Highlights of Collecting Trips

When possible, Cortney loves to collect his own minerals and gemstones, and Anne has learned right by his side. Their international collecting trips include Australia (2007), Namibia (Africa, 2011 and 2015), and Bulgaria (2016). Southwestern collecting trips include visits to Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.


Australia 2007


Fossicking in Lightning Ridge, Australia  

Sapphire hunting in Inverell

Anne & Cortney underground

Their guide was D&J Rare Gems; there were a dozen travelers + driver/guide 

Namibia, Africa 2011 & 2015


Tourmaline buying in Tubussis

Hoba Meteorite

Miners' Camp in Goboboseb

Their guide was Doug Colter of Geodite; there were 5 couples + guide & daughter

Anne & Cortney traveled within the northern half of Namibia; there was no collecting allowed, so all purchases were from native miners and rock shops. They obtained:
  • schorl, demantoid garnets, aquamarine from Tubussis
  • amethyst and smoky quartz from Goboboseb mining camp near Brandberg Mountains
  • Tsumeb minerals from rock shops in Omaruru,Okorusu, Swakopmund and Windhoek  

Namibia, Africa 2015

  This was a repeat of the 2011 trip with more time and flexibility.

This tour was lead by our great friends Pat Tucci and Zelda Bailey, the new owners of Geodite and long-term mineral dealers from the Colorado Front Range area. As this was the first tour offered by the new Geodite, it was dubbed the “Guinea Pig” tour and several appropriate mascots accompanied us on the trip.

Namibia is the first country in the world to incorporate the protection of the environment into its constitution. Some 14% of the land is protected, this in a country slightly more than half the size of Alaska. The terrain is mostly high plateau with the Namib desert along the coast and the Kalahari Desert in the east. It looks a lot like southwestern New Mexico, especially if you replace the mesquite with acacia trees. The tropic of Capricorn runs through the middle of the country. Namibia has a desert climate, it is hot, dry, and rainfall is very sparse and erratic. We arrived at the end of the rainy season and into their autumn. Still hot in the north (Etosha) yet foggy and cooler along the coast (Swakopmund).

Our primary objective for visiting Namibia was the purchase of minerals. We were able to purchase the following minerals while in the country:

Almandine (garnet), Amethyst (quartz), Anglesite, Aquamarine (beryl), Azurite, Calcite with Phlogopite, Carrusite, Dementoid (garnet), Dioptase, Epidote, Fluorapatite, Fluorite, Halite, Prhenite, Smoky Quartz, Topaz, and Tourmaline.

Highlights of our trip included visits to the village of Tubissis for minerals, the settlement of Uis and outlying Gobobseb for minerals, the Cheetah Conservation Fund, the town of Tsumeb and its museam, the Hoba meteorite, Etosha National (wildlife) Park with thousands of animals, the town of Swakopmund along the Skeleton Coast (Atlantic ocean) along with the Kristalle Gallerie and Namib Sand Dunes, the Cape Cross seal colony and salt deposits, the Uiba-Oas Crystals Market (Spitzkoppe open-air Market) for more mineral shopping, and the capital city of Windhoek. We spent eighteen days in-country.


Bulgaria 2016


Underground Copper mine - Balkan Mountains

Opal Ledge

Buying Agates in Plovdiv Bulgaria 

Their guide was Ivan Pojarevski of Bulgarian Minerals & Gems Co.; there were 2 couples.

 The guide was a native Bulgarian geologist/mineral dealer who worked throughout the country both under Russian occupation and since independence in 1990 and established the first Bulgarian "rock shop."

Anne & Cortney traveled to 2 underground mines in the Western Balkan Mountains (copper minerals), 1 underground mine in the Rhodope Mountains (sphalerite & galena), numerous surface collecting areas (agates, jasper, opal, amethyst & petrified wood). They purchased various minerals from local miners in the Madan area, Plovdiv & Sophia.


Western United States Collecting

Mt. Anterio, Colorado 2008

A topaz, ice cube size!
The Busse Claim

Over the years Cortney (often with Anne) has collected from many of the western US states. Here are some of the states and what they collected:

Arizona - Patagonia jasper, quartz, petrified wood, fire agate, turquoise, copper minerals, apache tears, hemimorphite, geodes, travertine, wulfenite

California - kyanite, dumortierite

Colorado - peridot, smoky quartz, garnet, beryl (aquamarine), topaz, amazonite

Idaho -  jasper, schorl, agate

Montana - sapphire, amethyst/smoky quartz

Nevada - opal, garnet, smoky quartz, turquoise

New Mexico - peridot, turquoise, marine fossils, staurolite, Harding pegmatite, Mn minerals, fluorite, petrified wood, Pecos diamonds, calcite, sunstone

Oregon - sunstone, obsidian, opal, snake-skin agate

South Dakota - pegmatites

Texas - petrified wood

Utah - jasper

Wyoming - petrified wood, fossil fish