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Rough Gemstones - Mineral Resources in Missouri
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Tidbits About Rough Gemstones
Gemstones are minerals found in the Earth that have not been cut, faceted
or altered by man in any way. Typically they bring to mind far off exotic
locations. However, even though they can be found all over the world,
many of them are found right here in the U.S.A.
The phrase rough gemstones is, in a way, a contradiction of terms. The
term gemstone is used to describe a mineral that has been cut and
polished to make it suitable for jewelry or other adornments and the term
rough brings to mind anything but that. Most rockhounders just refer to
it as raw gem material or, most commonly, rough.
Natural, rough gemstones can be found in all shapes and sizes, in one
single piece or in a distorted shape when crystals have grown together.
Sometimes, certain rocks and minerals can be found growing together.
Examples of this would be Ametrine, which is a blend of Citrine and
Amethyst, or Azuremalachite, which is a blend of Azurite and Malachite.
Another interesting fact about gems is that they are not always found in
the place where they were formed. Most minerals are formed below the
earths surface. However, volcanic activity or earthquakes often push the
them above the surface. Activities such as landslides and flooding can
carry them away from where they where formed to a new place entirely.
Rough gemstone material can be very expensive. It is priced according to
the weight of the entire piece even though only a small part of it may be
desirable. In the gem industry, the desirable part of a raw piece of
mineral is called gem grade material. It takes a good eye, good testing
equipment and a lot of experience to be able to tell if a piece of raw
material has enough gem grade material to make it worth the price that it
may sell for. If you're considering purchasing rough gemstones, it is in
your best interest to consult an expert within the industry.
Gemstone rough can be found in many places in the United States. In fact,
most states have some type of gem that can be found there. Included is a
partial list of states in which three or more well - known gems can be
found. If you feel your state and/or area you hunt in qualifies to be
inserted here please use our contact
page and let us know. Please provide a link to your states Dept. Of
Resources site or the link you are interested in having inserted here
with the mineral list it has.
Arkansas - Agate, Clear Quartz, Diamond and Smoky Quartz
Arizona - Azure malachite, Garnet,Jasper, Moissanite,
Peridot and Turquoise
California - Citrine, Diamond, Jasper, Kunzite,
Morganite, Tourmaline, and Turquoise
Colorado - Agate, Amethyst , Aquamarine, Citrine,
Diamond, Garnet, Peridot, and Topaz
Connecticut - Beryl, Garnet, Rose Quartz and Tourmaline
Georgia - Amethyst, Citrine, Garnet, Quartz and Ruby
- Agate, Garnet, Opal and Sapphire
Maine - Amazonite, Aquamarine,Beryl, Pearl , Topaz and
Missouri - Calcite, Fluorite, Pearl and Pyrite
Montana - Agate, Amethyst, Beryl, Garnet, Obsidian,
Sapphire, Smoky Quartz and Tourmaline
Nevada - Black Fire Opal, Citrine and Turquoise
New York - Beryl, Brown Tourmaline, Garnet and Fresh
North Carolina - Amethyst, Aquamarine, Beryl, Emerald,
Rhodolite Garnet, Ruby, Sapphire and Smoky Quartz
Oregon - Agate, Obsidian and Sunstone
Pennsylvania - Amethyst, Beryl,Moonstone and Sunstone
Texas - Beryl, Pearl and Tourmaline
Utah - Garnet, Jasper, Obsidian and Topaz
Virginia - Amethyst, Beryl, Garnet and Moonstone
Wyoming - Agate, Bloodstone, Jade, Jasper, Ruby and Star
As you can see, rough gemstones can be found just about anywhere. You
never know what might turn up and where it might turn up this is just
part of what makes the quest so exciting!
Barite is a mineral that can be found in several different colors. The
colors can be white, gray, shades of yellow, brown, red and blue with a
streak of white. It may also be colorless. On the Mohs hardness scale it
ranges from a 3 to 3. 5 and has a specific gravity of 4. 3 to 4. 6.
Barite is in the orthorhombic crystal system.
Barite is found in great abundance in Jefferson and Washington counties.
This area accounts for 80% of barite production in Missouri.
