California Blue

18 | 02 | 2013

Quartz  |  Americas  |  Gems

Fall digging at the California Blue Pegmatite
By Ryan Bowling

Southern California is one of the Legendary pegmatite areas in the world, containing such famed localities like the Himalaya Mine and the Tourmaline Queen Mine, just to name a couple of the pegmatite’s. On the outside of the tourmaline producing areas, there lies simple pegmatite bands, containing mostly aquamarine. The California Blue is one of these pegmatites, containing aquamarine and topaz, but no colored tourmaline so far.
Dave Schmidt owns the California Blue, he found it in 2006, and has been working it ever since. Early mid-October, together with Dave, my mining partner Paul Geffner and I set out to dig the California Blue pegmatite in Southern California.
It was a beautiful morning, as we started our adventure, slowly winding our way to the California Blue through the barren desert landscape. As we arrived at the California Blue, we surveyed the pegmatite, and selected several places to dig. We started to did, and immediately we hit our first pocket, it produced only single smokey quartz crystals. We continued to dig, and over the course of the two days of mining, we managed to open up, and collect twenty pockets.

Pegmatite digging is like any other digging, one just hopes they find a pocket, and then hope the pocket contains some fine pieces. As luck would turn out for us, as I stated above, we found twenty pockets. Unfortunately for us, ancient Hydro-Fluoric acid fluids destroyed all but two aquamarines that were in the pockets we found. We did manage to find some nice topaz, the largest was a 5 cm etched crystal, see below. In addition, we found many quartz crystals, along with some nice feldspar and quartz combination plates. The trip was a great success, as we had a lot of fun, and found some nice pieces to go home with.

Fotos / Credits
Ryan Bowling / USA

Autor / Author
Ryan Bowling / USA