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)
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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