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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

Idaho - Agate, Garnet, Opal and Sapphire

Maine - Amazonite, Aquamarine,Beryl, Pearl , Topaz and Tourmaline

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 Water Pearl

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 Sapphire

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!

Mineral Resources in Missouri



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 United States.



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 crystal.

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.


Carnotite Small

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 system.

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 Missouri.



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 in Missouri.



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 system.

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 pyrite.

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 this mineral.



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 Missouri.



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 system.

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.

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