|A 16-carat iolite from Palmer Canyon, Wyoming.|
|First group of iolites gems cut from|
Palmer Canyon rough. The bed of
material that the iolites sit in has tiny
white fibers that unfortunately sit
in front of the iolites at the top. But
these iolites were flawless.
But nothing could match the potential discovery further to the south. Some geologists had explored this region for aluminum & magnesium & during the mid 20th century and they reported one deposit that had been trenched and mapped contained 500,000 tons of cordierite (when gem-quality, cordierite is known as iolite). I began looking at this deposit & found flawless gem-quality ioilte along the edge of the deposit. All of the material reported by theses earlier geologists likely was part of the largest gemstone deposit found in history. But they were so focused on the use of the material for magnesium and aluminum, they overlooked the gem potential. Besides, in the mid-20th century, there was not much of a market for iolite gemstones.
|Iolite in outcrop at Grizzly Creek, Wyoming. Note the rusty matrix to the|
right of the iolite. This is limonite replacing the iolite. Iolite has considerable
iron and will 'rust' under the right conditions.
|The Palmer Canyon blue Giant sits on cover of |
ICMJ Prospecting & Mining Journal. At 1,750
carats, this was the largest iolite gem reported
in the literature until I found much larger
stones at Grizzly Creek, Wyoming.
|Largest iolite in world at 24,150 carats from Grizzly Creek, Wyoming. Much larger stones were left in outcrop.|