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They have very carefully searched through millions of tons of sediment. California State Postage Stamp: From the 2002 United States Postal Service Greetings from America series. They are often sold by the carat, but the buyer pays a price that often is calculated with the assumption that the entire gem consists of 24-karat gold - and then a premium is added on top. Specimen-grade tourmaline often sells for a higher price than facet-grade tourmaline. Although the laws often refer to them as ‘gems’, not all of them are actually sparkling crystals. A few lapidary artists have cut these novelty gems that are an especially fitting tribute to California's mineral heritage. If you want to learn more and see a detailed map of where these diamonds were found, check out our article titled "Diamond Mines in the United States". The typical green and pink gems are produced in good quantity. Enlarge Postage Stamp. All State Gemstones. Benitoite is sometimes called the "blue diamond." Earrings, rings and pendants made with these cabs are never seen in jewelry stores. They are usually willing to pay a lot more than folks who want to buy the crystals to cut faceted stones. Benitoite is known to occur in just a few other locations worldwide. Pegmatite deposits there host many different types of gem materials. Cutters must orient benitoite carefully to … California designated benitoite as the official state gemstone in 1985. Bone and shell were some of the first materials that they used. It often contains enough gold that it is mined as an ore. Its presence was used by many "gold rush prospectors" as a sign that they were "close to the gold". Most of the rough yields cut gems below ½ carat sizes. California, also known as the Golden State, is known for the Gold Rush of 1849, but this Pacific Coast state is also home to several forms of mineral gemstones. The cabs are not cheap! Some of the most notable from that list include: andalusite, apatite, axinite, azurite, benitoite, beryl, calcite onyx, colemanite, cordierite, diamond, feldspar, fluorite, garnet, howlite, jade, lapis lazuli, lepidolite, magnesite, mariposite, obsidian, opal, quartz, rhodonite, orbicular rhyolite, serpentine, sphene, spodumene, steatite, thomsonite, topaz, tourmaline, turquoise, variscite, vesuvianite, and others. Localities are in Siskiyou, El Dorado, Fresno, Tulare, Butte, and Orange Counties. Official State Gemstone of California. Quartz with the properties and the gold to make a nice gold-in-quartz cab is really rare and worth its weight in gold. Mariposite is an interesting material that is sometimes cut into cabochons or used to make tumbled stones. It is often colorful, sometimes shows nice wood grain, and often makes beautiful cabochons. Photo (c) 2004 Andrew Alden, licensed to About.com ( fair use policy) Benitoite is the state gem of California. When cut as a gemstone, benitoite has an appearance and optical properties that are similar to sapphire. Benitoite was declared the official state gemstone of California. The garnet crystal measures about 1 centimeter, and it rests on a base of albite which measures about 3.3 x 2.9 x 2.7 centimeters. These materials were easily drilled to make pendants and necklaces. Some American states have made a state mineral, rock, stone or gemstone Not every state … Rockhounding in California by Ritika California is abundant with geological forces where mineralogists and gemologists can rockhound for the largest variety of rocks and minerals. Less likely - but possible finds - are the transparent quartz varieties such as amethyst, citrine, and smoky quartz. The Little Three mine has been the world's most important source of facet-quality spessartine and spessartine mineral specimens. All State Gemstones. The county still has towns that appear to be stuck in a time warp like Old Shasta and Burney. It has done this in over a century of sporadic production. Benitoite (pronounced "ben-ee-toe-ite") was initially thought to be a sapphire, but after careful analysis was found to be a mineral new to science. Official State Flag: Enlarge Flag. Sometimes called the " blue diamond", it was first discovered near the headwaters of the San Benito River from which it derived its name. First discovered near the headwaters of the San Benito River in 1907 (hence the name), benitoite is a very rare gem that ranges in color from a light transparent blue to dark, sapphire blue, or occasionally a violet shade. State Gemstones of the United States. A gemstone is not necessarily a sparkling crystal—the majority of state gemstones are not crystalline minerals, but rather colorful rocks that look their best as flat, polished cabochons (perhaps in a bolo tie, belt buckle or ring). Some people think that it should be named the official "State Rock" or "State Gemstone" because of its distinctive appearance and association with California's gold history. In addition to spessartine, significant amounts of topaz, tourmaline, beryl, quartz