Rock hounds find lots of great opportunities for discovering minerals and rock specimens in the Ruby Valley. Here is some preliminary information – however PLEASE make sure you are not trespassing and that you follow the federal state and local rules and regulations. It is your responsibility to follow these regulations. Remember – these are there to allow all of us to enjoy collecting.
Geocaching is an outdoor sport that involves the use of a Global Positioning System ("GPS") receiver to find a "geocache" (or "cache") placed anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small, waterproof container containing a logbook and "treasure". Geocaching is a unique take on an earlier game called Letterboxing in that it uses two recent technologies, the GPS and the Internet. Participants are called geocachers. 1 For sites Geocaching Sites in the Sheridan area visit this link.
Sheridan Montana is located in the heart of the Ruby Valley - surrounded by 7 different mountain ranges (6 unique geological formations) Mining was the main reason for its existence. As such there are a ton of areas you can go dig around in - especially in the mine tailings. (We do not suggest anyone try to go into the mines themselves (especially without permission).
You can find additional information by visiting the page on mines (there is some very good descriptions of the geology of the area included)
We would also encourage you to look at the Virginia City Web Site. Both Virginia City and Nevada city as well as Alder provide "pay for sites" for gold and garnet (but if you know what you are doing you can find garnet about everywhere.)If you want a great book try to getRuppel, E. T. and Liu, Y. / THE GOLD MINES OF THE VIRGINIA CITY MINING DISTRICT, MADISON COUNTY, MONTANA, Butte, pb, 79 pages, 2 plates (in pocket), 26 figs. An excellent guide to the mines in the area. Ed Ruppel also did the geological mapping in the area as part of the USGS. You can buy the book at MS BOOK AND MINERAL COMPANY Mining History and Geology of the United States
Crystal Park features public diggings for smokey, amethyst and clear quartz crystals. More information can be found at GORP including directions!You can also find plenty of crystals and unique rocks along the ridge lines and scree slopes around Branham Lakes. From town drive east on Mill Creek Road. The campground and site is located approximately 9 miles from town. It is a dirt road and is maintained by the forest service although large trailers are not allowed.
Finally there is some information to be found at Goldwest.
Lest we forget the material wealth gems have brought - some times we need to go beyond the chemical and physical nature of the gemstone that have been forged from the earth. In this dialogue extracted from the Umberto Eco's "The Name of the Rose" he captures a different appreciation for gems. This dialogue takes place between the Abbott "discourses on the language of gems" with Adso:
The ring sparkled with all the brilliance of its stones.
"You recognize it, do you not?" he said to me. "The symbol of my authority, but also of my burden. It is not an ornament: it is a splendid syllogy of the divine word whose guardian I am." With his fingers he touched the stone-or, rather, the arrangement of variegated stones composing that admirable masterpiece of human art and nature. "This is amethyst," he said, "which is the mirror of humility and reminds us of the ingenuousness and sweetness of Saint Matthew; this is chalcedony, mark of charity, symbol of piety of Joseph and Saint James the greater; this is jasper, which bespeaks faith and is associated with Saint Peter; and sardonyx, sign of martyrdom, which recalls Saint Bartholomew; this is sapphire, hope and contemplation, the stone of Saint Andrew and Saint Paul; and beryl, sound doctrine, learning, and longanimity, the virtues of Saint Thomas.... How splendid the language of gems is," he went on, lost in mystical vision, "which the lapidaries of tradition have translated from the reasoning of Aaron and the description of the heavenly Jerusalem in the book of the apostle. For that matter the walls of Zion were decked with the same jewels that decorated the pectoral of Moses's brother, except the carbuncle, agate and onyx, which, mentioned in Exodus, are replaced in the Apocalypse by chalcedony, sardonyx, chrysoprase, and jacinth."
He moved the ring and dazzled my eyes with its sparkling, as if he wanted to stun me. "Marvelous language, is it not? For other fathers stones signify still other things. For Poe Innocent the Third the ruby announce calm and patience; the garnet, charity. For Saint Bruno aquamarine concentrates theological learning in the virtue of its purest rays. Turquoise signifies joy; sardonyx suggests the seraphim; topaz, the cherubim; jasper, thrones; chrysolite, dominions; sapphire, the virtue; onyx, the powers; beryl, principalities; ruby archangels; and emeralds, angels. The language of the gems is multiform; each expresses several truths, according to the sense of the selected interpretation according to the context in which they appear."