A Dazzling Discovery: More Gems Mined in the U.S.
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
you may have learned last month, while mining may not be as prevalent as it was during the booms that
drove people westward, there are numerous gemstones that are mined in the
U.S. Color, size, value, and rarity do
vary among gemstone types, which still create a demand for gems to be mined in
the U.S. — especially when those gems come in a rainbow of colors.
semi-precious stone, tourmaline’s most common color is black, but has become
known for its bi-colored variation of pink and green, called watermelon
tourmaline. Ranging from a single color to bi-colored, to tri-colored,
tourmaline’s color variations are generally agreed to be from iron and titanium
(for greens and blues), and manganese (for reds and pinks, and possibly
yellow). Other than being multi-colored, what makes tourmaline a distinctive
gemstone is that it crystalizes in the trigonal system, a system that no other
commonly mined minerals have.
Where it’s mined in the U.S.: California and Maine. California’s tourmaline
deposits are significant to the northern hemisphere; the deposits here have
been used for cutting and mineral specimens more than any other tourmaline
deposits in the northern hemisphere. Maine hosts one of the largest tourmaline
deposits where the gemstone has been found since 1820.
Rank on the Mohs scale of hardness: 7-7.5
It wouldn’t be
a list of gemstones mined in the U.S. without November’s birthstone of topaz
making the list. While topaz most commonly occurs as colorless in nature, this
gemstone can also range from yellow to brown. Blue and pink topaz do exist, however, as these colors are
so rarely found naturally, a topaz in one of these shades has most likely been
treated to achieve its distinct hue. Orange is the traditional color of
precious topaz that’s received the honor of being November’s birthstone. Orange
or yellow topaz tend to be the most sought-after colors, so it may be hard to
believe that the gem is often produced by placer mining, mining of a stream
Where it’s mined in the U.S.: Utah, Texas, Colorado, and Nevada.
Rank on the Mohs scale of hardness: 8. Topaz is actually one of the defining minerals
on the Mohs scale.
mining may have been what caused people to settle the western United States, it
hasn’t completely died out. Now, however, valuable metals aren’t the end goal;
semi-precious and precious gemstones can be found right here in the states.
into next month’s blog post; we’re continuing the series of featuring gemstones
mined in the U.S.
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