In my novel, Barton Potts is an amateur prospector who mines topaz on a small claim. I searched the exhibit for topaz, so I could show readers what the “raw” gem looks like, and why my protagonist Morgan was baffled by their value.
I had competition in my search. A group of young teens fascinated by the museum gemstone displays exclaimed over the beauty of the cut stones, pointing and claiming, “That one’s mine!”
Entering one alcove, I was stunned by a huge red rhodochrosite crystal. I tried to imagine the excitement of the miner who made the discovery.
Then I watched a continuously scrolling video about aquamarine, the Colorado state gemstone. Steve Brancato from the television program Prospectors http://wxch.nl/1fYex65 was featured. He discovered the best aquamarine pocket ever found in North America. The museum displays the actual find, worth possibly two million dollars.
Colorado has at least thirty varieties of gemstones. While the state was known for gold and silver in times past, gemstones are drawing more attention today.