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Author Topic: Looking for advice for Gem Hunting in Southern alberta  (Read 25806 times)

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Offline Flats

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Looking for advice for Gem Hunting in Southern alberta
« on: June 21, 2012, 01:43:20 PM »
I stumbled onto your site because I'm looking for information on Gem hunting.
I Realized that hunting up my own gem for my soon to be fiancee's ring would add a very personal touch to what would already be a special moment.
My only problem is I know next to nothing on the subject.
I have been able to find some small details, such that Gem hunting on Crown land is just fine on the scale I would be going, And that there is ammolite deposits near the surface by Milk River near the border with the US.
The main things I need help with are:
What would be a good reference manual for the area to assist in identifying the raw gems?
Is there a reference map or site that would allow me to figure out what gems tend to occur in what areas, so I can plan a trip around them?
beyond a rock hammer, Good hiking boots, a gps, and day supplies, anything else that may help? (I am no stranger to hiking including mountain trails)
I live in Calgary, thus my focus on southern Alberta.
Thanks for any help you can give.
Flats

Offline tubtim

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Re: Looking for advice for Gem Hunting in Southern alberta
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2012, 05:39:16 AM »
Dear Flats,

Montana is known for sapphires and Idaho for garnets, so perhaps you could find out the geology of the gemstone deposits there and see if there are geological similarities in S. Alberta. Your quest sounds like a worthwhile endeavour, if I still lived in Alberta I would ask to tag along!

Tubtim

Offline GollyMrScience

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Re: Looking for advice for Gem Hunting in Southern alberta
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2012, 09:22:19 AM »
flats the gemstones you might find are few and far between and may not be suitable for use in a ring of the type you envision.
Down in the southern part of the province you could have
agate - either as a stand alone or as something like dino bone or petrified wood that has been agatized
amber - found in some of the coal seams - Grassy Lake area for instance here is a link to some info on amber in Canada and Grassy Lake is mentioned but pretty well any coal seam exposed in Alberta is fair game - some pieces can have pretty neat inclusions
http://faculty.eas.ualberta.ca/wolfe/eprints/McKellar_Amber_Chapter.pdf
Check out the Bibliography at the end of the paper to find some other referrence materials that could be helpful.
Ammolite - a unique and Alberta centric kind of stone - beautiful too
Fossils of similar type - though not as stunning there are other fossil types than ammolite that have a mother of pearl look to them - some fossil oyster and baculite for instance can be found exposed in the river valleys in the shale deposits.
Garnet - some impressive sized melanite garnet can be found in the Crows Nest Pass but it is black garnet and was used historically for funeral jewelry so that does not fit your purpose at all - there are a wide range of other types of garnet including a pyrope type sourced from kimberlite deposits but getting to a reliable source is difficult. You can certainly pan for them in the rivers and occassionally find a larger specimin but most are pretty puny for rings especially if planning on cutting and polishing.
Feldspar is found in the same volcanic deposits as the melanite and sometimes can have a moonstone look to it
Also in the Crows Nest you can find analcite cyrstals  - they are not all that great as "gems" as they are softer than garnet but some can have a pleasing natural form and I have seen a few that have been cut and polished that look pretty good.
Opal - has been found but usually poor quality - not much colour to it
Amethyst -There is a known occurance at the Columbia Icefields but its in a park so collecting is not allowed.
Topaz has been found in Jasper Park and once again collecting is not allowed.
Diamond has been found in southern Alberta (the first scientifically documented diamonds in the province were from near Vulcan)  but its occurnece is extreamly rare and has not been linked to an actual source yet. It might be located as a fluke while panning or sluicing.
Sapphires have not been mentioned in Alberta -  have to get down a bit more south or over into BC for them.
Well I hope that helps - if pressed to come up with a semi predictable/potentially useable/maybe findable "gemstone" I would lean towards amber - agate - ammolite or similar fossils - maybe the feldspars
Those are about the only ones that might be easily put into a ring. Have you considered an engagement pendant? Many of the neat things found would be way easier to hang around a neck and its not every girl who can brag that she has an agatized dino bone given to her by the man she loves  ;D.
What the heck - lets just keep mixin' stuff together till it blows up or smells REALLY bad!

Offline Flats

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Re: Looking for advice for Gem Hunting in Southern alberta
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2012, 04:11:25 PM »
<SNIP of TONS OF great info>
Ok, THANK YOU for giving me an awesome place to start!
I'm not sure where I will begin, but as I have family in BC (all over),
I may do the engagement pendant from alberta, and still rockhound a BC gem for her for the wedding ring itself.
Thank you so much! (and either way I will post pictures of all my finds)

Offline ninabeanz04

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Re: Looking for advice for Gem Hunting in Southern alberta
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2020, 02:58:22 PM »
Hey Flats,

 I am planning to start a gem hunt myself this summer in southern Alberta (also from Calgary!)

I am just curious....did you ever end up finding anything of decent merit for your fiance/wifes ring? IF so, Id love to see and Id love to know where you found them! I am a jewellery student looking to source some of my own materials. Im also going to be out gold panning at some point as well.

Thanks much,

ninabeanz

Offline BLACKPEARL

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Re: Looking for advice for Gem Hunting in Southern alberta
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2020, 08:24:33 PM »
Brad Wilson he's a geologist/Gem cutter who's specialty is Canadian Gems...Nice guy I've spoken to him a few times

 http://alpinegems.ca/
The meek shall inherit the earth...but not my mineral rights

Offline BLACKPEARL

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Re: Looking for advice for Gem Hunting in Southern alberta
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2020, 11:16:42 AM »
The old BQ aquamarine legacy claims are open to staking
Tenures: 316799, 316800

https://aris.empr.gov.bc.ca/ArisReports/26537A.PDF

A good area to explore for gems...Brad has pics on his site.

Brad is the one who faceted the gems in the photos in the  report


The meek shall inherit the earth...but not my mineral rights