Collecting Peridot in New Mexico – Olivine Bombs at Kilbourne Hole – Find Green Rocks in a Volcano!

One of the more common questions that is asked about where to find specific minerals is…”Where can I find Peridot
With the distinctive green color and hardness that lends itself to faceting, along with being a popular gemstone from antiquity, the gem variety of the common mineral Olivine is often a subject of rockhounds.

Peridot Grains in a Volcanic Bomb of basalt

Peridot Grains in a Volcanic Bomb of basalt – Notice the larger grains on the left side of the photo. These grain are almost large enough to produce a cut stone.


Large, beautifully formed crystals of gem peridot were mined on an island in the Red Sea, off the coast of Egypt. These peridot crystals were a staple of the green gems associated with Egyptian royalty. Today, fine crystals of peridot are mined out of Pakistan, but is more to peridot than crystals, there is gem rough! One out of this world example is peridot being found inside meteorites that have landed on earth. These meteorites, when sliced, show the gem quality inside, metallic webs wrapping a dark olive color, which can be cut into gemstones. The other type of peridot to be found is gem rough that forms alongside volcanic eruptions, forming “peridot bombs” or Xenoliths. A xenolith is a fragment of rock that gets caught up in a flow, in this case, chunks of peridot were caught up in the lava erupting from the ground, creating these chunks of black basalt in which lumps of cracked, fragmented peridot can be found. Not every lava flow has peridot, but when they do, they become noted to rockhounds all over the world.

Kilbourne Hole Satellite Overview Map from Google Maps

Kilbourne Hole Satellite Overview Map from Google Maps – Peridot is found all around, best places are to the North East.


One of these lava flows containing peridot, that is open to collecting, is the Kilbourne Hole, located a few dozen miles outside of El Paso Texas, in New Mexico. Just think of that, readers in El Paso, Las Cruces, Western Texas, rejoice, a site for you! For the rest of us, a long drive! Kilbourne Hole is a place where one can explore and discover gem peridot – a trip for those with a AWD or 4×4 vehicle, as this is a sandy area with poor dirt roads. The lava flows that created this area were low erupting, not like what you have in mind in terms of a tall cinder cone, but rather a very wide crater, windswept and buried under millions of tons of sand. To collect here, you can either walk around the areas where chunks of dark black basalt are laying, chipping at them to see if they have peridot inside, or work into the walls of the flow, where you can see the layer with the basalt. It doesn’t always jump out at you!

When you are looking for gem peridot, it is all about size and color. You want clean green and a size large enough to cut away at in order to make a gemstone.

Large Peridot Grain ready to be faceted

Large Peridot Grain ready to be faceted

Two Peridot Lava Bomb Samples and one large grain, ready to be faceted

Two Peridot Lava Bomb Samples and one large grain, ready to be faceted

Google Map Directions to Kilbourne Hole Peridot Location

Google Map Directions to Kilbourne Hole Peridot Location

Close Up of Kilbourne Hole Rim Peridote Location East Side

Close Up of Kilbourne Hole Rim Peridot Location East Side – Notice the two thin dirt roads going around the perimeter of the Lava Crater.

Close up view of Peridot Grains in a Basalt Volcanic Matrix

Close up view of Peridot Grains in a Basalt Volcanic Matrix

Now, if Kilbourne Hole is too far for you to go – Check out our fun Gem Hunt – Gem Rough Mining Kit!
We have 12 gem rough, including Peridot, found in every kit, which featured a brick of hard sand, just add water to the box and then search with the included tweezers through the thick sand for your gems, sort them into the included gem cups and identify them and learn about gemstone mining and identify what you found in our 16 page full color Gems 101 Booklet – Perfect for ages 5 and up, Is it good for a science minded 7 year old? Yes! It is for EVERYONE who wants to play around and find real gemstone crystals. You always get a Herkimer Diamond, a Blue Zircon, Green Peridot and much more – Buy one through this page and get a FREE Peridot Xenolith, just like the ones on this page – Until December 15th –

Gem Hunt - Mine Your Own Gem Rough - Educational Toy Kit

Buy one of these from us before December 15th and get a FREE Peridot Xenolith with your order!


