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 one Mason County ranch offers public topaz hunting. 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.
Lindsay Ranch: charges $20 per person per day (18 & over), $10 (12-18 years old) and free for children under 12 years old. The ranch has two B&B’s if needed. Please call before going to hunt, at 325-347-4052 or may email firstname.lastname@example.org. The ranch is closed during hunting season, so best to call to make sure they are open. The ranch website is 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.