Road Trips for American Gems
When you think of precious gemstones and where they come from, often we think of exotic places that have a lengthy history of producing one type of material. Opal from Australia, Jade from China, Sapphires and Rubys from Madagascar or Myanmar, and diamonds and tanzanite from Africa.
The United States has a plentiful selection of well known gemstones and rock material commonly found in cabochons used for jewelry. Because the list is long, I will start with a few road trips that I have experienced first hand.
The state gemstone for California is benitoite, a very rare blue stone. Some mines even offer digs for the public. Curious? You can check out the Benitoite Mining Company website here. Pack road snacks as the drive to the mine is a long one on scenic backroads.
The more commonly found gemstone in California is pink tourmaline. There are still some active mines near San Diego. The bubble gum pink gem is know to have veil-like inclusions that make each stone unique. While you're there, garnet, quartz, kunzite, morganite, and beryl can also be found at nearby mines. There are a ton of rockhounding books on line and you can go dig at some of the tourmaline mines or order a bag of ore to go! Check it out here.
Arizona New Mexico, Navada, and Colorado are commonly known for their turquoise. There are well over 50 different varieties of turquoise from just these four states! I visited the Turquoise Museum while passing through New Mexico and would definitely recommend a stop if your summer road trip is taking you through Albuquerque. Not heading that way? You can just order this fascinating and extremely thorough book on all things turquoise written by the owners of the museum.
No road trips in your near future? No problem! Check out our selection of handmade turquoise jewelry here.