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May-June 2013

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I enjoyed the article by Jim Landon titled “Quartz Scepters from Crystal Park, Beaverhead County, Montana” in the September/October 2012 issue (pages 459–462). Living in southwest Montana, I have been digging at this site for eighteen years. I no longer look for or follow rust-colored veins or zones. Although I have found some amethyst scepters in these spots, most of the time there is nothing but hard, rusty-colored sand that continues at length underground. Much of it spreads a long way from any productive vein or pocket or just stops, with nothing worthwhile having been found after many hours or even days of effort.

Although some fantastic pockets have been found through the years by digging for veins and pockets, with much less effort and time I dig in the top 2 feet, or “float layer,” on the back of the hill where more crystals are spread from pockets that have spilled down the hillside over time. It is spotty, but I have recovered good amethyst scepters just 6 inches below the surface. Many collectors stay on the front or top of the hill and dig soil that has already been looked through several times. As Landon wrote, it can be frustrating to dig for quality crystals. Many times I have dug and dug, only finding small or broken crystals, and then suddenly a big, beautiful crystal pops into view, including the occasional scepter or smoky amethyst, to make it all worthwhile.

John Usher
Livingston, Montana


I read with interest the article about the California Blue mine by Michael Hunerlach in the November/December 2012 issue (pages 502–508). I thought readers would like to know that the 7.35-carat faceted aquamarine pictured on the cover was faceted by Ohioan Jay Medici and is now in the Jim Parrish collection.

The November/December 2012 cover showing the aquamarine faceted by Jay Medici.
The November/December 2012 cover showing the aquamarine faceted by Jay Medici.

Rick Kennedy
Santa Clara, California

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