We never tire of watching the purple shadows slipping across 4 Peaks and the Mazatzals at sunset. But unlike the ‘pot of gold at the end of the rainbow’, our beautiful amethyst-colored hills actually contain that popular gem! Sami Fine Jewelry in Fountain Hills is fortunate to be the exclusive purveyor of 4 Peaks Amethyst, one of the most intensely-colored Amethyst varieties in the World. And Sami’s offers a rare opportunity to tour this amazing mine—accessible only on foot or helicopter—during their twice-yearly “I Took a Peak” Mine Tour.
4 Peaks Amethyst in 5 Country’s Crown Jewels
As the light reflects a fiery magenta spark within the deep aubergine-colored stones, it’s easy to see why the Spanish explorers took this very same 4 Peaks Amethyst back to the Old World to grace the crown jewels of 5 European countries. And you’ll feel that sense of history as you embark on this adventure of a lifetime atop 4 Peaks, or WeKoPa, a mountain held sacred for centuries by Native Americans long before the Spanish discovered its treasure.
Become an Amethyst Miner for a Day
The helicopter trip is exciting in itself, but the second you step onto the tennis court-sized landing and walk to the mouth of the mine on a path paved with glittering crushed lavender amethyst, you might hear the Seven Dwarfs singing “Hi Ho, Hi Ho” to Snow White in the back of your memory. But these glittering stones give you a measure of how many un-usable crystals are chipped out of the mine—by hand, with a hammer and chisel—to produce a single gem-quality nugget.
4 Peaks Amethyst is Unique in the World
Unlike the typical geode clusters of Amethyst crystals, the 4 peaks amethyst is found in very large single crystals embedded in the granite of the mining cavern. The unique color of the stones is a product of high concentrations of manganese and iron which is also visible in the reddish color of the granite walls.
As a visiting ‘Miner’ you will don protective headgear, including lighted helmet, hammer and chisel and will be guided by one of the resident miners how to find and dislodge an amethyst crystal. You’ll notice that the mine is reinforced with sturdy timbers, and lighted by generator-driven lights. Each timber is painted with an iridescent green arrow pointing toward the mouth of the mine that keeps you oriented deep inside the mountain.
It is intense work—every stone is harvested individually, evaluated, sent to a professional lapidary to be cut to best advantage, and then returned to Sami’s for design and setting. Most of the harvested crystals will be too light to be considered gem quality. But if you have beginner’s luck on your mining adventure, you might just find a perfect amazing stone for the ages. In Greek mythology, amethyst is said to ward off drunkenness, so even a medium quality stone will be a great find!
There is a little sadness in the helicopter ride back to reality. You’ll see the silver of the life-giving creeks flowing with snow melt, and sometimes the coyotes and deer of the Tonto National Forest. But some part of you will want to go right back and do it again—just to be sure it was real and not just a dream.