights of the summer included some interaction with the folks from the Weather Channel show, Prospectors. In June, I helped out Carl and crew at the Dorris family topaz mine. During normal operations, Carl operates a backhoe and excavates weathered granitic gravel from the hillside on the east end of the claim. The gravel is stockpiled and later dumped into a sieve/shaker system that separates the gravel into increasingly smaller grains, revealing the occasional topaz crystal. On open days, when the public is invited to dig the stockpiles for a fee, the shaker system is fed Krystle with a day's takeby shovel due to the inherent danger of operating heavy equipment around focused prospectors. On one such day, I joined Carl, his son Ben, and Krystle's husband Abe in feeding the Magic Topaz machine by hand. Less than a minute into the task, and on my second shovelful of gravel, I watched as the shaker processed a 400-plus-carat fine bi-colored topaz. Carl joked that it was 'all downhill from here'. He was right. Nothing else of this size and quality was found that day. There is a tradition in the Dorris family that the discoverer is allowed to keep the stone in his/her pocket for the rest of the day. I politely declined as returning it to the rightful owner would have been nothing less than punishment.

Nick with AmandaAnother pleasant surprise was running into Amanda Adkins at the Denver show in September. She revealed that they had just wrapped up filming the second season of Prospectors and proceeded to parade this summer's discoveries like a proud mama.

I've been informed by both Abe and Amanda that there were also some amazing finds of peach-colored topaz in Crystal Park this year. I'll be excited to see how these are presented in the upcoming series.   

Article originally appeared on Conifer Environmental (
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