Acanthite from the Bulldog Mine, outside of Creede, Colorado, on a Barite matrix.

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Acanthite has a hardness of 2 – 2½ and a specific gravity of 7.2 – 7.4, Native Silver has a hardness of 2½ – 3 and specific gravity of 10.1 – 11.1, and Barite rates in at 3 and 4.5. canthite was named in 1855 by Gustav Adolf Kenngott from the Greek άκανθα (“akantha”) meaning “thorn”, in allusion to the thorn-like crystal shape of his material. With the advent of instrumental analytical equipment, it was discovered that the mineral called “argentite” which had isometric crystal shapes was structurally and chemically identical to acanthite. Its Type Locality is Jáchymov, Karlovy Vary District, Karlovy Vary Region, Czech Republic. Roughly estimating, it seems Acanthite has been found in at least 181 localities within Colorado alone, and in so many more places around the globe. It needs not be said, but definitely be sure to keep an eye out for a rock likes this!

Besides that Acanthite was a prize for miners, the Silver definitely was! This rock would make for one cool sample for element collectors, and one special piece of history for Colorado mineral collectors! is a fascinating read on the history of Creede and the Bulldog Mine, but a few of the paragraphs taken from there – The Town of Creede sits at the lofty elevation of 8,799 feet in southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. In some circles, it’s referred to as the “Second Leadville” and was the center of mining activities for Mineral County. From 1891 through 1985, the Creede Mining district reportedly produced 85.7 million ounces of silver (Huston 2005) – having a value of about two billion dollars in today’s silver prices. The Creede area has hosted floods of miners, merchants, motley assortments of characters drawn to rowdy boomtowns, along with world-renowned silver mines, including its latter day “crown jewel”, the Bulldog Mountain mine.

Although the Creede area was prospected extensively beginning in the 1890s, Bulldog Mountain and its rich silver ores remained relatively untouched by the early prospectors. The Homestake Mining Company’s exploration would find a silver bonanza under the slopes of Bulldog Mountain in 1964. The company’s Bulldog Mountain mine would go on to produce 25.3 million ounces of silver – that’s over 790 tons of the precious metal, worth more than $600,000,000 based on the current value of silver – and 48.6 million pounds of lead (Huston, 2005; Eckel 1997).

In the 1920’s, a prospectus was published by a company called the Bulldog Leasing, Mining and Milling Company. The company held property on Bulldog Mountain, near Creede in Mineral County, Colorado. A statement in this prospectus read: “our own Bulldog lode may yet prove to be the great undiscovered mother lode of Creede.” Marketing hype or not, it would prove prophetic (Huston 2005). During the period 1969 to 1985, Bulldog Mountain was Colorado’s largest producer of silver and the fourth largest producer of Silver in the US!


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