Other locations that barite is found in include Texas, Miller, Moniteau,
Morgan, and Cole counties. In 1941 Missouri produced barite that had a
value over $1,300,000 and was 40% of the total barite production in the
Calcite has several different colors that range from white to pale shades
of gray, yellow to red, green to blue and brown or black when impure. In
addition it can be colorless. Calcite has a value of 3 on Mohs hardness
scale and has a specific gravity of 2. 7 Calcite is transparent to
translucent and can be fluorescent. The crystal system of calcite is
hexagonal. One of the most interesting properties of calcite is its
birefringence. If a calcite crystal is held over a piece of paper with
words on it, the words will be doubled. This is caused when a ray of
light enters the crystal and the ray splits. Now, the rays are traveling
at different speeds and bent at different angles. Light is slowed in this
denser than air medium. This process is called double refraction and is
visible as a doubling effect of objects that are viewed through the
Calcite is one of the most amazing minerals found on Earth. It comprises
about 4%, by weight, of the Earth's crust. It is an essential mineral in
limestone. Joplin, Missouri located in Jasper county has produced some
strikingly beautiful calcite crystals.
The color of carnotite ranges in various shades of yellow. It can be
bright yellow, lemon yellow or greenish yellow and the streak is also
yellow. On the Mohs hardness scale carnotite is a 2 and the specific
gravity ranges from 4 to 5. Carnotite is in the monoclinic crystal
Carnotite is a rare mineral which usually occurs in earthy masses. This
mineral happens to be the main source of uranium and radium. A ton of
this can yield about 10 pounds of uranium oxide. Carnotite is found in
Missouri, but has not been mined commercially because it is not
economical possible. The location of carnotite in Missouri is near St.
Genevieve county within cracks in the limestone. It can also be found
north of the Missouri River in small amounts.
Dolomite is a calcium magnesium carbonate that can sometimes contain
minor amounts of manganese and iron. The color varies and can be found as
white, colorless, pink, gray, green, brown and black The streak of
dolomite is white. It ranges from 3. 5 to 4 on the Mohs hardness scale
and has a specific gravity of 2. 8. It has a hexagonal crystal system.
Dolomite occurs in Missouri in the Joplin mining district located in
Jasper county. It is found in dolomitic limestone, veins, and cavity
fillings within rocks. It can also be found in other parts of southern
Feldspar is a common name for several minerals, but all are very similar.
The range of colors is great and it sometime shows a play of colors. The
colors are white, gray, green, bluish and reddish. In addition feldspars
can also be colorless. All the feldspars have a common streak of white.
On the Mohs hardness scale the feldspars are a 6 and have a specific
gravity of 2. 62 to 2. 76. The crystal system for this group of minerals
is the triclinic system.
Feldspar is the most abundant mineral in granite and it usually controls
the color of a rock. Feldspars are located all over Missouri especially
in areas that have a lot of granite.
Galena is among one of the most popular minerals for anyone to have. The
name galena comes from the Latin word "galena" which means lead ore. The
color of this mineral is dark gray to silver. Galena streaks dark gray,
almost the color of pencil lead On the Mohs hardness scale, galena is a
2. 5 and has a specific gravity of 7. 4 to 7. 6.
Galena is found in cavity fillings of limestone. In 1941 Missouri
produced over $15,000,000 of the lead in the world. It came from Flat
River, Fredericktown, Joplin and central Missouri.
Geodes are usually a hollow mass which contain minerals such as quartz.
They are formed by water that has become trapped in a rock or in crevices
of rocks. Missouri geodes vary in size and can be found anywhere from
fields to caves and mines. They are really common in several locations in
northeast Missouri. Geodes have no values or use other than for
ornamental purposes. The only way to positively identify that a round
rock is a geode, is to break or cut it in half and view its contents.
Gold is a native element and is sometimes found with silver, copper and
iron. The color should be apparent. It is any shade of yellow. Gold will
streak a gold-yellow color. On the Mohs hardness scale gold is 2. 5 to 3
and has a specific gravity of 15. 9 to 19. 3. Gold is in the isometric
crystal system and is very malleable which makes it easy to work with.
Gold is not easily found in Missouri. It is only found in very small
quantities which were carried by and deposited by glaciers. Miners and
geologist have studied Missouri and have not found any promise of a big
gold deposit. In other words, do not spend all your time looking for gold
Gypsum has a variety of colors such as white, gray, yellow, red and brown
and has a white streak. In addition it can be colorless. The hardness of
gypsum is 1. 5 to 2 on the Mohs hardness scale and it has a specific
gravity of 2. 3 to 2. 4. Gypsum is placed in the monoclinic crystal
Gypsum in Missouri has been found as a secondary formation in rocks. It
is not a commercially valuable mineral of the state. Gypsum's main use is
in the manufacturing of plaster of paris.
