4 Most Valuable Rocks and Minerals You Will Find in California

California is a state where you can mine a wide variety of stones and minerals. Some of them are regular stuff like coal and limestone. However, you also have a few gemstones in there and the occasional rare ones too.

The weather in the region makes it possible to mine so many stones and minerals. Air quality also plays a vital role here, as we shall see later on.

So without further ado, let us check out 4 of the most valuable and popular rocks and minerals that you can find in the State of California.

#1 Tourmaline

Image by Anne Marie McCormack from Pixabay

California has been mining tourmaline for over a century now. It is the most widely mined gemstone in the state. Since its mining operations, tourmaline has been a leading name in the gemstone export industry.

China was one of the first customers of these beautiful stones. Chinese craftsmen would use the tourmaline to make jewelry for Chinese royals. The royals were specifically fond of the pink tourmaline.

Apart from pink, California produced green tourmalines as well. There were also other colors like red and blue and multicolored ones, usually with two or three different color zones in each stone.

High-quality tourmaline will sell for $300 to $600 per carat. Prices of even higher quality stones can go up to $1,000 per carat.

#2 Benitoite

Rob Lavinsky, http://www.irocks.com/ – CC-BY-SA-3.0

This rare blue titanium silicate mineral has been around since the early 1900s in San Benito County in California. It is easy to confuse benitoite with sapphire since the two look so similar. In 1985, California declared benitoite as the state’s official gem.

Benitoite has the world’s rarest crystal structure form. The hexagonal system it follows has a greater light dispersion than diamond. With good clarity and color, benitoite will reflect more colors than diamond.

A single carat of benitoite will sell for anything from $6,500 to $8,000. The range will vary depending on the cut, color, and clarity of the stones. Higher quality stones are sold for over $10,000 per carat.

The naturally deep blue color of benitoite is what makes it so popular. You will find shades of blue, white, violet, and also pale pink.

Deep blue, however, is the most desirable color option as to what gives the stone such an amazing color is yet to be solved. Science still does not have the answer to that question, which makes the stone even more intriguing.

#3 Limestone

Yukinobu Zengame from Cupertino, United States

Limestone is found in abundance in California, especially around places like San Jose. The air quality in San Jose and its adjacent areas is quite healthy.

According to air quality data and the location’s AQI – Air Quality Index – San Jose has very low air pollution, which means less smog and pollutants are present there.

Not only does it mean that sensitive groups can live there without any problem, but it also suggests that limestone mining can take place flawlessly.

Polluted air contains traces of sulfur and nitric acids. These acids then react with the limestone ores, statues, and limestone structures and start to erode them. Important details are lost from the stones due to air pollution.

However, since San Jose and areas around it do not have this air pollution problem, the limestones remain intact. So it is easy to see why it is a popular stone mined in that region.

#4 Marble

Image by hang Anna from Pixabay

Marble is used in a lot of commercial as well as residential projects. A lot of the marble used in these projects comes from California. The State does not produce any bright marble but has sufficient quantities of white and colored marbles and clouded and onyx marbles.

In California, marble production is a lot more than the demand. That, however, has not stopped the industry from flourishing. You can find marble quarries in Amador County, Butte County, Glenn County, Nevada County, and at least 10 other places in California. The quality varies, but in most cases, it is of a high-end variety of marble.

These are just some of the most valuable and in-demand stones and minerals in California. There are a lot of others that we have not touched upon in this post. However, for now, knowing about these will give you a brief idea regarding the stone and mineral mining industry in California.

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