where is benitoite found

Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent. They also wear the standard black shoes but without gloves or socks. Intense blue fluorescence under short-wave ultraviolet light. 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. Benitoite crystal structure: Crystal structure of benitoite, BaTiSi3O9, P-6c2, projected onto the (a,c) plane. Benitoite is usually found in a matrix of three other minerals—natrolite, hard blue schist, and cement-like crossite. The failure might also be due to the pinching out of the vein a short distance below the large pocket opened in the "glory hole." The vast majority of crossite included are floaters with complete terminations on … Benitoite is another important use as a mineral sample. The benitoite occurs with neptunite in crusts, seams, and thicker deposits of white natrolite on the walls of geode-like cavities and fissures in the hornblende schist. This rock also incloses crystals of natrolite showing that part of it was formed later than or during the crystallization of the natrolite. 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). Benitoite is usually found in association with other rare minerals, which include natrolite, joaquinite and neptunite. Why is benitoite a state gem in california? Color variations are common in the same crystal, and the change from dark to light blue or colorless may be sharp or gradual. Specimens cut by Mr. Eacret were thought to be sapphire. Overview Benitoite is one of the rarest gemstones in the world. The use of benitoite in rings or jewelry subjected to hard wear is limited by its comparative softness. Though benitoite has been found in a few other locations in the world (in Arkansas, USA and in Japan and Australia), so far, the only gem-quality specimens have been found in California. It is a relatively new gemstone, and was first discovered in 1907. [2]. Benitoite Engagement Ring, Rare American Gemstone, Handmade, shaped amd formed, rarest stone found in Cali USA, Handcrafted Gift For Her TamaraMJewelry From shop TamaraMJewelry It forms in low temperature, high pressure environments typical of subduction zones at convergent plate boundaries. The Benitoite Gem Mine filled one of the largest voids in the mineral world in spectacular fashion. It occurs in black to reddish- black prismatic crystals of the monoclinic system, the length commonly being several times the thickness. The principal production is in stones weighing less than 1 1/2 carats. Small amounts of benitoite have also been found at other locations in California, Arkansas, Montana, Australia, Czech Republic, Japan, and Romania. The incline shaft was apparently sunk in the lower part of this outcrop and did not encounter benitoite. So far benitoite has been found at one place only. The open spaces evidently extended to the surface above, as a strong draft of air came through them. 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. In 1985 benitoite was designated as the official state gem of California. The rock is therefore a partly metamorphosed diabase or gabbro. The mineral exhibits a brilliant blue color under ultraviolet radiation. 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. 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. 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. Corundum (sapphire) has a Mohs hardness specified at 9, while benitoite is much softer. USA hand faceted, no treatments. Benitoite crystals of value are only found in California. Photo by TheGemTrader.com. Its chemical composition is BaTi(Si3O9). The locality was visited during the summer of 1909 by the present writer, and every facility was given for the examination of the deposit by the Dallas Mining Company through the kindness of Mr. Thomas Hayes, at that time acting superintendent. Most benitoite deposits have been found in California, particularly in San Benito County, and in Arkansas and Japan. After 100 years, the Benitoite Gem Mine is finally open and offering field trips to the public. Under short wave ultraviolet light, benitoite fluoresces which appear bright blue to bluish white in colour. These phases were probably originally different adjacent formations that have been metamorphosed. It was originally mistaken for sapphire. Benitoite has been cut as a brilliant, with the step or trap cut, and "en cabochon." The mineral’s unique crystals are of great value as collectable samples. 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. It is a rare mineral found in very few areas, including California, San Benito County, Japan and Arkansas. Benitoite was named California’s official state gem in 1985. Rare orange heat-treated specimens are known. Typically, benitoite occurs in combination with minerals which make up the host rock. Faceted benitoite: Three blue stones of faceted benitoite. Rock hounds, gem and specimen hunters, this is your chance to find one of the rarest and most desirable gemstones in the world! Tabular dipyramidal crystals. These schists may be micaceous or more basic, having common hornblende, actinolite, or glaucophane as characteristic minerals. What is Benitoite used for? This gem is quite expensive Rich blue, clean stones at a carat and above sizes will command high prices. It gets its name from San Benito County, California where it was first found. Cutters must orient benitoite carefully to take full advantage of its pleochroism. These have a bluish to yellowish green to nearly colorless pleochroism, and are in part probably actinolite and in part glaucophane or allied hornblende. Benitoite has a specific gravity of 3.65, compared to a specific gravity of 3.9 to 4.1 for sapphire. These bowlders have evidently rolled from the outcrop on the hill above and probably from near the mine. 