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November-December 2016

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The Purple Hope Claims: Green Ridge, Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River, King County, Washington

Few collectors outside the Pacific Northwest are aware of the exceptional quartz specimens found in King County, Washington. Only two King County quartz localities have ever been featured in national publications: Denny Mountain (Ream 1977; Jackson 2008a) and the Spruce claim (Medici et al. 1978; Lasmanis 1991; Jackson 2008b, 2015). “Rockhound Gulch” on Denny Mountain has long been known for an interesting suite of skarn minerals that can be collected in a narrow canyon on the west slope of the mountain (many of them have fallen from the cliffs above). Near the top of the canyon a small zone produces beautiful amethyst scepter groups and quartz specimens with Japan-law twins that reach 30 cm across. The Spruce claim is most famous for pyrite and quartz combinations, sometimes with associated ankerite, calcite, or barite. Beautiful plates of amethyst scepters and excellent Japan-law twins have also been found at Spruce but are so uncommon they seldom make it to the marketplace. Here we introduce another King County amethyst scepter and quartz twin locality, the Purple Hope No. 2 and No. 4 claims, located on Green Ridge, to the east of Mount Garfield (fig. 3).       

Rick Dillhoff has been a King County mineral collector for nearly forty years. He is chairman of the Evolving Earth Foundation ( and, as curatorial associate of paleobotany at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington, has published research describing plant fossil occurrences in the Pacific Northwest.

Joe George is a field collector, currently marketing fine quartz crystal specimens under the name Cascade Scepters, aka Scepterguy. He has a bachelor of science degree in engineering geology from Western Washington University.       

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