Creede, Colorado Minerals

By admin • Crystallized Classics • 12 Jun 2015
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      I recently acquired some great specimens from the classic Creede District located on the edge of the San Juan Mountains in Mineral County, Southwestern Colorado USA. Creede is a world-class mining district with over 2.3 million kilograms(!!) of Silver and significant Zinc, Lead, Gold and Copper recovered from generally high-grade epithermal veins associated with Tertiary-age faults around the extinct Creede volcanic caldera. Discovered in 1889 by itinerant miner and adventurer Nicolas Creede, Creede was one of Colorado last great mining camps, and grew to over 10,000 miners, families and get-rich-quick dreamers in just a few months as word spread throughout the country of the fabulous wealth that lay below the rugged cliffs ringing the small town of Creede. The largest vein system in the camp, the Amethyst Vein, was first mined in 1892 and quickly brought this nascent silver district’s production up from ~380,000 ounces to over 2.4 million ounces of silver! The Amethyst vein, and the mines associated with it, with names like the Commodore, Amethyst and Last Chance, continued to produce millions of ounces of silver along with gold, copper, lead and zinc until the late 1970′s, when they fell victim to falling metal prices as well as competition from newer, richer mines in the district, such as the fabulously rich Bulldog mine down the hill. During the period they were operating, the mines on the Amethyst vein system produced an astounding array of high-quality gemmy Sphalerite, Galena, Chalcopyrite, Acanthite, Silver, Proustite, and other crystals, in a seemingly endless supply from abundant vugs and open fractures which were associated with the vein. Miners collected what would come to be regarded as some of the finest Sphalerite crystals ever found in the US, along with excellent examples of many other minerals.

 

The next chapter of Creede’s mining history focused on the Bulldog vein system, a hence unknown high-grade deposit situated just a few miles down the mountain from the Amethyst vein. When the first exploration drift intersected the main vein in the early 1960′s after promising drilling results suggested a ‘bonanza grade’ silver vein at depth, what the miners and geologists saw surpassed even their wildest expectations. In places the vein was over 10 feet wide and 40% or more of the mass of the vein was pure, heavy, sparkling native silver, which occurred in pieces so large they had the be specially processed so as not to foul up the crushing and processing equipment. The owner of the new mine, Homestake Mining, quickly realized a small fortune, and additional drilling in the area identified other smaller veins related the the main Bulldog structure. In all, many more millions of ounces of silver were added to Creede’s growing resume, and production continued until the mid-1990′s, when the last mine whistle finally blew on the ‘town that never slept’, Creede Colorado.

 

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Today, while Creede has transitioned to a tourist-based economy, hosting visitors from around the country each summer who come for the relatively inexpensive mountain property and breathtaking views, mining is still in the blood of Native Creede-ites, and there is hope that with increased Silver and base metal prices, the Bulldog and Equity mines may re-open. A good friend of mine recently completed a masters thesis on the fascinating geology and mineralogy of these two deposits, which are now owned by Rio Grande Silver, a subsidiary of Hecla Mining. When metal prices recover from the recent recession, the hope is that the lights will be turned on at these mines, and once again the sound of sheave wheels turning and metal coming out of the ground will be heard in the great Colorado boom town of Creede.

The following specimens were collected by an ore cart operator and several underground miners in the period of ~1965-1980. They represent some of the minerals that made Creede famous, and are a small piece of Colorado Mining History. Enjoy! -Phil 

 

Creede-01: Sphalerite, Galena, and Chalcopyrite on Amethyst: P Vein, Commodore Mine, Creede, Colorado: $225.00

An excellent large specimen of sharp, very gemmy honey-yellow Sphalerite crystals on Amethyst crystals with galena crystals from the P Vein. In great condition, and sits nicely on a sawn base for display. A Colorado Classic!!

Specimen Dimensions: 14.5 x 13 x 6 cm. Weight: 1357 grams/3 lbs.
Creede-02: Sphalerite, Galena, Chalcopyrite: OH Vein, Commodore Mine, Creede, Colorado USA: $500.00
An excellent huge plate of sharp, lustrous gemmy honey-brown Sphalerite crystals to 1.5 cm. with good Chalcopyrite crystals and distinctive ‘melted’ galena crystals to 3 cm. from the OH Vein, Commodore Mine, Creede, Mineral County, Colorado. A ‘museum size’ specimen from this classic Colorado locality- there are a few very minor dinged crystals but given the size of this specimen I consider this to be very minor. Specimens in this size and quality from the Commodore mine are difficult to find. Better in person.
 
