Elk Creek, South Dakota Barite

Each summer, we help mine barite crystals at the Elk Creek locality in Meade County, South Dakota. This locality has long been known for some of the world's finest golden barite crystals, which have rich amber color, transparent interiors, and often superb luster and aesthetic placement on yellow calcite matrix. They are found in large (up to 6+ feet across) septarian nodules in the lower horizons of the Pierre Shale, a Cretaceous-age formation exposed in many creek and river banks in west-central South Dakota. While fine barite crystals have been known from this area since at least the late 19th century (Ulke 1891; Dana 1896), the crystals recovered using mechanized equipment by our team in recent years are among the best even found at the locality.

While mining the large barite-bearing concretions from the Creek Bank is relatively easy, trimming and preparing fine barite specimens is no trivial task. To start with, less than 10% of all concretions found contain barite crystals, and those with barite often have crystals which have grown in very small, tight open spaces, requiring careful trimming to avoid damaging the soft crystals. Luckily, our mineral specimen lab has decades of experience dealing with these unique specimens, and the specimens offered for sale here have all been through extensive preparation to turn them into the artful pieces you see.  Enjoy this web collection and if you don't see what you're looking for or would like to inquire about a specific specimen, don't hesitate to send us an email at: minerals@collectorsedge.com, or phil@collectorsedge.com 

You can read more about the complete history of our specimen mining project at Elk Creek here