Back in the 1800's the Last Chance Silver Mine in Creede, Colorado was in full swing producing silver and other less important minerals. The Creede mines offered the famed amethyst vein, a remarkable deposit of high-grade silver ore rich in argentite and galena and flecked with gleaming bits of native silver, all in a matrix of pastel-colored, banded agate and purple amethyst. It makes fine display specimens, slabs and polishes well, and can be worked into everything from pendants and cabochons to panels for Tiffany-style lampshades. The mine spoils were piled for over fifty years before it was declared to contain this semi-precious stone. An early rock pioneer saw the gorgeous amethyst poking out of the mine spoils and he slabbed a chunk and decided to call it Sowbelly because it looked lacy and like bacon to him. It seems that the agate was a hated part of the mining operation because of how darn hard the stuff was on their equipment. Now it is a loved semi-precious stone and during the summer season, some 15 to 20 rockhounds and mining-history buffs visit the mine every day. And yes, there are some black silver ore in the agate to boot!! -WET pic.-(9 lbs.)
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