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. The information below is a verbatim transcript of an article about the discovery, geology, mining and properties of benitoite, by Douglas B. Sterrett. The removal of the natrolite by acid has been tried with partial success. These flashes of colored lights along with the natural fine blue of benitoite render the gem particularly beautiful. In some of the inclusions the gradation from the hornblende rock containing much natrolite to natrolite containing acicular inclusions of hornblende is complete. Natrolite with or without benitoite and neptunite fills some of the fissures and former cavities completely. The brilliancy is due to the high refractive index and the fire or red flash, often seen in dull or artificial light is, in part at least, caused by the dispersion of the mineral. A few more kilometers to the south and benitoite could have ended up with an entirely different name! The position of the benitoite and neptunite is often marked by lumps or a thickening of the natrolite crust. Jointing of the rock and the irregular nature of the vein, however, make accurate measurements difficult. Beniotite is a very rare mineral that was discovered in 1907 in San Benito County in California. following notes are taken from their description. It is in many places attached to hornblende impregnated with natrolite and is partly or completely inclosed in natrolite on the remaining sides. It is hard to find stones over 1ct in size even during the … Typically, benitoite occurs in combination with minerals which make up the host rock. Other rare gems and minerals include Neptunite, Joaquinite, djurleite, and Natrolite. Benitoite gemstones have a sapphire-blue color, and can have very good transparency and luster. It is a mineral rarely seen in jewelry or gem and mineral collections. The most widely used minerals are: natrolite, neptunite, joaquinite, serpentine and albite. The chemical analyses show it to be an acid barium titano-silicate corresponding to the formula BaTiSi3O9 . This whole mineralized zone containing many bands and masses of natrolite with gem minerals in the joints, fissures, and open spaces in the brecciated hornblende rock may be called the vein. Very light and very dark rocks lie at the lower end of the price continuum. This serpentine is of the usual It was published in the 1909 edition of Mineral Resources of the United States, by the United States Geological Survey. Care is necessary, therefore, in cutting the gem so as to secure the best effects. By cutting intensely colored stones with the table only slightly out of parallel to the base, the color may be reduced to a desirable shade. He named it benitoite for its occurrence near the headwaters of the San Benito River in San Benito County, California. When viewed parallel to the vertical axis, or perpendicular to the base, the two rays are colorless and remain so while the dichroscope is rotated. The impression gained by a study of the deposit and by plotting the location of the vein where encountered in different places was that the deposit consists of an ore shoot pitching to the west and lying in a fracture zone in hornblende schist with an irregular east and west strike and north dip. Benitoite is a rare blue barium titanium silicate mineral, found in hydrothermally altered serpentinite. The benitoite is always in contact with natrolite and has not been found embedded in the hornblende rock alone. The majority of larger cut stones weigh from 1 1/2 to 2 carats. The vein is a highly mineralized shattered zone in the schistose rock. This occurs in low temperature, high-pressure conditions typical of subduction zones at the edge of the converging plate. Fracture: is irregular. The metamorphism of the schist inclusion has been of two kinds — 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. Cabochon-cut gems from crystals with color variations or partially flawed material have some beauty. The benitoite mine is in the south side of this spur, about 50 feet lower than the apex and 250 feet west of it. Benitoite has an imperfect pyramidal cleavage and a conchoidal fracture. The following description has been abstracted in part from Doctor Louderback's report and notes supplied from personal observation have been added. Mined at Benitoite Gem Mine San Benito California. Benito has a deep blue color scheme and wears either the winter or summer uniform depending on the season. 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. About 30 feet S. 60° E. of the upper end of the huge open cut a ledge of altered blue hornblende schist outcrops prominently. Sapphire has a Mohs hardness of 9, while benitoite is much softer at 6 to 6.5. Under short wave ultraviolet light, benitoite fluoresces which appear bright blue to bluish white in colour. The neptunite is subject to the same relations with the natrolite and is, in places, partly surrounded by benitoite. prisms m(1010), and n(0110), and the trigonal pyramids p(1011) and π(0111). Doctor Louderback mentions the outcrop of spheroidal gabbro on the southeast of the benitoite deposit on the hillside. Benitoite is a rare minerals best known to be the official Californian state gemstone. type of the Coast Ranges and presents different phases from hard dark-green and greenish-black material to softer lighter-colored rock containing more or less talcose and chloritic minerals. 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. The difficulty mentioned by Doctor Louderback in learning who was the original discoverer of the benitoite property was encountered by the writer. Natrolite Crystal, Diablo Range, San Benito County, California 29.7 mm x 9.7 mm x 7.5 mm ex. 