There are a wide variety of different types of tourmaline and a number are found here in the Oceanview Mine. The most common form seen is black tourmaline, called schorl. We also get green, deep red, pink, purple, blue and multi-colored tourmalines. The Oceanview Mine has a much wider variety of colors than are typically seen in any single mine.
Kunzite is the pink to purple colored gem form of the mineral spodumene. Kunzite was first discovered in southern California and the first significant quantity of gem-quality kunzite came right from Chief Mountain, in the Pala Chief Mine. The Oceanview Mine has produced some of the deepest purple kunzites ever found, and most certainly the best gem crystals found in the United States.
Triphane is the yellow to yellowish-green colored gem form of the mineral spodumene. We’ve found triphane in several of the mines on Chief Mountain, although the yellow forms are more common in the Pala Chief mine. Spodumene has perfect cleavage, which means that it fractures easily, so typically people find long pieces or partial crystals.
Morganite is a rare pink to peach-colored form of beryl (green beryl is emerald; blue beryl is aquamarine). Its often found in the fee dig as more opaque pink chunks; fully-formed gem crystals like the one here are rare, but have been found on the pile.
Aquamarine is the blue to blue-green colored form of beryl. The aquamarine found at Oceanview typically is pale blue if it’s gem-quality, while the deep blues are often opaque but suitable for making cabochons. This is a deep Windex-blue gemmy fragment of an aquamarine crystal found at the mine on the fee dig pile.
We find a wide variety of quartz types at the Oceanview mine, including smoky quartz, citrine, and quartz included with montmorillonite clay. Crystals can range in size from very small (just a few millimeters in size) to giant crystals weighing up to 50lbs or more.
Cleavelandite is a form of albite that is distinguished by its crystal shape–fine plates/blades that are white to whitish-blue. It’s often found in pockets and can make a beautiful matrix for specimens of quartz, morganite, aquamarine and tourmaline. Here a beautiful blue-capped and blue-skinned pink tourmaline sits on a matrix of cleavelandite.
Lepidolite is a purple lithium-rich species of Mica. In this photo, there is also a “frozen” pink rubellite tourmaline in the lepidolite as well as a small white spot of albite.
We provide you with screens, water, buckets and hand shovels–and most importantly, a big pile of gem-rich dirt and gravel taken from our mines!
What you should bring: Your favorite DigForGems t-shirt. Sun hat or rain gear, muddy shoes, some rubber gloves, toothbrush, a baggie for your crystals. Tissue paper for wrapping your finds.
Reserve your spot now to join us! www.palachiefmine.com