Fluorescent benitoite: This is a photograph of small benitoite crystals under ultraviolet light. In some specimens the following minerals are determinable under the microscope: augite, plagioclase crushed and recrystallized and containing clinozoisite prisms, secondary albite, yellow serpentine, and a little titanite and pyrite. Gem-quality crystals have been found only in San Benito County, California. Benitoite is usually found in a matrix of three other minerals—natrolite, hard blue schist, and cement-like crossite. The position of the benitoite and neptunite is often marked by lumps or a thickening of the natrolite crust. The pleochroism of benitoite is pale to dark-blue or purplish and colorless. Kay Robertson Collection Here is a beautiful crystal of the Zeolite Group species, Natrolite. Other rare gems and minerals include Neptunite, Joaquinite, djurleite, and Natrolite. The rock, leached of albite, has a more or less porous texture and is composed principally of fine fibrous blue hornblende and actinolite. Cleavage: is absent. Benitoite has an imperfect pyramidal cleavage and a conchoidal fracture. The "glory hole" was excavated in a very large pocket or bulge in the vein, a portion of which may still be seen along the north wall of the open cut. The latter have leached portions of hornblende schist along and included in the vein, have removed part of the minerals of the vein, and have stained the natrolite on the walls of the cavities and seams with iron and manganese oxides. Benitoite was named California’s official state gem in 1985. Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent. Whether he discovered it while out alone or on a second trip with L. B. Hawkins, of Los Angeles, is a point in dispute. The Benitoite Gem mine is located on a small mining claim (the Dallas claim) in San Benito County, California, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It often referred to as the “blue diamond,” a very rare gem that varies in its hue, from light transparent to dark blue, to saphire blue or sometimes violet shad, which was found first on San Benito River headwater in 1907 (which is why the name is named). In some of the inclusions the gradation from the hornblende rock containing much natrolite to natrolite containing acicular inclusions of hornblende is complete. In the latter places the benitoite projects into the cavities along with the coarse drusy surfaces of the natrolite. The benitoite is embedded in or attached to natrolite, being in some places completely, in other places partly, enveloped by it. The color of benitoite is not affected by heating the stone to redness and allowing to cool. Benitoite is an extremely rare mineral that is best known for being the official state gemstone of California. Benitoite fluoresces under short wave ultraviolet light, appearing light blue in color. Vein material formed the roof of the prospect tunnel for several feet near its mouth. There is a mountain range of basalt, chert, gray wack, shale, serpentine and Cretan and Tertiarian sandstones at the southern end or at the “Diablus Range.” It is a mountainous belt. Small amounts of benitoite have also been found at other locations in California, Arkansas, Montana, Australia, Czech Republic, Japan, and Romania. Such faces are a little dulled or slightly pitted. In the event of San Benito, it is contained in natural veins in a serpentinite body in glaucophane schists. Benitoite is a rare minerals best known to be the official Californian state gemstone. The vast majority of crossite included are floaters with complete terminations on … After the type locality, "as it occurs near the head waters of the San Benito River in San Benito County", California, USA. Other rare gems and minerals include Neptunite, Joaquinite, djurleite, and Natrolite. The minerals associated with benitoite are described and analyses are given in the paper of Louderback and Blasdale. The open spaces evidently extended to the surface above, as a strong draft of air came through them. Hessel predicted the ditrigonal dipyramidal class of crystallization in 1830, and when minerals were found in San Benito County in 1907 with this crystal habit, his hypothesis was confirmed. Faceted Benitoite: Five tiny gems of faceted benitoite in a color gradient set from nearly colorless to violetish-blue. J.F.C. It is an extremely rare rock. This is the focus of my personal collection - benitoite from any global locality and mineral species from the Benitoite Gem mine. Clarity improves quality, particularly eye clean or better scores. Where can benitoite be found? Its blue color and pleochroism are very much like sapphireâs. Benitoite crystal structure: Crystal structure of benitoite, BaTiSi3O9, P-6c2, projected onto the (a,c) plane. See more ideas about benitoite, rocks and minerals, gems and minerals. Deeper colored stones may be cut in the same way or with the table in an intermediate position, if the color is very strong.  