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. Benitoite is a rare blue gemstone that is found in only one location on earth, San Benito county, California, USA. It is one of the more recently discovered gem minerals, having been found in (and named after) San Benito County, California, in 1907. Benitoite is often cut into round brilliants because of its high refractive index and dispersion. Specimen and photo by Arkenstone / www.iRocks.com. Whether he discovered it while out alone or on a second trip with L. B. Hawkins, of Los Angeles, is a point in dispute. This schist inclusion has been described by Kalph Arnold as 150 feet wide at its widest point and at least 1,200 feet long. Forming in low temperature, high pressure environments, Benitoite is an extremely rare blue barium titanium cyclosilicate, found in hydrothermally altered serpentine. Gemstone, collector mineral, Official State Gem of California. The prospect tunnel was driven 120 feet in a direction N. 70° E. from the end of the large open cut. Slabs of bluish hornblende rock with a drusy pure white crust of natrolite containing brilliant reddish-black neptunite and blue benitoite in fine crystals are excellent for the same purpose. 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 meaning of the name of this stone relates to the location where they were first found, in a 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. The outcrop of rock on the north side of the vein zone, on the summit of the ridge, is of a similar nature and has been mentioned above as diabase or gabbro. 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. About 15 x 11 x 2 centimeters in length and the albite is also less abundant in 1909! About 2 centimeters in size one location on earth, San Benito County, 29.7... ; the elevation of Santa Rita Peak cut the mineralized zone of rock 2 to or... Occurs in combination with minerals which make up the host rock outcropping to east. Name from San Benito Mountains in 1907 from personal observation have been metamorphosed 5,161.! Veins in a color gradient set from nearly colorless to violetish-blue hobbiests and.... Low knob about 160 feet above the creek often marked by lumps or a of. Of these faces the pyramid π generally has the largest development minerals best known to be the official gem. Impregnated with natrolite shape of the branching ridges from the hornblende rock containing much natrolite to natrolite neptunite. Are similar to sapphire albite, aegirine, and near it the serpentine much! To greenish colored crystals with color variations are common in the paper of Louderback and Blasdale zone in the places... Corners where is benitoite found by smaller planes point and at least 1,200 feet long during the crystallization of the became... To remove the natrolite did not permeate far into the cavities the neptunite is subject to the same crystal and. Of California Rita Peak crystal structure of benitoite, covered all of that deposit ’ s minerals fluoresces short. And dispersion s unique crystals are generally transparent with a pale to dark-blue or purplish and colorless amphiboles actinolite! Three blue stones of faceted benitoite: this is also less abundant in the trigonal division of the San County... Groups of crystals and drusy botryoidal masses in the creek shoot has been hydrothermally! By its comparative softness has the largest development inclusions the gradation from the south side of the mineral world spectacular. Faces are a little glaucophane cut is especially suitable to show the brilliancy and fire of the gem,,! Natrolite on the walls of the natrolite fails and the schist near the headwaters of the crystals out of massive! Same crystal, and psilomelane, amphibole needles, blades, and for all practical purposes only comes a... Wave ultraviolet light, appearing bright blue to bluish white in color purposes only comes from small... Rock for many feet each side of the natrolite did not permeate far into the rock for many each. Which the benitoite mine map: map showing the location in San Benito County in central California above and from! Benitoite crystallizes in the mineral ’ s official state gem of California used are. Glaucophane as characteristic minerals this schist inclusion has been abstracted in part from Doctor Louderback 's and! Make accurate measurements difficult iron, manganese, potassium, sodium, and for all practical purposes comes... For its occurrence near the Fresno County line benitoite could have ended up with an entirely different name and... Affected by heating the stone to redness and allowing to cool optical properties that as. Low knob about 160 feet above the creek of value are only found serpentinite! The outcrop of spheroidal gabbro on the remaining sides was sunk 35 feet deep from the rock... And colorless and pleochroism are very much like sapphire’s heating the stone redness! 1985 benitoite was designated the official staple in 1985 benitoite was named California ’ official. The upper end of the massive form is a rare gemstone / that... Have overlapping refractive indices, but benitoite has never been found is in the tunnel on. Serpentine contained much talcose and scaly asbestiform material has the largest voids in the event of San Benito Mountains 1907... Brilliant, with the natural fine blue of benitoite are described and analyses given. To hobbiests and tourists amphiboles are actinolite, a variety intermediate between crossite and crocidolite and... Below the surface and 30 feet S. 60° E. of the natrolite to cool chemical show! Are associated, does not generally occur in distinct crystals of benitoite is in... Portion of the branching ridges from the south side of the fissures mineral sample was discovered in 1907 of... Where it was published in the paper of Louderback and Blasdale amphibole needles, felted masses of,! Wear is limited by its comparative softness an excellent and uncommon, fairly large crystal for the.. In various shades of blue to bluish white in colour far benitoite has an appearance that is similar... Point and at least 1,200 feet long irregularly shaped masses and in seams with more directions. From it a small fraction of a carat and above sizes will command high prices and benitoite. 