The 1,714 carat Palmer Canyon ‘Blue Star’. This large iolite gemstone was found by the author in
Palmer Canyon, which at the time of discovery, was the largest iolite gemstone known on earth.
Note the greenish pinite reaction rim (coating) covering the right end of the 3 x 4.5 inch gemstone.
|Iolite cross with gold and diamonds.|
The Palmer Canyon discovery was followed by discovery of a world-class iolite deposit four miles southwest in Grizzly Creek in 2004 which included the largest iolites found on earth. This was followed by yet another iolite discovery near the Sherman Mountains in 2005 which could host the largest colored gemstone deposit ever found (Hausel, 2005, 2005a); however field investigations are needed to verify size, extent and quality of gemstones as only cursory field studies and reconnaissance were completed and only a small portion of terrain surrounding the discoveries was ever explored for gemstones. This and all other pragmatic projects was terminated by the state geologist. These discoveries could have resulted in a new industries for Wyoming which could have yielded jobs, wages, severance taxes and mineral royalties.
|A thin slice of fractured iolite from Wyoming.|
Large pseudo hexagonal nodule in cordierite gneiss, Palmer Canyon, Wyoming
Iolite is as hard as quartz and harder than glass and tanzanite. But the specific gravity of cordierite is unfavorable for placer concentration. With this in mind, it is surprising most iolite on the market today is recovered as a by-product of placer mining in Sri Lanka. Since there is a lack of a continuous supply of iolite, it is difficult to find the gemstone in jewelry stores although it is marketed on TV. A steady supply of the gem with creative marketing strategy could result in an iolite industry rivaling tanzanite. But currently, there is no steady supply, and the gem remains greatly undervalued. To get an idea of how attractive the faceted gemstone is, it is recommended to search the Internet for photos of faceted iolite.
|A flawless, several hundred carat xenoblast iolite in Palmer Canyon Gneiss.|
|0.5 carat Palmer Canyon iolites|
|Iolite porphyroblast (large crystal) in iolite gneiss, Wyoming.|
|A 12-carat raw pink sapphire from Palmer Canyon - specimen from the Vic|
|Generalized map of Wyoming showing location of Palmer Canyon|
|Gem kyanite from the Central Laramie Mountains.|
|Ruby-kyanite vermiculite schist from Palmer Canyon|
|Pink sapphire vermiculite schist from Palmer Canyon|
|A few hundred carat xenoblast in Palmer Canyon gneiss with the first|
group of faceted Wyoming iolite gemstones (1 to 0.5 carats) sitting
on the raw gemstone.
|Close up view of faceted gems sitting on the iolite |
|1.0 carat Palmer Canyon iolites|
- Hausel, W.D., 2002, A new source of gem-quality cordierite and corundum in the Laramie Range of Southeastern Wyoming: Rocks & Minerals v. 76, no. 5, p. 334-339.
- Hausel, W.D., 2005, Geologists Locate Giant Gemstones: ICMJ Prospecting and Mining Journal, v. 74, no. 7, p. 7-9.
- Hausel, W.D., 2005a, Minerals and Rocks of Wyoming – A Guide for Collectors, Prospectors and Rock Hounds: Wyoming Geological Survey Bulletin 72, 159 p.
- Hausel, W.D., 2006a, Gemstone discoveries in Wyoming: Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists Outcrop 55:3.
- Hausel, W.D., 2014, Finding Gemstones - A Prospector's Guide to Gemstones, Gold, Rocks & Minerals: Gemhunter Publications, 368 p.
- Hurlbut, C.S., Jr., and Switzer, G.S., 1979, Gemology: John Wiley and Sons, New York, 243 p.
- Kievlenko, E.Y. 2003. Geology of Gems. Ocean Publications Ltd., Littleton, CO. 432 p.
- Spry, A., 1969, Metamorphic Textures. Pergamon Press, Oxford, England, 350 p.
|Two 4- and 6-carat faceted Palmer Canyon Black iolites|
|Close up of iolite gemstone collected by Hausel at Grizzly Creek. This stone weighed several thousands of carats!|
|A 6-carat iolite from Palmer Canyon|
|A 16-carat iolite from Wyoming|
|Group of 6 to 12 carat iolites from Wyoming|
|A 10 carat Palmer Canyon black cabochon|
|A 100+ Carat iolite from Palmer Canyon collected by Hausel|
|Close up of large iolite porphyroblast collected by Hausel at Palmer Canyon|
|Photo of outcrop of massive iolite discovered at Grizzly Creek Wyoming by Hausel. |
Essentially, everything in this photo with the exception of the rock hammer and the
milky quartz vein cutting through the iolite, is one, big massive polite gemstone!