The Texas State Gem
Topaz, the state gem of Texas, is found within the borders of the state only in Mason County. It occurs in granite outcroppings principally in the Streeter, Grit, and Katemcy areas. It is usually found in streambeds and ravines but occasionally can be located atop the ground.
Topaz resembles quartz and ranges in color from clear to brown to yellow to sky blue. The blue stones are especially beautiful when faceted in the Lone Star cut.
Items you will need with which to hunt topaz are a pick and shovel and a wire screen with about ¼ inch mesh. Small pieces of topaz can sometimes be found by sifting dirt through the screen. A nice-to-have but optional item is a chemical called bromoform. Topaz will sink in this chemical, whereas the less dense quartz it so resembles will float. WARNING: bromoform is highly toxic and should be handled with care, and kept away from children.
You can enjoy topaz hunting throughout the year except during the months of November, December and early January, when the ranches are closed for deer season. Since digging is often required to find stones, topaz hunting is more pleasant when done during the cooler months. The week following a rain is an excellent time to hunt topaz, since the ground is softer and easier to dig.
Currently, only three Mason County ranches offer public topaz hunting. They charge by the day; you keep what you find. Some very nice stones have been found in this way. In fact, since there is no commercial mining of Mason County topaz, hunting it yourself is one of the main ways of finding it. You may hunt topaz at either of the following ranches.
Bar M Ranch: Guests are invited to search Honey Creek for topaz. There is no commercial mining of topaz in our area. Bar M Ranch offers everyone the opportunity to search for (and keep, of course!) the gem. For 2015, we offer topaz hunting from February 1st-September 30th. Individual or group hunting – $15 per person per day. Equipment rental available (1/4″ screens, small shovels) – $6 per unit per day. www.barmranchservices.com You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 830-203-1611 (cell) or 325-265-4223 (land line).
Seaquist Ranch: Charges $20 per person per day. Children ages 7-12 are $10 per day, and children under 7 are free. Contact Mike Seaquist for first hunt at 325-347-5413. Two Day Advanced Reservations are required and hunts are scheduled for mornings only. www.masontexastopaz.com
Lindsay Ranch: All rock hounders must stay in one of the guests houses located on the property to dig for stones. The cost to dig per person is $15.00/day. Please call us to make your reservations to stay with us today (325-347-4052). Look us up online at www.lindsayranch.net
Take US 87 north from the Mason Courthouse 4 miles north of town. You’ll see the sign for Lindsay Ranch Road on your left, as well as a sign for their Comanche Creek lodging facility.
REMEMBER: DO NOT TRESPASS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY AT ANY TIME.