Gemstone misidentification?
Last Post 29 Jan 2017 10:21 AM by ARTHUR WAUGH. 10 Replies.
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JOHN RUCKMANUser is Offline
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03 Oct 2016 12:44 AM
    I found a couple of old claims in northern California with a mineral entry of tourmaline, yet I can find no history on them.

    The only tourmaline I know about is around Pala in southern California.

    So what gemstone(s) might be mistaken for tourmaline?

    John Ruckman

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    ADAM ANDREWSUser is Offline
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    03 Oct 2016 12:28 PM

      I have trouble telling the difference between Topaz & Tourmaline. But if you go to Pala, afterwards go up to Palomar mountain and see the Observatory, and it's campground. It's awesome. There's also an old green fluorite mine up there, if you're into adventure. I say that because it's on the back side of Palomar mountain, you have go half way up a nasty dirt road (if it's still an open fire road) Then hike to the mine. If you're lucky, you'll find the only water fall on the mountain. I grew up on Palomar, it's a mini Yosemite. Every kid went to sixth grade camp up there, and I got into trouble for trying hike up to my uncles cabin.

    Jennifer BraleyUser is Offline
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    19 Jan 2017 10:42 PM
    Hello John,
    Yes, Pala is one of the known producers for California tourmaline and have been for many years. To answer your first statement, the reason you're probably having trouble finding anything about tourmaline claims or deposits in the northern part of California is because since the discovery of tourmaline in the late 1870's, it was all near the Riverside area ( near or around where Pala is) and produced a much greater value to the ones found in northern California. So you could probably find tourmaline in the northern part of California. In the Sierra Nevada area, tourmaline is found in bearing quartz veins and commonly near copper and gold bearing. However, it is unusual. To answer your second question, "Tourmaline is actually a group of minerals and is a general gemological term used for several related gemstone varieties." So you can mistake tourmaline for other minerals such as Pink Topaz, Elbaite, Morganite, Garnet, Peridot, Kunzite, Aquamarine, etc. Hope this helped a little.
    Majoring Geologist/Environmental Sustainability | Prospectors: Team Dorris Pinnacle 5 Minerals | Affiliated with Gold Fever of the West Valley | PLEASE FILL IN YOUR HOLES | "It's Gold or Bust"
    WALTER EASONUser is Offline
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    24 Jan 2017 06:48 AM
    Locatable minerals through the years have changed from the time of the Mexican American War. this is the origination of mineral property rights which were adopted when law came to California by the Congress of the United States. At this time generally locatable minerals are Gold copper silver and other metals, precious gems, uranium, mica, platinum, fluorspar, bentonite and chemical grade limestone or any mineral which would be considered unusual and valuable (need to be determined) which would include uncommon varieties of Pumice, silica, rock and cinders. All of these would be determined on a case by case basis by BLM Mineral Examiners. Salable varieties of minerals would include sand stone, gravel, pumice, pumicite, and cinders. Leasable minerals would include oil and gas, oil shale, geothermal resources, potash, sodium, native asphalt, solid and semisolid bitumen, bituminous rock, phosphate, and coal. Only minerals considered locatable are claimable under the General Mining Act of 1872. 
    If you notice an error in the Online Mining Guide or with claim information please add in the updated information into the online mining guide to inform other members. Thank You Walter H. Eason
    ARTHUR WAUGHUser is Offline
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    24 Jan 2017 05:46 PM

    As a kid I grew up in Quincy CA, and belonged to the rock club in Taylorsville.  Lot of mainly copper mines in that area.  We did find some tourmaline in the area around the Lassen/Plumas county line above Taylorsville/Genesee.  Been 50 years ago, and haven't been back up in that area since, so couldn't suggest a spot to look.  Was not gem quality, had some inclusions and fractures, but you could have made small earrings out of it if you were faceting, or pendants it you tumbled it. 

    As I remember, what we found ran from dark geen to black.

    OHV/Recreation Representative, John Day/Snake Resource Advisory Council, BLM--- President, Wolfpack 4x4's, Region 5, Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association--- Member- Mid Valley Prospectors, Brownsville, OR chapter GPAA, Willamette Valley Miners, Bohemia Mine Owners Association
    JOHN RUCKMANUser is Offline
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    27 Jan 2017 03:45 PM
    Gemstone misidentification? followup. Tourmaline in northern California.

    I found these two tourmaline mines while using the Mindat website using Siskiyou County, California in the location box, though putting tourmaline in the mineral box will not show them. Arthur Waugh's comment about the gems being low grade in northern California fits in with the Book "Gem Trails of Northern California" though the author does not mention tourmaline. Interestingly enough none of the rockhounds in this area even knows that this gem was even found up this far.

