The Four Peaks Amethyst Mine in Arizona is the only amethyst mine in the U.S.
producing high-quality purple amethyst that is priced above African and South
The Diamond.net article comments on the ruggedness of the mine's location,
even though it is within view of millions living in the Phoenix - Scottsdale
At 6,700 feet altitude, the mine is completely surrounded by the Tonto
National Forest, with no roads into the 20-acre mine area located between two
mountain peaks. The only access is provided by helicopter — “and it can’t
always land anyway due to wind,” says Cavano — or a three-hour rough
wilderness hike. Two-man teams of miners stay six to seven days, filtering
rainwater for drinking. The site is furnished with a small equipment shed, a
generator to power the mining lamps and solar panels and batteries to illuminate
and ventilate the mine.
Four Peaks is a mountain rising about a mile in altitude from the surrounding
In the mid-1980's we looked into buying the mine from owner Joe Hyman, a
well known Scottsdale businessman. Joe had closed the mine sometime following
a tragic event in April, 1974.
It was a cold, blustery, and rainy weekend in the desert below Four Peaks
weekend of that April tragedy. Up on the mountain it was a mini-blizzard. Three miners
were caught hiking into the mine by the weather. Two of them did not survive
The mine was plagued by trespassers, incidents, and injuries after the
closure, so Joe put the mine up for sale. A number of people looked into
buying the mine over the next several years, including us.
As part of our due diligence, my husband and
our son explored the site. I'll let my husband tell about that...
As part of our gem and jewelry business activities, we had contacted Joe to
buy some rough amethyst from his personal stash of material left from when he
was operating the mine.
During one of his visits to us, Joe asked why we didn't just buy the mine.
We showed some interest in the idea. We asked Joe to show us the mine. He
declined, saying he was too old to make that five mile trek again. But he
offered to let us go. We stipulated we would have to take someone else along
to carry equipment and help dig. Joe and I also agreed that whatever material
we recovered would belong to my wife.
We asked around town, and two guys contacted us, saying they had worked at
So, armed with four notes from Joe authorizing our presence and activities
at the mine we set out early one morning. The closest road is on the back side
of the peaks, and we were happy to get that close. We parked at the trailhead
and divided the equipment, lunch, and water among the four of us.
Then we set off up a steep trail towards a saddle between peaks one and
two. Up a steep mountainside, with unstable decomposed granite underfoot... it
was the beginning of a real workout
We reached the saddle and the trail took us a few miles across the mountain
below peaks two and three.. When we rounded the shoulder below the third and forth
peaks, we could see the mine site above us, high up in the fold between the
We worked our way up the mountain, finally climbing up the rock rubble and
tailings on the twenty acre mine site itself. Arriving at a bench at the
working level of the mine, we took a little break.
Then the work began. We picked a likely spot on the bench where a promising
vein of fine grained, dark sand was exposed. Here we dug a hole about three or
four feet across, and five feet deep. We all took turns digging while the
others looked through the material extracted, pulling out the crystals.
Some of the crystals were pyramid-shaped, with an ugly brown outer section
and a purple core. Most of the crystals recovered were amethyst, with varying
saturation, from pale pink, to lavender, to rich deep purple. And a few of the
crystals were colorless quartz.
Then it was late afternoon, and time to leave. We divided up the equipment
and almost every crystal we had dug up and headed down the mountainside to the
trail... and the trucks five miles away. We needed to pack out all of the
crystal material so that we could put it through the steps necessary to
transform the rough crystals into faceted gems. There was a lot of material
yielded by that one hole.
Aside from birds, the only wildlife to say was a ring-tailed cat we
encountered on the trail about dusk as we climbed back up the saddle between
peaks two and one. Deer, bear, javalena, and mountain lions inhabit the area,
but we never saw any on this trip.
When we reached the trucks it was full dark and we had had a full day. We
put all of the material in my truck, and I took it home for evaluation...
Our son and I sorted, cobbed, and graded the material, weighing it at each
step. The goal was to determine the actual yield in faceted gems - in various
qualities, sizes, colors and saturation.
We shipped a representative sample (kilos) to Asia for faceting. We had
some preliminary talks with Joe about price and terms during this time. After
receiving the faceted stones from the cutter, we were able to complete our
Deep purple Four Peaks amethyst was commented on very favorably by the
cutters when we received the faceted stones from them.
We then considered factors such as initial investment price, mine improvements
needed, operating costs and difficulties, liabilities, and more. Those factors
were weighed against the probable reserves in the ground, and value of the
gems. We determined that, at the right price and terms, the mine was a viable
We negotiated with Joe, but could not reach a deal. Joe would not take less
than one million dollars, in cash, up front.
Now, I'll turn the story back to Carolyn...
We still have some rough amethyst in stock that we have cut on
occasion. We also have faceted Four Peaks gems in stock in a variety of
shapes and sizes. As you read above, various shades of amethyst come from the
mine. Each shade can be "gemmy" and beautiful on its own. While a
small amount of the amethyst is lighter in color, most is deep purple.
Deep purple Four Peaks amethyst is a very desirable, world
class, gem from Arizona. Many prefer it to African and South American
Top - Deep purple Four Peaks amethyst, emerald cut
Next - Purple Four Peaks amethyst, oval
Next - Four Peaks, as seen from
"the rolls" above Saguaro Lake
Four Peaks after a winter storm,
looking towards the mine high up between the two
Purple Four Peaks amethyst,
Next - The same deep purple Four
Peaks amethyst, along side a piece of Four Peaks rough
Lighter Four Peaks amethyst, 7 mm round
Deep purple Four Peaks amethyst, cushion cut
Next: - Gem special offer - Deep purple Four Peaks
amethyst, pear shape
Next - Industry News - Duchess of Windsor's Cartier
panther bracelet sold at an estate auction to benefit charity
Next - Dealer Product Image - Blue Spinel and White
Topaz Ring in Sterling Silver
Last - Dealer Program Image - Pink Spinel and Sterling
A Google search for links or images using keywords such as amethyst
birthstone or amethyst lore can return some very interesting information and websites.
Here is this month's special gem deal.
Gem: Four Peaks Amethyst... the
We have other shapes, sizes, and
shades of Four Peaks amethyst available.
We keep gem prices low by buying quality gemstone rough
worldwide, and having the rough material cut by our gem cutters in Asia.
Gem Industry News
Cartier Celebrates the 100th
Anniversary of the Panther
The Cartier panther had its debut in 1914. It was an immediate and resounding
success. Since then royalty, near royalty like Wallis
Simpson, movie stars, and other people with lots of money have owned Cartier
watches, bracelets, brooches, rings, and other pieces of the famed panther
In celebration of the 100th Anniversary, Cartier launched a 56 piece ‘Panthère
de Cartier’ collection in September. The 56 pieces vary greatly
in jewelry type, design, and of course, price.
While researching this article, a story on the subject came to my attention
on the ForbesLife website. Their article talked about the price range of
pieces in the new collection...
white gold ring adorned with aquamarine, beryls, emeralds,
onyx and diamonds is undeniably flashy, though the collection also includes more
subtle and refined options, such as the $22,700 yellow gold and diamond pendant.