The only location where gem-quality material has been found is in San Benito County, Califor… The hardness is between 5 and 6 and the specific gravity 3.18 to 3.19. Benitoite has been cut as a brilliant, with the step or trap cut, and "en cabochon." Small amounts of benitoite have also been found at other locations in California, Arkansas, Montana, Australia, Czech Republic, Japan, and Romania. . In one of these, three-fourths of a mile to the north on the east side of Santa Rita Peak, cavities lined with natrolite crusts and crystals have been found in a bluish hornblende schist rock very similar to that at the original mine. Benitoite for sale at wholesale prices. In 1985 benitoite was designated as the official state gem of California. Care is necessary, therefore, in cutting the gem so as to secure the best effects. The vein is a highly mineralized shattered zone in the schistose rock. Benitoite crystals of value are only found in California. An excellent description of the new California gem mineral, benitoite, has recently been given by G. D. Louderback, of the University of California. It gets its name from San Benito County, California where it was first found. Benitoite has an appearance that is very similar to sapphire. These bowlders have evidently rolled from the outcrop on the hill above and probably from near the mine. Large slabs of rock 2 to 3 or more feet across are obtained coated with natrolite and carrying benitoite and neptunite. Since the supply of benitoite is thought to be limited and a fairly large demand has already arisen for the gem, it is probable the price will be kept high, possibly as high as that of sapphire, its nearest rival in color. Hardness: is 6 – 6.5 Forming in low temperature, high pressure environments, Benitoite is an extremely rare blue barium titanium cyclosilicate, found in hydrothermally altered serpentine. The chemical analyses show it to be an acid barium titano-silicate corresponding to the formula BaTiSi3O9 . Specimens cut by Mr. Eacret were thought to be sapphire. The unfilled cavities and seams in the vein zone aided by later fractures and faults has offered an easy passage for more recent decomposing meteoric waters. The chemical and physical properties of benitoite and its associated minerals have been described by Louderback and Blasdale, and the Typically, benitoite occurs in combination with minerals which make up the host rock. It is hard to find stones over 1ct in size even during the … Specimen and photo by Arkenstone / www.iRocks.com. When cut as a gemstone, benitoite has an appearance and optical properties that are similar to sapphire. The use of benitoite in rings or jewelry subjected to hard wear is limited by its comparative softness. The brilliant cut is especially suitable to show the brilliancy and fire of the gem. Benitoite gemstones have a sapphire-blue color, and can have very good transparency and luster. About 30 feet S. 60Â° E. of the upper end of the huge open cut a ledge of altered blue hornblende schist outcrops prominently. The incline shaft was sunk 35 feet deep from the north side of the open cut at about the middle. In the early days of mining at the Dallas Mine, the hardness of the matrix was a great source of frustration to the miners. Gem quality benitoite is found only in a small area of San Benito County, California. Benitoite is a rare blue barium titanium silicate mineral, found in hydrothermally altered serpentinite. This shoot had a lenticular cross section with a thickness of more than 25 feet in the thickest part but pinching out on the sides. Doctor Louderback states that benitoite lias been found for a distance of about 230 feet at the surface along the mineral zone and in very small quantity at its extremes. Benitoite has never been found in quantity or as crystals much larger than 5cm across. Benitoite is known to occur in just a few other locations worldwide. The spheroidal shape of the blocks and the open spaces between them were doubtless formed by decomposition and leaching along fracture planes. Development work at the benitoite mine at the time of the writer's visit consisted of a large and a small open cut, a prospect drift or tunnel with a crosscut tunnel, and an incline shaft. The more schistose phases are grayish-blue to blue and grade into vein material. When viewed perpendicular to the vertical axis with a dichroscope the twin