The Cardwell family is one of several showcased on The Weather Channel’s Prospectors, a reality TV show that premiered in March 2013 and follows miners in the Colorado Rocky Mountains as they look for precious metals and gems.
The show documents many aspects of mining one of Colorado's highest peaks, such as the dangers of high-altitude lightning, rock falls, cave-ins, and whiteouts while digging for valuable rocks.
Treasures and Gifts from Mt. Antero, Colorado
Mt. Antero Treasures, located in Buena Vista, Colorado, creates and sells jewelry made with precious gems mined from nearby Mt. Antero.
At 14,275 feet, Mt. Antero is one of Colorado’s highest peaks. Though treacherous, its landscape is home to some of the world’s richest mineral deposits.
Mt. Antero was first mined for beryllium in 1952 by Grady Cardwell. In time, however, he discovered a rich resource for several types of gems. With growing demand for such gems, the Cardwell family began mining for aquamarine, blue topaz, phenakite crystals, purple and blue fluorite, and more.
Today, Cardwell’s mining operation is run by his grandson, Craig Cardwell, and Craig’s wife, Tracie. Using rough cut gems mined from Mt. Antero, Craig and Tracie work with cut houses and jewelers across the country to create beautifully set rings, earrings, and necklaces—pieces available for purchase at their Buena Vista storefront or online.
About the Cardwells
Craig Cardwell is a fourth-generation miner, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
At their start, the Cardwell family mined for beryllium. However, in the 1950s, after several lodes of gems and minerals were discovered on the family’s Mt. Antero stake, the business shifted to mining, faceting, and selling the many precious gems found on top of one of Colorado’s highest peaks. But this remained a side business, as mining could only take place three months out of the year.
Craig, who studied Mechanical Drafting and Design atTexas State Technical Institute, continued running the gem business on the side while pursuing a career in engineering. However, under his direction, gem sales grew, and soon, Craig was trading his full-time engineering career for his real passion—mining and selling precious Colorado gems and minerals. With this, Mt. Antero Treasures was born.
Today, Craig and his wife Tracie run a four-man crew that mines for aquamarine, blue topaz, and other gems and minerals on the family’s Mt. Antero stake. From machine-excavating to hand-digging, he says there’s a “symphony to the madness.”
With rough-cut gems in hand, Craig works with cut houses and designers to create the finished products found in his Buena Vista, Colorado storefront and online—unique pieces of jewelry that include rings, earrings, necklaces, and more.
As the daughter of a New Mexican potash miner, Tracie was no stranger to mining when she met Craig at the age of eighteen in Dallas, Texas. From friendship to marriage in 2004, she and Craig have formed a perfect partnership as each has discovered a passion for mining gems on Mt. Antero.
When Tracie first began extracting gems, she noticed how soft her hands had become and how shiny the mud was. Intrigued, she started rubbing the mud on her face and arms. To her delight, her skin felt plumper, more nourished, and well exfoliated.
In 2007, Tracie became an esthetician and developed her own line of skin care products made of the unique, mineral-rich clay found on Mt. Antero. Made of 33 different minerals, Gemclay feeds the skin and body with vitamins that prevent aging.
With a storefront in Buena Vista, Colorado, just miles from the base of Mt. Antero, Tracie not only sells Gemclay but also offers a full line of services that include waxing, facials, microdermabrasion, and more.
Mt Antero Treasures
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