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Bureau of Mines / Minerals yearbook: Metals, minerals, and fuels 1972
Year 1972, Volume 1 (1972)

Clarke, Robert G.
Gem stones,   pp. 559-565 ff. PDF (763.6 KB)


Page 559

  559Gem Stones 
By Robert C. Clarke' 
 Although no formal gem stone mining industry exists in the United States,
production in 1972 was estimated to be $2.7 million, an increase of 4% over
the value of production in 1971. Individual collectors accounted for most
of the quan 
tity and value. Members of clubs in all States collected mineral specimens
and rock samples. A few deposits were operated for the production of rough
material that was sold directly to wholesale or retail outlets and sometimes
to jewelry manufacturers. 
DOMESTIC PRODUCTION 
 Gem stone production was estimated to be $1,000 or more for each of 38 States.
The following States accounted for 77% of the total production, in thousands:
Oregon, $793; California, $215; Arizona, $168; Texas, $163; Washington, $163;
Wyoming, $142; Colorado, $131; Montana, $120; Nevada, $110; and Idaho, $105.
 The State of Arkansas purchased the only diamond mine area in North America
for development as a State park.2 The property amounted to 867 acres, including
the 78-acre diamond-producing crater. The cost was $750,000. 
 A find of semiprecious tourmahine was reported at the Vevel Pit on Plumbago
Mountain, near Newry, Maine.3 High value estimates were made for the find
because of the large quantity of watermelon tourmalines, 3 inches in diameter,
4 to 5 inches long, green on the outside and pink inside. 
 The Ruggles mine, near Grafton, N.H., the oldest mica mine in the United
States, was reopened to tourists and rock collectors on a fee basis.4 The
mine was originally opened in 1803 and was operated for the production of
feldspar from 1932 to 1959. About 150 minerals have been found at the Ruggles
mine. The list, in addition to mica and feldspar, indudes amethyst, beryl,
rose and smoky quartz, aquamarine, garnet, gummite, autunite, and zircon.
 Tourists to the Mt. Washington Valley area of the White Mountain National
Forest obtained collector's permits free of charge from the US. Forest Service
Head- 
quarters at Laconia, N.H.5 The permit allowed hobby collecting only and required
restoring work areas. Minerals mentioned as collected included smoky quartz,
amethyst, topaz, feldspar, mica, and other pegmatite minerals. 
 Mines and minerals of the State of Virginia were described in a four-part
series.6 
 A 10,000-pound boulder of jade was cut at the Majestic Jade Co., Riverton,
Wyo.7 The boulder was one of several removed by the company from its Verla-Irene
operations near Jeffrey City, Wyo. After cutting, the jade sold for an average
of $10 per pound. 
 Descriptions of field trips, events, and mineral and gem stone finds were
reported throughout the year by Gems and Minerals, Lapidary Journal, Mineralogical
Record, and Rocks and Minerals. 
 1 Physical scientist, Division of Nonmetallic Minerals. 
 2 Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, Ark.). Crater of Diamonds Land is Purchased
by State. Mar. 
15, 1972, p. 17. 
 Shevis, A. $1 Million Value Newry Tourmaline Trove Is Found. Daily Kennebec
Journal, Augusta, Maine, Nov. 18, 1972, pp. 1—2. 
 4 Bohlin, V. Gems To Fall From the Sky. Herald Traveler and Boston Record
American (Boston, Mass.), Sept. 6, 1972, p. 22. 
 5 Morrisey, C. There's Quartz in Them Thar Hills. New Hampshire Sunday News
(Manchester, N.H.), Sept. 3, 1972, pp. 31, 37. 
6 Morrill P. Virginia Mines and Minerals. 
Rocks and Minerals. Part I; No. 393, v. 47, No. 
6, June 1972, pp. 363—371. Part II; Nos. 
394—395, v. 47, Nos. 7—8, July—August 1972, pp. 
- 435—444. Part III; No. 396, v. 47, No. 9, September 1972, pp. 515—523.
Part IV; No. 397, v. 47, No. 10, October 1972, pp. 587—596. 
 7 Star-Tribune (Casper, Wyo.). More To Come. Jan. 6, 1973. 


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