 An impressive and unusual Colorado Classic! Specimen Dimensions: 23.5 x 19 x 6.5 cm. Weight: ~16 lbs./7.5 Kg.
Creede-03: Sphalerite, pyrite, galena: P Vein, Commodore Mine, Creede, Colorado: $125.00
A large specimen of sharp, lustrous Sphalerite crystals to 1.5 cm. with small galena and chalcopyrite crystals from older finds in the 1960′s/70′s at this well-known, long-closed Colorado locality. In great condition, and sits nicely on a sawn base for display. Classic! Specimen Dimensions: 16 x 11 x 9.5 cm. Weight: 2115 grams/4.7 lbs.
Creede-04: Sphalerite & Galena on Amethyst: P Vein, Commodore Mine, Creede, Colorado: $115.00
A very nice specimen of sharp, gemmy yellow Sphalerite crystals on Amethyst with galena crystals. In great condition, and sits nicely on a sawn base for display. Classic! Specimen Dimensions: 7.5 x 6.5 x 4.5 cm. Weight: 356 grams.
Creede-05: Native Silver, Acanthite, Barite, Sphalerite, Marcasite, Galena: Bulldog Mine, Creede, Mineral county, Colorado: $250.00 SOLD
A whole flat of slabbed and cut specimens of high-grade Silver ore from the Bulldog Mine, Creede, Mineral county, Colorado USA. These specimens are generally barite, but many have Native Silver, forming small veins as well as rich areas of silver peppered through the barite, along with acanthite and argentiferous Galena as well as some minor sphalerite and marcasite.
 
 Great epithermal ore textures and specimen from a Classic closed Colorado locality! There are approximately 45 specimens, ranging in size from 1.5 x 2 cm. to 9 x 5 x 1.5 cm.; most are ~6 x 5 x 3 cm. in size. The silver content and textural features are much nicer in person. Great specimens for your collection or for re-sale.
 
Specimen Dimensions: see above. Weight: 4520 grams/~10 lbs. net
Creede-06: Sphalerite, Galena, Amethyst: P Vein, Commodore Mine, Creede, Colorado USA: $350.00
An excellent, very large specimen of sharp, gemmy honey-yellow Sphalerite crystals on Amethyst crystals with galena crystals from the P Vein, Commodore Mine, Creede, Mineral County, Colorado. 
 
An outstanding specimen from older finds in the 1960′s/70′s at this well-known, long-closed Colorado locality. In great condition, and sits nicely on a sawn base for display. A Colorado Classic!!Specimen Dimensions: 19.5 x 16 x 13.5 cm. Weight: 3161 grams/7 lbs.
Creede-07: Sphalerite & Galena on Quartz: OH Vein, Commodore Mine, Creede, Colorado: $30.00 SOLD
A nice small plate of sharp very gemmy honey-brown Sphalerite crystals from the Commodore Mine, Creede, mineral county, Colorado. A great Commodore mine sphalerite.
 
Specimen Dimensions: 5 x 4.5 x 2 cm. Weight: 67 grams.
Creede-08: Chalcopyrite, Sphalerite, Galena: OH Vein, Commodore Mine, Creede, Colorado: $50.00 SOLD
A very nice specimen of sharp, lustrous Sphalerite crystals to 1.5 cm. with good Chalcopyrite crystals and some corroded galena crystals from the Commodore Mine, Creede, Mineral County, Colorado. A nice specimen from old finds from this well-known Colorado locality. In good condition. Specimen Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 3.2 cm. Weight: 158 grams.
Creede-09: Barite, Acanthite, Galena: Bulldog Mine, Creede, Colorado: $20.00/each ONLY 5 LEFT
A nice slab of Silver ore from the Bulldog Mine, Creede, Mineral county, Colorado USA. Argentiferous Galena and minor acanthite are in matrix of white barite with minor sphalerite. There are also some clasts of altered volcanoclastic wallrock which are partly mineralized; very interesting. Great epithermal ore texture from a Classic Colorado locality! I have 5 of these, and they are all off the same larger piece of ore, so they will be quire similar.
 
Specimen Dimensions: ~16 x 10.5 x 1.3 cm. Weight: ~760 grams.
Creede-10: Sphalerite: OH Vein, Commodore Mine, Creede, Colorado: $40.00
A nice specimen of gemmy honey-brown Sphalerite crystals from the Commodore Mine, Creede, mineral county, Colorado. Minor scuffs to a few crystals but overall in great condition. 
 
Specimen Dimensions: 6 x 3 x 2.2 cm. Weight: 58 grams.

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