For $34.99 plus $8.99 shipping to USA – You get one of these high quality Gem Hunt kits, a perfect gift idea for almost all ages – Plus a Peridot “Bomb” approx 2 inches in size! Order one now, supplies are limited! Use the button below to order via PayPal or email FortySevenPress@gmail.com – re: GemHunt Peridot Order





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Rock Hounding for Agates in SouthWest Texas

Rock Hounding West Texas for Agate and many other great finds
By Erin Balzrette
for Katy Rock Shop
http://www.katyrockshop.com

Agate from South-Western Texas

Above: Banded Agate from the Alpine Texas area

After rock hounding in Texas with a guide as amazing as Frank Roberts of Austin, Texas, Dawn and I felt ready to go it alone. Also, we begged Frank to come if we got lost or could not identify what we were seeing, and he emailed us all weekend to be sure we were safe. Like I said, we “went it alone”, with Frank on stand-by. We grabbed a copy of The Gem Trails of Texas by Brad Lee Cross and decided to head out.

Agate from South-Western Texas

Above: Classic Agate from the Alpine Texas area

I called Paul at Moonlight Gemstone, of Marfa, TX, (432-729-4526) Bruce Huff, of Katy Rock Shop has a great respect for his beautiful work as do I, and I could not wait to see it for myself, and meet him. The Marfa agate is breathtaking. Paul Graybeal has exclusive rights to the private property in which most of Marfa agate is found. He explained that access to for us to do some hounding would not be possible. He keeps names or locations of land owners who place trust in him to protect their land from sought after agate to himself. It is easy to see why he protects the agate he does. It should be protected, and the land owners have the right to feel their trust has been in no way misplaced. Instead, he invited us to come see him work! This was an incredible offer that I was not about to miss! Paul is thoughtful, generous, patient and kind. I was as impressed by the man, as I was by the work he did, and the agate that surrounded us. Spending the afternoon watching him work, letting us work with him, learn from him, was and experience I will not forget.

Agate from Western Texas

Above: FIRE AGATE from the Alpine Texas area

We couldn’t wait to get to Woodward Ranch (WoodwardRanch.com) famous for the beautiful red plume agate only found there. There is so much more to find at the ranch! The Labradorite is a clear yellow! Opals that are gorgeous, and what she calls “yard art” is some of the most beautiful I have seen. (Yard art … no charge!) $6.00 a person, you are given a detailed map, a quick learner’s course, and shoos you before it gets too hot! When you return she counts it out, $6.00 a lb. for agate. We each left paying 18 dollars, 2 lbs. of agate, and many more lbs. of “yard art” so beautiful I am thrilled to have found it. A few items I collected from this trip are on my website. She was a delightful woman who spoke of her late husband Trey in a way that made you want to sit all day and talk to her. I, like so many others, are so grateful that Woodward Ranch is still operating and allowing others to see the wonder it has to offer.

Terri Smith of Alpine, TX, emailed to explain that she will set up Agate “Hunts” for you, a group, or family, in the fall. THE FALL when it’s….cooler? Terri is the logical one here. And so we will go back in the fall and go to the Ranches able to be hounded at that time on the tours given. The email was very nice and suggested that we try the book I had bought for the journey. I was grateful for the advice, and that I had picked the right book! I have heard only great things about Terri and her extensive knowledge of the area and experience.

“The Gem Trails of Texas Book” by Brad Lee Cross, was for our purposes to the mile, correct and accurate in its description of findings, and location. We found beautiful Jasper at the picnic table Jasper sight 8 miles from Marathon. Exactly as the book said. Amazon is one seller that carries the Gem Trails Series.

Agate from South-Western Texas

Above: Iron Rich Agate Geode from the Alpine Texas area

The West Texas Agate was a trip we will never forget, filled with beautiful surprises showing in each piece you see from that area. While visiting the Katy Rock Shop, you will see pieces from all over Needle Peak, Woodward, Marfa, and so much more and it is all there waiting to show you the beauty of West Texas.

Please find links to Katy Rock Shop, Terri Smith, Moonlight Gemstone, Woodward Ranch, Frank Roberts, and more at my website www.treeclimbersjewelry.com. Pieces I collected during this trip are displayed on the site as well.

Agate from South-Western Texas

Above: Iron Rich Carnelian Agate from the Alpine Texas area

Here at WhereToFindRocks.com we love using Hotels.com to find places to stay while out rockhounding!
And you never know when that hole in the ground is going to require working after hours on, so with Hotels.com,
No hotels.com Change or Cancel fees on lodging bookings!
So, find a hotel around Marfa, Texas or Alpine Texas and get out and collect some Agates!

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