It happened!!! You've heard us tell of wonderful gems and minerals in Chaffee County and many of you have hunted them yourselves. Well, in 2004 a treasure seeker's dream came true.
On the sometimes fierce and unforgiving slopes of one of our beloved fourteeners, a prospector found his dream. After a season's worth of hard work prospecting and camping at extreme elevations, gorgeous gems the color of the Colorado sky were unearthed. Not only were these gems wonderfully formed and of exceptional color and size but they have been dubbed the BEST gems to ever be seen from Mt. Antero. Now that is a statement as gem collecting at this location started well over 100 years ago.
Steve Brancato, originally from New York, came to our valley in 2001 with the intent of hunting gemstones. Mt. Antero caught his attention as it is world famous for producing small quantities of aquamarines (the bluish sister to emerald). Steve did his homework, talked with many of the long time Antero prospectors and began to dig on the frosty and often unstable slopes of the mountain. Before long, Steve claimed mineral rights on a portion of the mountain and has since spent several seasons living and working on Mt. Antero.
In the fall of 2004 he achieved a goal that any prospector would be proud of – extracting superb gems from a world famous collecting locality. The fabulous find, named “Diane's Pocket”, was unveiled at the Tucson Gems and Mineral show in February of 2005 and has been gaining more and more praise ever since that time.
Look for it:
Claire Mary Ellen Claim #1
Mt. Antero, Chaffee County
Prospector: Steve Brancato
Now you know – dreams really do come true under our Colorado blue skies.
Remember, never lose sight of your dreams for dreamers are part of the recipe for a world of peace and lasting happiness.
Happy Rock hounding and don't forget “if it's beautiful to your eye then it's valuable”.
By Cindy Peratt
Aka The Rock Doc