colors or two rays of light are very intense to pale blue (depending on the depth of color of the crystal) and colorless. Virtually all collectors specimens for this mineral are from this area. Of the colors produced by dispersion during the refraction of light in benitoite yellow and green are largely absorbed in the colored gems so that principally red and violet-colored lights are seen. Other minerals occurring in smaller quantity in the cavities are emerald-green copper stain, amphibole needles, albite, aegirine, and psilomelane. These facts point to the same period of formation for the three minerals with the power of crystallization arranged in the following order: neptunite, benitoite, and natrolite. Some specimens are colorless. The evidence for this measurement is found in the position of the vein at the outcrop and in the tunnel, of the layers of blue schist and natrolite in the end of the cut, and of the ledge along the north side of the open cut and in the lower cut. The mineral’s unique crystals are of great value as collectable samples. Tabular dipyramidal crystals. According to Mr. Couch, specimens given to Harry U. Maxfield, of Fresno, were shown to G. Eacret, of Shreve & Co., San Francisco, and to G. D. Louderback. Doctor Louderback found the material to be a new mineral and named it benitoite after the county in which it was found. Originally, Couch assumed that the mineral was a corundum mineral called sapphire because of its color similarity. The California State Gemstone, Benitoite. 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Benitoite crystals have been formed from hydrothermal solutions containing relatively high levels of rare components such as barium, titanium, fluorine, iron etc. Inclusions of masses of schists and other rocks of the Franciscan formation occur in the serpentine. A range of color and saturation between colorless and deep violetish-blue occurs. Why is benitoite a state gem in california? Public domain photo by Parent GÃ©ry. This knob is called the apex, and from it a small spur extends to the west down to the creek. The natrolite did not permeate far into the rock, but formed a coating on the walls of the fissures. A couple of other regions where the stone is found does not have gem-quality crystals of Benitoite… Benitoite is a rare mineral Mineral Commodity that can be mined from Hotspots in metal rich or rocky Planetary Ring Systems. The benitoite deposit is located in one of these basic inclusions, a portion of which has a somewhat schistose structure, while the rest is nearly massive. The elevation of the mine is about 4,800 feet above sea level; the elevation of Santa Rita Peak is 5,161 feet. Natrolite Crystal, Diablo Range, San Benito County, California 29.7 mm x 9.7 mm x 7.5 mm ex. While the mineral benitoite itself is quite rare, large gem-grade crystals have only been found in one very small region of California, and in commercial quantities only on one small hill in San Benito County. It is evident that J. M. Couch, of Coalinga, grubstaked by R. W. Dallas, was instrumental in finding the deposit. Underground this rock occurred in large loose spheroidal bowlders ranging up to several feet in thickness, with large openings between them. The strike encountered in the tunnel, about 30 feet lower and to the north, was nearly cast and west with a dip of about 40Â° N. In the upper part of the face of the open cut the dip was high, about 65Â° N., and below the middle of the face it was low, 15Â° to 25Â° N. Along the north side of the open cut and in the lower cut the strike was about east and west and the dip was probably rather low, 20Â° to 30Â° N. These measurements do not agree closely with those of Doctor Louderback, especially in regard to the dip of the vein. The metamorphism of the schist inclusion has been of two kinds â first mashing and sheeting of the original basic rock producing schistosity and opening channels for solutions and then a passage of mineral-bearing solutions recrystallizing and replacing the minerals of the rock with albite. Benitoite from these three locations, all within a 10 km radius of the Benitoite Gem mine is generally very poor in quality but the classic triangular shaped crystals are found at each locality. Benitoite crystals exhibiting two shades of color, as dark and light blue or blue and colorless in different parts of the same crystal, may be cut so as to show these variations, or sometimes in such, a way that the resulting color is of nearly uniform intensity. The vein and the schist in this cut were much blackened and stained with films and seams of manganese dioxide. Faceted benitoite: Three blue stones of faceted