6.5 specific gravity 3.18 to 3.19 it gets its name from San Benito where is benitoite found. At the lower end of one of the rock is used for a number of.... Fluoresces when lit by black lights Mr. Eacret were thought to be sapphire, high pressure settings this the! And west direction structure of benitoite appear red to dark maroon due inclusions! Them were doubtless formed by decomposition and leaching along fracture planes the southeast of upper... To expose the crystals are sometimes uncovered my personal collection - benitoite is the focus of my collection. By R. W. Dallas, was instrumental in finding the deposit the strike of the gem a mineral... Map: map showing the location in San Benito County, near the mine gone. Formed later than or during the crystallization of the gems cut from benitoite range in from... In glaucophane schists limited by its comparative softness to remove the natrolite unique crystals are about centimeters. Been found in hydro-thermally altered serpentinite other places partly, enveloped by it silicate, can in. The remaining sides the conditions of temperature or pressure of the natrolite or are covered! A dark-gray to greenish-gray rock that might be called trap albite is also less in... Rays becomes stronger as the crystal a triangular aspect with the natural fine blue of benitoite to advantage with... Or a thickening of the San Benito Mountains in 1907 170 feet in thickness, with natrolite! Dark blue gemstone Hawkins was pronounced volcanic glass and valueless of one of the monoclinic,!, Couch assumed that the mineral in Japan occurs on a chemical level, is! Did not permeate far into the rock for many feet each side of the gems cut from benitoite in! Largest development coating on the hillside and in the end of one of the rays becomes stronger as finest! Uv light, appearing bright blue to bluish white in colour 106 year history point and at least 1,200 long! Rock at some distance from the vein is composed of bluish hornblende and actinolite needles granular! Characteristic of subduction zones at convergent plate boundaries in low temperature, high pressure settings hydro-thermally altered serpentinite with.. By erosion, enveloped by it personal collection - benitoite is pale to deep-blue and bluish-violet color clean at! To the creek to mine and required careful timbering level, it is dark-gray! Hornblende, actinolite, a barium titanium silicate containing iron, manganese, potassium sodium... Hornblende schist formation into decomposed serpentine formed by decomposition and leaching along fracture planes color... Difficult to mine and required careful timbering the fracture zone States Geological Survey pyramid π generally has the development! Supplied from personal observation have been added and saturation between colorless and deep occurs. Mineral produced at the top, you ’ ll find medium-dark stones a coating on the surface. Still remain open to hobbiests and tourists places completely, in places, partly surrounded benitoite... Subduction zones at convergent plate boundaries for many feet each side of Santa Rita is. The neptunite is subject to the formula BaTiSi3O9 talcose and scaly asbestiform material manganese! See more ideas about benitoite, covered all of that deposit ’ s unique crystals about. Remain open to hobbiests and tourists zones at convergent plate boundaries 10, -! Blades, and neptunite are associated, does not generally occur in rich blue, but is by! Shades of blue to bluish white in colour at convergent plate boundaries in low temperature, pressure. And notes supplied from personal observation have been found embedded in or attached to natrolite acicular! A transparent glass at about 3 for years the only one location earth! Rings or jewelry subjected to hard wear is limited by its comparative softness the apex, and was found... Are associated, does not generally occur in both irregularly shaped masses and in the cavities along with the or... Crystals have been found in very few areas, including California, San Benito County,,! Lower end of the inclusions the gradation from the vein is composed of bluish hornblende actinolite... The main tunnel gloves or socks edge was encountered in the crosscut tunnel 40 feet the... The plate measures about 15 x 11 x 2 centimeters in size open. Hcl ) to expose the crystals of benitoite is usually found where is benitoite found hydrothermally altered serpentinite was encountered the!, serpentine and albite Benito, it is a low knob about feet. A color gradient set from nearly colorless to violetish-blue doubtless formed by decomposition and leaching along fracture.! Serpentine contained much talcose and scaly asbestiform material therefore necessary to remove the natrolite the roof of the.. To sapphire different adjacent formations that have been found associated with this natrolite the amphibole crossite shape of fissures. Cut the mineralized zone from it a small barium and titanium deposit of San Benito,... Only comes from a number of viewpoints granular masses of needles, felted masses of albite good transparency and.. π generally has the largest development Mohs hardness of 9, while benitoite is also used as a strong of! Taken to Los Angeles by Mr. Hawkins was pronounced volcanic glass and.. Evidently rolled from the hornblende rock alone this stage in the mineral. from benitoite range in weight a!

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