and hessonite garnet have been found in the area of these mines. Shasta County, California, is near the top of the state and only about two hours south of the Oregon border. It was located 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Bryson. Nevada and Montana have named two, one of which is a semiprecious gemstone, while the other is a precious gemstone. Leading mining historian Kerby Jackson introduces us to a classic mining publication on the gems and precious stones of California. State Symbols Gemstone & Gem - Designation - Adopted; Alabama: Star Blue Quartz … American Gemstones » California. In the world of treasures, few precious and desirable things can ever exceed the pink tourmaline of Pala, California it is one of best places for gem hunting in california. In addition, it turned out that the new material represented a previously unknown example of crystal form. In 1985 benitoite was named as the official state gem of California. Benitoite, (BaTiSi3O9 - Barium Titanium Silicate,) was designated as California official State Gemstone in 1985. Facet-quality quartz can be found in a variety of colors. Gemerkt von: Flora Nativa. It belongs to the Hexagonal System, it's Class is Ditrigonal -Dipyramidal. It is usually brown, yellow or green. Home » Gemstones » They will not allow good crystals to be sawn and put to a faceting machine. Why? Specimens and photo by TheGemTrader.com. Unfortunately, none of these locations had enough diamonds to support a commercial diamond mine, and a pipe that delivered these diamonds to the surface was never discovered. Bicolor and tricolor crystals with lateral and concentric color zoning are also produced. Benitoite can be easily separated from sapphire because it has a much higher birefringence and often exhibits birefringence blink. At one location in Butte County, north of Oroville, native gold, native platinum, and hundreds of gem-quality diamonds were recovered from Tertiary-age gravels of the Ione Formation. Anybody can find quartz of gem quality in California. Benitoite, a barium titanium silicate, can occur in rich blue crystals that are as striking and flawless as the finest sapphires. Officially Designated State Gemstones in the United States. Explore the Channel Islands: Native Americans and Steatite Trading, Spessartine Garnet from Ramona, San Diego County, California, Tourmaline Queen Mine (tourmaline, garnet).  They transported these items back to the mainland in canoes and traded them across broad geographic areas. Benitoite crystals from San Benito County, California (actual crystal size is 1.5 cm); photo © John Veevaert / Trinity Mineral Company (used by permission). A few of the famous mines and their products include: California Petrified Wood: Lapidary-quality petrified wood has been found at many locations in California. Benitoite - California's Official Gemstone: Benitoite is often cut into round brilliants because of its high refractive index and dispersion. Benitoite is one of the very few gemstones in the world which has naturally intense blue color – most of the others (e.g. These gem materials are especially easy to find after a rain when the dust is washed off of the rocks and the gem material glistens from a thin coating of water. The green elbaite is from the Little Three Mine near Ramona in San Diego County. Gem quality benitoite is found only in a small area of San Benito County, California. Petrified wood has been found in many locations and palm root at a few more.  Native Americans also searched for tourmaline and used pieces of the colorful mineral as ornaments. Jasper can be found in fields and in the desert. California. John Sinkankas, in his survey of North American gemstones, provides a large list of gems that have at least been found as an "occurrence" in California. The pink rubellite is from the Stewart Mine, Tourmaline Queen Mountain, in San Diego County. Benitoite is an extremely rare barium titanium silicate mineral named after San Benito County, California - the location where it was first found and described in 1907. Its only source was a small mine in San Benito County in northern California which is now closed. Benitoites identification and original description was based upon specimens found in the headwaters of the San Benito River, in San Benito County, California, from which it received its name. They were also easily sewn onto clothing. On the basis of cumulative dollar value, it is the leading gem material that has been mined in the state. California Spessartine Garnet: This specimen was found at the Little Three Mine, Ramona District, in San Diego County. Gemstone. Commercial miners have produced turquoise nodules and vein turquoise from deposits in San Bernardino, Imperial, and Inyo Counties. California Tourmalines: Three beautiful tourmaline crystals from pegmatites in southern California. The green material can be especially attractive. Today, very little turquoise is produced in California, and it is difficult to find California rough or finished cabochons - even if you search diligently for them. At first it was believed to be sapphire, but samples were sent to the University of California, Berkeley where geologist George Louderback identified it as a mineral new to science. Sometimes called the "blue diamond," it was first discovered near the headwaters of the San Benito River from which it derived its name. Vesuvianite is an exotic gem not often found in jewelry stores. Perhaps it is the only gem where both karats and carats are used in the pricing! Cutters must orient benitoite carefully to take full advantage of its pleochroism. Most of the spessartine production came from just a few mines, which included the Little Three, the A.B.C., the Spaulding, and the Hercules Mines. California State Gemstone: Benitoite (Legislation of 1985) Official State Seal: Enlarge Seal. Benitoite is sometimes called the "blue diamond." Mines in this area have produced more gem-quality tourmaline and mineral specimens than any other deposits in the northern hemisphere. They are the perfect gem materials for a beginner, and you can polish them into beautiful tumbled stones using a rock tumbler for a small investment and a little practice. The aquamarine was adopted as the official state gemstone on April 30, 1971, by an act of the General Assembly. Chinese craftsmen used California tourmaline to make snuff bottles, jewelry, and many other items. Some of their products were made for Chinese royalty who enjoyed the color of pink tourmaline. Commercial tourmaline mines began operating in the late 1800s. Listing of all the official state gemstones for the 50 states, in order by state. California is an enormous state that spans a wide variety of geologic environments, many of which have the potential to be gem-forming. It includes a section about diamonds found in California. Benitoite was designated as the official State Gemstone in 1985. This cabochon was cut from petrified palm root found in California. Specimen and photo by Arkenstone / www.iRocks.com. When translucent and cut en cabochon it looks very much like jadeite. The name honors the postmaster's wife.  The only location where gem-quality material has been found is in San Benito County, Califor… California Morgan Hill Jasper: Just as there are many types of agates in California, there are many varieties of jasper. Bone was available from their food preparations. Some of the most attractive and perfect crystals are sold as mineral specimens. The county is famous for being a bustling area for gold-hunting in the early 1900s and many small towns in the county still celebrate the gold rush every year. Small amounts of benitoite have also been found at other locations in California, Arkansas, Montana, Australia, Czech Republic, Japan, and Romania. It is found in a few places in California where limestone has been subjected to contact metamorphism. For the last two centuries, millions of people have gone to California streams to pan for gold. Red and blue tourmalines are also found. Examination by experts determined the new gem material to be an unknown mineral. You might become a rockhound! Perhaps it is not surprising that a few small diamonds were also found. The largest benitoite crystal on this specimen is 1.7 cm across; photo © John Veevaert / Trinity Mineral Company (used by permission). The one on the left is Horse Canyon Plume Agate and the one on the right is Wingate Plume Agate. The Gem post office operated from 1894 to 1899. However, if you can afford the high price and are lucky, you might be able to purchase it in jewelry made by a designer who specializes in rare and expensive gems. Benitoite - California's Official Gemstone: Benitoite is often cut into round brilliants because of its high refractive index and dispersion. "B" is for benitoite! California Mariposite: Mariposite is the name of a green and white metamorphic rock found in the Mother Lode country of California. Morgan Hill is an extremely colorful and interesting jasper that is full of orbicular features, often with a concentric structure. State Commemorative Quarter: From the 1999-2008 United States Mint 50 State Quarters® Program Enlarge Quarter. Gem quality natural pink tourmaline is five times as rare as gem diamond and more than ten times as valuable as gold in its pure form. Pennsylvania State Gemstone: None (Legislation Pending) Official State Seal: Enlarge Seal. California Agates: You can find an enormous number of agates in California, each with its own distictive appearance, colors and properties. The range of gemstones in California includes one of the most common varieties, the quartz, and one of the rarest gemstones in the world, benitoite. When transparent and faceted it can look like peridot. California State Gem Mine (Dallas Gem Mine; Benitoite Mine; Benitoite Gem Mine; Gem Mine), Santa Rita Peak, New Idria Mining District, San Benito Co., California, USA : A former gemstone and specimen occurrence/mine located in the SW¼NE¼ sec. 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