Rock Hounding for Michigan Copper

Studio Notes: Rocking Copper

Copper Country in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a long, long, long way from everything. But at specific mines you can comb through piles of rock with a metal detector in summer. Free! When you hear “DIT DIT SCREECH, WHINE DIT DIT DIT,” you know that low-grade copper ore is within inches. Then, back home in your studio, you can cut into this material, and Wow! Pretty veins of bright metal swim through the matrix rock.

An Easier Way

Not a rock hunter? Pick up slabs or cabs during a road trip to copper’s epicenter on the Keweenaw Peninsula. The region is about 450 miles from Chicago, 350 miles from Minneapolis and forever from Detroit.

Here are a few places to check out:

  • Da Yoopers Rock Knockers Rock Shop at 490 North Steel St., in Ishpeming. They’ll give you a basic education on Michigan rocks.
  • A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum, 1404 East Sharon Ave., at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. You’ll discover the wealth of gems that ring the Great Lakes.
  • Prospector’s Paradise, 59691 US 41 north of Calumet. Buyer beware, tho. I adore the proprietor, but check online reviews.
  • Swede’s Gift Shop & Keweenaw Minerals, US 41, Copper Harbor

I also buy Michigan copper in matrix from Raymond Just and Jean Mitchell of Northern Michigan Minerals in Calumet. You can find them on Facebook. Wanna phone number? Contact me.


Watch for Betsy’s story on Colorado diamonds and her easy demo for setting diamond crystals in the September/October, 2017, issue of <em>Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist</em>.


Betsy Lehndorff is a Michigan silversmith and has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. Her latest article, Tube and Chain Necklace with Pearl, appeared in the March 2017 issue.


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