October 15, 2004
WSGS Releases a New Report on Iolite Deposits

Two additional iolite (water sapphire) deposits in Wyoming have now been identified through recent field reconnaissance by the Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS). W. Dan Hausel, Senior Economic Geologist at the WSGS has prepared an eight-page unedited report on the deposits, Open File Report OFR04-14. Due to extensive interest in the discovery, the report will be available Friday, October 22, 2004 at 11 am. For fairness of all interested parties, on that day the report will only be available for pickup in person at the WSGS building on the University of Wyoming campus in Laramie. After October 22, 2004 you may order a copy of the report via phone, fax, or email. The cost for this report will be $4.00 plus 6% sales tax.

Field reconnaissance by Hausel a few years ago led to the discovery of a significant poly-gemstone deposit containing some of the better iolite rough found in the world, and gems weighing more than 1500 carats were recovered along with some sapphire, ruby and semi-precious kyanite. Iolite is a very attractive gemstone that tends to change color from violet blue to light grey-blue when rotated in natural light (see http://www.wsgs.wyo.gov/metals/gemstones.aspx). Currently, there are few sources of the gemstone other than Sri Lanka and a few scattered occurrences elsewhere in the world, making this an important discovery.

Prior to 3 decades ago, very few gemstones were known in Wyoming other than jade, agate, and jasper. However, the WSGS has been one of the more successful government surveys in the world at finding new mineral deposits. Now gem-quality diamonds, rubies, sapphires, peridot, pyrope garnet (cape rubies), chromian diopside, chromian enstatite, heliodor, opal, aquamarine, kyanite, and iolite are recognized in the state thanks to work by the WSGS and others. According to Hausel, Wyoming's geology is favorable for the discovery of additional gem, semi-precious gem, ornamental stone, and precious metal deposits.

Press Release
from the Office of the Wyoming State Geologist
Ron Surdam, State Geologist