Brief by Central Staff
Colorado lore – April 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine
We had thought that Colorado was pretty well covered when it comes to Official State Emblems, which range from the Blue Spruce Tree to the Stegosaurus Fossil, from the Lark Bunting Bird to the Bighorn Sheep Mammal, from the Cutthroat Trout Fish to the Aquamarine Gemstone.
However, there was a deficiency — no Official State Mineral, and that could be significant, since the mineral industry is enshrined with the crossed pick and hammer on our Official State Seal.
Earth science students at Platte Canyon High School in Park County have gone to work curing that deficiency by lobbying the legislature to declare rhodochrosite the Official State Mineral.
Like the students, rhodochrosite comes from Park County. It’s a translucent red crystal form of magnesium carbonate, and the best examples come from the Sweet Home Mine above Alma. (See the June, 1995, edition of Colorado Central for an article about the mine; it’s on the web at www.coloradocentralmagazine.com/archive/cc1995/00160247/htm.)
State Rep. Carl Miller, the Leadville Democrat who introduced the rhodochrosite bill, observed that the mineral is an appropriate symbol, since it’s a Colorado product, and because it’s red, and Colorado means red in Spanish.