Joe Dorris is a lifetime mineral collector and miner, having spent 40 years in Colorado, predominately prospecting for and mining NYF pegmatites for amazonite and smoky quartz specimens. He grew up in Idaho where as a youngster he first hunted sapphires and garnets and as a teenager eventually discovered some remote pegmatite localities. He graduated the US Air Force Academy with a life science degree and later earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Montana. Following a twenty-year career as an Air Force officer, Joe taught high school earth science and biology and coached soccer. He began full-time mining in 2006 although he previously spent every weekend and vacation mining in the region since his days as a cadet. He is married to Susan and their three children, Scott, Timothy, and Krystle grew up mining and collecting minerals. Joe is also an artist and has written three novels on 19th Century life in Central Idaho, particularly mining. Recently, he and his family have uncovered some of the finest amazonite and smoky quartz specimens yet found and have been featured on the Prospectors TV series.
Since the late 1870s, the Crystal Peak District in Colorado has produced the world’s finest amazonite and smoky quartz specimens. Recent mining, predominately by the Joe Dorris family, has seen some remarkable new finds from the District that many had deemed nearly exhausted. This presentation will focus on Joe’s efforts since the early 90s to use mechanized equipment and new techniques to mine the deeper pegmatite structures which had never been tapped. It will touch on some of the characteristics of the pegmatites he has discovered, in particular the pocket structures, formation, and mineralization. Focus will also be on the recovery and preparation of specimens and several highlights of numerous exciting finds from recent noteworthy pockets.