benitoite. Benitoite crystallizes in the trigonal division of the hexagonal system. Benitoite Engagement Ring, Rare American Gemstone, Handmade, shaped amd formed, rarest stone found in Cali USA, Handcrafted Gift For Her TamaraMJewelry From shop TamaraMJewelry The natrolite, with which the benitoite and neptunite are associated, does not generally occur in distinct crystals of any size. Gemstone, collector mineral, Official State Gem of California. After 100 years, the Benitoite Gem Mine is finally open and offering field trips to the public. Doctor Louderback places the dip at 65Â° to 69Â° N., but the dip measured by the writer is much lower, probably 15Â° to 30Â° N. in the lower part of the cut. USA hand faceted, no treatments. The contact was evidently a fault line, and near it the serpentine contained much talcose and scaly asbestiform material. They inclose fragments of hornblende schist which has been heavily impregnated with natrolite. Benitoite is used for a number of different purposes. These have a bluish to yellowish green to nearly colorless pleochroism, and are in part probably actinolite and in part glaucophane or allied hornblende. following notes are taken from their description. They also wear the standard black shoes but without gloves or socks. Dec 10, 2020 - Benitoite is the state gem of California. The step cut displays the color of benitoite to advantage, with only slight loss of brilliancy. Benitoite and Neptunite Crystals: This specimen is a plate of translucent blue benitoite crystals and black neptunite crystals on a background of white natrolite. These phases were probably originally different adjacent formations that have been metamorphosed. The eastern extension of such a shoot would have been removed by erosion and the western extension would be underground, to the north of, west of, and below, the open cut. Natrolite is a hydrous silicate of sodium and aluminum crystallizing in the orthorhombic system. It is a barium titanium silicate mineral, usually blue in color, that is found in rocks that have been altered by hydrothermal metamorphism. Benitoite is a very rare and beautiful dark blue gemstone. The writer observed benitoite in place through a distance of about 170 feet in an east and west direction. Their hair is cut short, parted to the side. Benitoite is usually found in association with other rare minerals, which include natrolite, joaquinite and neptunite. Benitoite fluoresces under short wave ultraviolet light, appearing bright blue to bluish white in color. The major mine closed in 2006 but it still remain open to hobbiests and tourists. The Benitoite Gem Mine filled one of the largest voids in the mineral world in spectacular fashion. Welcome to Benitoite.Com.. By carefully cutting into these lumps beautiful crystals are sometimes uncovered. It is without a doubt, the rarest Gemstones in the world! The beautiful color, brilliancy, and fire of the gem, however, adapt it to other classes of fine jewelry. The incline shaft was apparently sunk in the lower part of this outcrop and did not encounter benitoite. The California State Gemstone, Benitoite. Ancient drop of water rewrites Earth’s history, Newly discovered baby Titanosaur sheds light on dinosaurs’ early lives, Long-gone bacteria blows the whistle on gold deposits, When Britain was fringed by tropical seas, Tsunami unleashed by Anak Krakatoa eruption was at least 100m high. The amphiboles are actinolite, a variety intermediate between crossite and crocidolite, and a little glaucophane. Benitoite is a rare blue silicate mineral, found in hydrothermally altered serpentinite. This occurs in low temperature, high-pressure conditions typical of subduction zones at the edge of the converging plate. Benitoite is often cut into round brilliants because of its high refractive index and dispersion. The benitoite mine is in the south side of this spur, about 50 feet lower than the apex and 250 feet west of it. The majority of larger cut stones weigh from 1 1/2 to 2 carats. This material was difficult to mine and required careful timbering. If you have spent any time viewing any of my websites you know that I have a passion for BaTiSi 3 O 9 also known as Benitoite. Under long-wave UV light, the clearer to white benitoite crystals fluoresce green. It has been correctly identified in Montana, Arkansas, Japan, and Australia even though they have evolved under slightly different conditions and are only increasing large enough to be considered a mineral accessory. 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. The common forms observed are the base c(0001), trigonal Overview Benitoite is one of the rarest gemstones in the world. The difficulty mentioned by Doctor Louderback in learning who was the original discoverer of the benitoite property was encountered by the writer. Public domain image by Perditax. What is Benitoite used for? Often the inclosing crust or shell of white natrolite can be split from a crystal of neptunite or benitoite in two or three large pieces, so that the covering can readily be replaced over the crystal. Alone, it fuses quietly to a transparent glass at about 3. Chemical and Physical Properties of Benitoite, Benitoite Gem Mine, San Benito County, California. How do you identify Benitoite? It was originally mistaken for sapphire. The specimen is from the Dallas Gem Mine, San Benito River headwaters area, New Idria District, Diablo Range, San Benito County, California. On a chemical level, it is classified as a barium titanium silicate mineral. Photo by TheGemTrader.com. A portion of the lover edge was encountered in the tunnel. Cutters must orient benitoite carefully to take full advantage of its pleochroism. The only significant locality for Benitoite is the Diablo Range, near the headwaters of the San Benito River, in the Southern tip of San Benito Co., California. Each stone is a round brilliant of about 3.5 millimeters and weighing about .20 carat. 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 … Benitoite is a rare gemstone, and for all practical purposes only comes from a single limited deposit in California. Cabochon-cut gems from crystals with color variations or partially flawed material have some beauty. The prism faces are narrow, though generally present. Benitoiteâs 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. Benitoite is the official stone of the state of California, which incidentally is also the only location in the world where deposits of gem-quality Benitoite stones have been discovered. So far benitoite has been found at one place only. Many of the crystals are naturally etched on one or more sets of faces. Such a low dip would account for the failure of the incline to cut the mineralized zone. Of these faces the pyramid Ï generally has the largest development. The rock is therefore a partly metamorphosed diabase or gabbro. The conditions of temperature or pressure of the solutions became changed, so that natrolite was next deposited. Benitoite is a rare blue barium titanium cyclosilicate, found in hydro-thermally altered serpentinite.  The only location where gem-quality material has been found is in San Benito County, California. Part of the massive form is a dark-gray to greenish-gray rock that might be called trap. Benitite was designated the official staple in 1985 by California. The prospect tunnel cut through the hornblende schist formation into decomposed serpentine. Benitoite is a rare blue gemstone that is found in only one location on earth, San Benito county, California, USA. This ledge also carries a streak of natrolite with benitoite. A specimen was sent to the University of California, Berkeley in 1909 where mineralogist Dr. George D. Louderback discovered it was a mineral that was previously unknown. How is Benitoite formed? Neptunite is practically insoluble in hydrochloric acid. According to Doctor Louderback the largest perfect stone so far cut weighs over 7 carats and is about three times as heavy as the next largest flawless gem so far obtained. The dichroscope may be used to determine the position of the vertical axis and accordingly of the base perpendicular to it. Doctor Louderback mentions the outcrop of spheroidal gabbro on the southeast of the benitoite deposit on the hillside. The hardness is greater than orthoclase and less than peridot, or about 6 to 6 1/2, and the specific gravity is 3.64 to 3.67. Material taken to Los Angeles by Mr. Hawkins was pronounced volcanic glass and valueless. Benitoite is the state gemstone of California. The mine has gone by many names over it's 106 year history. Benito has a deep blue color scheme and wears either the winter or summer uniform depending on the season. Largest development schistose phases are grayish-blue to blue and grade into vein material formed the roof of fissures... Best known to be sapphire metamorphosed diabase or gabbro 3.5 millimeters and weighing about.20 carat Kalph Arnold as feet. Relatively new gemstone, benitoite is another important use as a gemstone, and natrolite extends to the.! Couch assumed that the mineral world in spectacular fashion compared to a specific gravity: is –. Peak is 5,161 feet extension of this outcrop and did not encounter.! Of value are only found in California the last two minerals are: natrolite, neptunite joaquinite... 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