    Unfortunately there is no CAMC# information on the Mindat website, just the mine name and location information. So how would I find more specific information on these mines or other gem locations mentioned?

    ARTHUR WAUGHUser is Offline
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    27 Jan 2017 06:52 PM

    My first stop would be the state minerals/geology dept., followed by some college/university geology/mineral dept. inquires.   That should turn up something in the archives somewhere.

    I know what we found was up high, between Taylorsville and Antelope Reseviour.  Somewhere about halfway between what would be Taylorsville and the big copper mine with the tramway that was east of there....can't pull the name of it out of the brain at the moment.

    OHV/Recreation Representative, John Day/Snake Resource Advisory Council, BLM--- President, Wolfpack 4x4's, Region 5, Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association--- Member- Mid Valley Prospectors, Brownsville, OR chapter GPAA, Willamette Valley Miners, Bohemia Mine Owners Association
    tom glennUser is Offline
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    28 Jan 2017 02:12 PM

     

    I have claims northwest of antelope lake and there is tourmaline in that area as well as Thompson peak and in Lassen co. and north western washoe co. nv. but I think the big deposit is in plumas co. between quincy and junction with70 and 89 at the feather river down in the Spanish creek canyon. Tom

    ARTHUR WAUGHUser is Offline
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    28 Jan 2017 03:56 PM
    Never heard of that one, but that was a looooooong time ago. That little canyon from the railroad "Y" to the highway junction is a nasty piece of real estate. I wouldn't get in there as a mid teen even for fishing, and never now at my age. Mom had the P.O. at Keddie for several years.

    I know dad (worked for the highway dept.) brought home a nice piece of opalized wood that came from the area north and west of the highway junction. Was a nice piece of milk choc. glass with a couple of growth rings just visable.
    OHV/Recreation Representative, John Day/Snake Resource Advisory Council, BLM--- President, Wolfpack 4x4's, Region 5, Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association--- Member- Mid Valley Prospectors, Brownsville, OR chapter GPAA, Willamette Valley Miners, Bohemia Mine Owners Association
    tom glennUser is Offline
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    29 Jan 2017 10:12 AM

     

    There was a large travertine mine at the bridge that went down in the canyon and they used to haul it up on pallets to load the trucks. A friend of mine said there is tourmaline as well in the area. Tom

    ARTHUR WAUGHUser is Offline
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    29 Jan 2017 10:21 AM

    That mention of travertine triggered that there was another deposit of it 2-3 miles up 89 from the junction.  Might still have a piece of that in the remaining collection.  It was some pretty good looking banded material, and polished fairly decently.  There is also Ryolite up toward Mt Hough from Taylorsville.  Nice color, but fairly soft to try and do anything with.

     

    Tom -  Since you have claims in the area, you might know of this one.....on the road around the south end of the lake, a spur road took off at about a 30-40* angle, headed SW off the main road.  IIRC it was somewhere about half way around the south end of the lake.  Not very far down that road was an obscure turn off that went west.  Just around the corner was the remains of an old cabin, and a small creek.   Across the creek was a mine adit and tailings, rail tracks on it for mine carts.  One cart in the mouth,  buried up to the top of the wheels in decomposed granite.  Below the adit was a big iron wheeled compressor, I'm guessing from the '20's.  We got the base of another cart from there at the time (around '67-68)  I still have the axles and wheels of that one.  Always wanted to get back and get the other cart.  We got a section of rail as well.  If you followed the road back beyond the mine, about a 1/4 mile was a nice wall of "devil's post piles".    But back out near the junction of the main road was an area of agate and jasper stones that were about the size of jellybeans.  Well washed and tumbled already, saying that that spot had some pretty good beach action  eons ago.  Mom and I named it "Jellybean Park", after the old Yogi Bear cartoons of the day.  You could fill a 3 lb coffee can in around 15 minutes.

    You might also remember the smoky quartz crystal deposit over east of Beckwith and about 4 miles up 395 on the ridge east of the highway.  I know they finally closed it off many years ago.  Some ameythist crystals came out of there along with the smoky.  Some real nice ones back then.

    OHV/Recreation Representative, John Day/Snake Resource Advisory Council, BLM--- President, Wolfpack 4x4's, Region 5, Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association--- Member- Mid Valley Prospectors, Brownsville, OR chapter GPAA, Willamette Valley Miners, Bohemia Mine Owners Association
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