Hematite is an iron rich oxide which causes the different colors for
hematite. The colors can range from steel-grey, red, reddish brown and
black. The best way to tell hematite from other minerals is by its
streak. The streak will be a dark red or blood red Hematite ranges from 5
to 6 on Mohs hardness scale and it has a specific gravity that ranges
from 4. 9 to 5. 3. Hematite is in the hexagonal crystal system.
Hematite in Missouri is responsible for the red coloring in the soils,
iron rust, reddish creek water and anything natural in Missouri that is a
reddish color. Hematite is found at Iron Mountain and Pilot Knob mining
districts located in Iron county. It is also found in sink hole mines and
pits in south central Missouri.
Limonite is a mixture of hydrous iron oxides. The colors associated with
limonite are yellow or brown and it streaks yellowish brown. On the Mohs
hardness scale limonite ranges from 4 to 5. 5 and has a specific gravity
that ranges from 2. 7 to 4. 3. Limonite is a pseudormophous mineral.
This mineral is found in southeastern Missouri and is usually found in
large boulders, discontinuous and irregular lenses or beds. It really has
no commercial value unless the mineral is very pure, but most limonite in
Missouri is not pure.
Marcasite is a pale brass yellow to almost white in color and has a dark
greenish to brownish streak. On Mohs hardness scale marcasite ranges from
6 to 6. 5 and has a specific gravity of 4. 8 Marcasite is in the
orthorhombic crystal system. Marcasite can sometimes confused with
Marcasite can be found all over Missouri especially in the metal mining
districts such as Iron Mountain and Pilot Knob located in Iron county.
Several mines have been developed in old sink hole deposits to extract
It has a color that is a pale apple green This mineral is also soft.
Metatorbernite is a uranium mineral and has been found in Missouri in
paper thin cracks in clay deposits. Little information is known about
this mineral in Missouri.
Mica is a general name for the minerals that are in this group. These
minerals are sheet silicates. The micas are varied in color. Some are
light and others are dark. These minerals all have a low hardness of 2 to
2. 5 and the specific gravity ranges from 2. 7 to 3. 0. They are an
important mineral to metamorphic and igneous rocks.
Micas occur in small grains in igneous rocks and some sandstone in
Pyrite is pale yellow to brass yellow in color and streaks a greenish
black color. On the Mohs hardness scale, pyrite is 6 to 6. 5 and has a
specific gravity of 4. 9. Pyrite is in the isometric crystal system. This
mineral can also be confused with marcasite.
Pyrite is sometimes called "fools gold" because it looks a lot like gold.
Most people would not know the difference if they came across a piece of
this mineral. It occurs in the metal mining districts of Missouri and
south central Missouri.
Quartz is a common mineral and has a variety of colors. Each color has
its own name associated with it such as amethyst which is a purple color.
Smoky quartz refers to a brown color and rose quartz is a pink color of
quartz. Quartz has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs hardness scale and has a
specific gravity of 2. 65. This mineral is in the hexagonal crystal
Quartz is found all over Missouri in sandstones.
Silver is a native element often found with much gold or mercury. The
color of this mineral is silver-white and has a silver white streak. It
has a hardness of 2. 5 to 3 on Mohs hardness scale and has a specific
gravity of 10. 1 to 11. 1. Silver is in they isometric crystal system.
This mineral is a very malleable and can be easily worked with.
Silver has been found in the silver mines area in Madison county. It is
also found in southeastern Missouri in the galena mines. Geologist have
not found any additional deposits of silver in Missouri.
This mineral is a zinc sulfide and is found with some iron, manganese and
cadmium. The color of this mineral can be yellow, brown, red, green and
black. Sphalerite has a light brown streak. On the Mohs hardness scale it
ranges from 3. 5 to 4 and has a specific gravity of 3. 9. This mineral
can be fluorescent at times.
People from Missouri call this mineral other names such as Jack, Rosin
Jack, Black Jack, Ruby Jack just to name a few Sphalerite occurs in the
mining districts of southwest Missouri. Small amounts have even been
found north of the Missouri River.