Seeing Colorado’s State Gem – The Aquamarines of Mount Antero


Educator’s Night at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Caroline invited us to Educator’s Night at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science last night.  Our CP friend from Puerto Rico, Lisbeth, was in town for a visit and was able to come with us.


The aquamarine gem display from Mount Antero.


Diane’s Pocket: 4′ x 3′ Aquamarines embedded with other gemstones, discovered in 2006 by Steve Brancato on Mount Antero in Sawatch Range, Colorado.

One our favorite TV shows was Prospectors on the Weather Channel, which ran for three seasons.  It followed four teams of prospectors in the Colorado high country looking for gemstones, mainly up on Mount Antero west of Colorado Springs.

Prospectors on the Weather Channel

Prospectors was on the Weather Channel, 2013 – 2016.

Steve Brancato working his aquamarine claim up on Mt. Antero.

Hottie Steve Brancato working his aquamarine claim up on Mt. Antero.




Colorado aquamarines are famous for their clear blue to blue-green color.


Mount Antero, Colorado

We got to see some of the fabulous gems in the museum’s collection.


Colorado Rhodochrosite crystals taken out of the Sweet Home Mine in Alma, Colorado.

Probably the two most famous gems on display are Diane’s Pocket of aquamarines and the huge red crystals of Colorado Rhodochrosite taken out of the Sweet Home Mine in Alma, Colorado.

Aquamarine is the official state gemstone of Colorado. Serious prospecting for aquamarine began in the Mt. Antero area in the late 1800s.

The best aquamarine finds on Mount Antero have been on the eastern side of the mountain at elevations over 12,000 feet. The challenges of looking for aquamarine on Mt. Antero are its altitude, weather, and remote location.

At over 14,000 feet in elevation, the weather can be cold, and the aquamarine hunting season is limited to about three months of summer. Wind, lightning storms, and frequent afternoon rains and hailstorms can be life-threatening at low temperatures and high altitudes.

Mt. Antero has grown in popularity with gem hunters after being featured on television prospecting shows. Today there can be a few dozen working claims at any given time on Mt. Antero, and visitors must be careful not to trespass on someone’s claim. Many claim holders are very unfriendly to visitors because they have put in a lot of sweat and effort hoping to find a nice cavity of high-value gems.

In addition to Mt. Antero, a few other Colorado locations are known to yield nice aquamarine crystals. These include Mt. White, which is connected to Mt. Antero by a high saddle. Nice specimens have also been found on Mt. Baldwin and Mt. Princeton, all peaks of over 12,500 feet and located nearby.

Colorado Rhodochrosite on Display

Huge section of crytsal taken out of the Sweet Home Mine.

Huge section of red crystals taken out of the Sweet Home Mine.

The most famous mine in the world for superb rhodochrosite crystals is the Sweet Home Mine, located near the community of Alma, Colorado. It was opened in 1873 as a silver mine and was worked on and off for silver until the 1960s.


Lisbeth and Elly in the Colorado mine.

Colorado gemstones

Huge Colorado gemstones on display the size of a small child.

Amethsy, my favorite gemstone.

Amethyst, my favorite gemstone and Caroline’s birthstone.


Quartz pocket at Crystal Peak, Colorado.


Colorado minerals.


IMG_1600.JPGWe got free tickets to see the new ‘Oceans’ in IMAX 3D.  That was really cool.


Seeing Oceans in the IMAX theater.


Such a fun evening at the museum!


Lions and Tigers and Strollers, Oh My!

This is not Caroline’s first time in the Disney College Program. Along with her sister, she was previously accepted into the program a few years earlier.  Back in Colorado, Caroline was wishing for a little more pixie dust to brighten up her life.  On a whim, she decides to apply to the exclusive Disney Alumni Summer Program.

Now that she’s back, things get wild.

Wild, as in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where Caroline is assigned to work in Stroller Rental.  While not the most glamorous position in the park, it’s often ground zero for humanity at its best and at its worst.

While Caroline makes many “Magical Moments” for deserving guests whose pixie dust has gone temporarily sideways, she also receives magical moments of her own through the friendships she makes, going to Disney cast member exclusive events, and all the spectacular dining opportunities at Disney World.

Caroline tells all – from the ins and outs of Disney’s secret training class called Traditions; to learning how to be a happy cast member during on-the-job training; to what it’s like to interact with fellow cast members and the guests who are ready to explore the most magical place on earth.

Join Caroline as she takes you on a wild ride through her adventures in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. But be careful, it’s a jungle out there!

Available now at in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on  Adventures in the Animal Kingdom


About the Author:

Caroline’s love for all things Disney, and desire to grow up to be a Disney princess, is the reason she always wanted to work for Disney.  Her dream came true working as a cast member at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Caroline is the co-author of the book, Two Girls and a Mouse Tale, about her adventures working at Disney World with her sister.

She is currently a 7th grade middle school Social Studies teacher in Colorado.

Daily blog link: