Treasure Hunting For Tourmaline

By: David Cowley

According to Egyptian legend tourmaline gets it color when it passes over a rainbow on its journey up from the center of the earth and that is why it is often referred as the gemstone of the rainbow.? Multicolored and bi-colored tourmaline are the norm and very rarely found in the clear or colorless form.? Watermelon colored gemstones are green at one end and pink at the other, hence the name.?

Tourmaline is a crystal distinguished by its three sided prisms, which no other common mineral has.? Tourmaline will come in a wide variety of colors.? Iron will give tourmaline a black or brown coloration, magnesium are brown to yellow, lithium rich crystals will display blue, green, red, yellow or pink.

Tourmaline is found in pegmatite veins within the underlying bedrock that is at an angle of about 45 degrees to the center of the earth.? Two main geological features, granite and marble, have the ability to form tourmaline crystals.? Only about 5 percent of the gemstones found are of gem grade quality.

Tourmaline will change it electrical properties when it is heated.? It becomes lightly magnetized and it has been used in the Netherlands to attract ashes and could be used to clean out pipes.? This gemstone has a hardness rating of 7 to 7.5 thus making it a good candidate for jewelry.? It can withstand years of wear but you may want to avoid steam cleaning or heat.

Tourmaline was first discovered in the United States near Paris, Main in 1820.? Two students taking a shortcut home they came upon an uprooted tree with dozens of green tourmaline crystals near the roots.? Tourmaline was the first gemstone commercially mined in the United States.? This gemstone has also been found in other areas of Main such as Newry Hill, Mount Mica and Plumbago Mountain.? Currently most of the old mines are open to collectors for a fee.

The Himalaya Mine in San Diego County, California allows treasure hunters to search for tourmaline gemstones.? For a fee of $75 the prospectors will have access to the mine tailings area all day long.? Fill up your bucket from the mine and then take your potential treasures to the screening area and sift through the rubble for the gemstones.?

The Himalaya Mine will also sell you a bucket of tailings to take home for $50 to $100, depending on the quality of tailings.? You may also purchase a bag of “Pocket Mud" on the internet for $20 plus $10 for shipping, so you can screen at your leisure.

The underground mine consists of five miles of steep passages that were dug over the last 100 years so there is plenty of tailings you can sift through.? If you decide to dig at the Himalaya Mine you will need to bring a shovel, bucket, gloves, hat and a ? inch screening stand.

In 1989 a vivid blue color tourmaline was found in Brazil.? It was given the name Paraiba tourmaline and is in such popular demand that price was soon over $10,000 per carat.? Almost every color can be found in Brazil but the blue is still the number one must have.? A cut and polished gem quality tourmaline from the United States can demand up to $1Feature Articles,000 per carat.

Happy treasure hunting.

Hunting
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Hunting
 



Share this article :
Click to see more related articles