The Creede Mining district is situated near 10,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado and is considered a classic example of an epithermal Pb-Zn-Ag-Au system, with over 100 known veins exploited by dozens of mines. While mining activity is currently dormant, from 1891 through 1985 Creede produced 85.7 million ounces of silver, as well as significant amounts of lead, zinc, and gold (Huston 2005).
The Commodore mine is perhaps the most famous mine in the district, and features hundreds of kilometers of workings on numerous different levels of the Amethyst Vein system. As the name might suggest, the Amethyst vein system was rich in well-crystallized minerals, including sphalerite, chalcopyrite, galena, amethystine quartz, native silver, and more. The Amethyst vein system formed around 25 million years ago when hydrothermal fluids carrying metals traveled through a series of steep faults related to the episodic eruption and collapse of the Creede Caldera (Rosemeyer 2010).
Mining at the Commodore mine reached it's peak around WWII and slowly declined thereafter, ending in 1972 when the Emperius Mining Company closed the mine along with it's extensive milling operation on the site (Rosemeyer 2010). Around 2001, however, former miners as well as specimen collecting professionals associated with Collector's Edge Minerals had the opportunity to enter the mine workings and recover fine specimens of sphalerite, galena, chalcopyrite, and amrthyst during EPA-mandated reclamation efforts. The mine is now closed off and it is unlikely that good mineral specimens will be found there again. We are happy to offer some fine specimens from this operation; true "Colorado Classics" and quite showy as well.
Left: A 1910 Postcard view of the Commodore Mine and Mill (John Taylor collection/Tom Rosemeyer 2010) Right: A June 2009 Photo of downtown Creede (Mark Vendl photo)