|Several rubies in a schist from the Wind River Mountains, Wyoming. Most prospectors would misidentify these as rubies, but if you look close, you will see distinct, parallel cleavage in one of the rubies - something that does not occur in garnet.|
|Best of Show - Rubies, sapphires, and iolite gemstones found in Wyoming and faceted in Sri Lanka.|
I remember receiving a 25-year pin from the State of Wyoming for my service in finding several hundred $million in gemstones, gold and diamonds for the State. It was a tiny plastic pin about the size of nickel that had a tiny red ruby. After examining this valuable ruby with a microscope, it was obvious it was a synthetic ruby almost too small to weigh. The ruby was likely worth about $1.00 and and the pin another $1.00. Have no idea where it was made, but I would guess China. Why thank you Wyoming for thinking about me.
When it comes to learning how to identify minerals, there are serious flaws with most gemstone books - they are not designed for the prospector. Essentially all show spectacular faceted gems or museum quality specimens that you are unlikely to find in nature. I'm too poor to afford cut gems, so I have to find my own in the rock. So, here are some hints of where to look and what to look for.
|Another pink sapphire that I found that shows excellent rhombohedral cleavage in the gem. Note the two intersecting planes that are nearly perpendicular to one another.|
|Beautiful pink sapphire from Wyoming. The stone is flawed with numerous intersecting cleavage (parting) planes that can be partially hidden by cutting the stone in a cabochon.|
|Some corundum, such as this Oriental Amethyst (its not amethyst|
but jewellers use this term for violet colored sapphires) will
produce twinned crystals attached to one another.
|Would you recognize these as rubies? These rubies were found by my son Eric Hausel and they show nodular texture.|
|This photo shows a pink to violet sapphire prism to the left and a purple-red (pigeon's blood red) ruby in the rock to the right. The ruby is surrounded by what is known as a reaction rim of green zoisite.|
|Another twinned Oriental Amethyst - you should be able to see that this corundum has two crystal that grew side by side.|
|Large, faceted red ruby from the Palmer Canyon ruby-sapphire-kyanite-iolite deposit in the Laramie Mountains. Note the distinct parallel cleavage planes.|
|Sapphire schist from Palmer Canyon, Wyoming. Note the abundant white to very light blue hexagonal mineral grains. These are all sapphire and this particular sample has about 10% sapphire.|