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Pala Presents

Gem and Mineral Ephemera
San Diego County
1907, 1923




Precious Gems and Commercial Minerals of San Diego County, California

This booklet was issued by
the Board of Supervisors
of San Diego County [ca. 1907]


A June Land, Instarred with Gems and Gold

San Diego County has acquired distinction as a "unique" corner of the earth. For a decade or more, world-celebrated travelers, men of letters, and persons eminent in the various walks of life, have united in praise of its unequalled climate, its unusual scenic attractions and rare economic possibilities.

In a geographical sense, San Diego County is the southwest corner-stone of the symmetrical structure we term "Our Nation." It consists of a generous slice off the southernmost portion of California. and its physical dimensions are such that the two states of Maryland and Delaware could stand within it side by side, and there would still be three hundred square miles to spare.

 San Diego Bay, California

San Diego Bay, California

The mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California become less rugged as they approach this genial Southland, and, as the lower Peninsular Range, they traverse San Diego County, dividing it into the Coast section, famous for its equable climate, its fruits and flowers; and the Delta region, watered by the Colorado River, a vast land of incomparable fertility—a land of grain and fat beeves—a veritable Canaan in America.

This mountain divide has been familiar to mining men for over thirty years, during which time it has produced many millions of gold bullion from its free-milling ores, and within the past three years it has come into world-wide prominence, and has added another pearl to this county's chain of unmatched possessions, in the production of precious stones. Here, in the recesses of brush-covered, oak-crowned hills, are found in brilliant array these blossoms of the inorganic world. Here are found Beryls bright as the sun, and the lovely Hyacinth in dazzling sheen, and Topaz of varied hues, as exquisite in color as the famed jewels in the Temple of Hercules. Here is the home of the wonderful Tourmaline family, always favorites with connoisseurs, who appreciate their soft yet varied hues. Then in close company are the Zircons that flame like fire, and an occasional Sapphire and Spinel Ruby, with their brilliant colors, and, in addition to these historically famous stones, is a new gem, distinct unto this region, the Kunzite, a queen among gem-stones, as the Diamond is the king, but a stone that in some ways out-diamonds the Diamond. This wonderful gem seems to draw a sweetly-colored tint from the admixture of brightness and violet. To a responsive observer, so delicate is [he play of lilac colors upon the cut gem, that it seems to feel the influence of the air, and to sympathize with the heavens, for on a cloudy day it appears diluted with darker violet shades.

 The Three Brothers Camp

The Three Brothers Camp


In the introduction we referred to this newly-admitted member of the family of Gem Stones. It is so rare that an absolutely new gem is brought into light, that the sudden appearance of this stone of transcendent beauty has attracted the attention of all lovers of jewels and gems throughout the world, not alone because it is artistically beautiful, but also for the reason that, scientifically, it is unique.

Kunzite is a San Diego stone. While San Diego County produces the finest Tourmalines in the world, exquisite Hyacinths, beautiful Beryl and brilliant Topaz, these gems are also found in other parts of the earth, but the Kunzite, named as a graceful compliment in honor of America's celebrated mineralogist, has been found only in San Diego County.

This new gem is a crystallized form of Spodumene, although differing from other crystals of the group, in color, transparency, and its singular qualities of fluorescence, in which property it stands alone among gems. The mineral Spodumene is found in many places in the form of opaque crystals, and in a very few localities in small, richly-colored and transparent crystals, notably the yellow gem Spodumene of Brazil, and the green variety, called Hiddenite, or "little emerald," found in small quantity in North Carolina, and a few poor amethystine pieces at Branchville, Connecticut.

 Camp at Pala Chief Mine, San Diego County

Camp at Pala Chief Mine, San Diego County

The San Diego Spodumene, or Kunzite, occurs in crystals of noble size. They are of a delicate, rosy lilac tint, are perfectly clear and of great brilliancy, and when cut they make gems of such excellence that their only fit companion in the society of gems is the Diamond.

The first of these wonderful crystals were obtained early in 1903, near Pala, in San Diego County, California. Since then several deposits of the rare crystals have been found in the near vicinity of the original discovery. The crystals are found usually associated with colored Tourmalines, which of themselves are of notable interest, and also in close proximity to large deposits of Amblygonite and Lepidolite, which lithia minerals are exposed here in all abundance unequaled in any other part of the world. The formation in which Kunzite is found is a Coarse decomposed granite (pegmatite), the feldspar much kaolinized and reduced to a red dirt; at limes Lepidolite comes into the pegmatite dike, and with it appear colored Tourmalines and Kunzite crystals.

The hardness of Kunzite is about 7.5. It is of double refraction; with very marked dichroism. Looked at transversely they are nearly colorless, or faintly pink, but longitudinally they present a rich lilac color. The crystals are so etched and corroded that it has not been possible to study their crystallography with much profit. Their specific gravity is 3.183. The chemical constituents of Kunzite are found to be:

Silicic Acid 64.05
Oxide of Aluminum 27.30
Oxide of Nickel .06
Oxide of Manganese .11
Oxide of Zinc .44
Oxide of Lithium 6.88
Oxide of Potassium .06
Oxide of Sodium .30
Oxide of Calcium .80
 Matrix, formation of Quartz and Tourmaline Crystals

Matrix, formation of Quartz and Tourmaline Crystals


Tourmaline is remarkable for the number and variety of the elements of which it is composed. Prof. George F. Kunz states that of an analysis of twenty-seven specimens, no two were alike in composition, and but few contained the same proportion of any one of the constituents. No other gem-stone has such a suite of colors, and the Tourmalines of San Diego County are remarkable for their color groupings, as they are also remarkable for their hardness and brilliancy, which latter properties are not shared in by Tourmalines generally, and renders the Tourmaline of San Diego County of superior excellence as gem material.

The San Diego Tourmaline is found in the colorless variety, known us Achroite; the red, Rubellite or Siberite; the blue, Indicolite or Brazilian Sapphire; the green, or Brazilian Emerald; the yellowish-green, Ceylon Chrysolite or Ceylon Peridot, and also in pink, claret, black, brown, and every shade of the colors above named.

The crystalization is obtuse rhomboid, and generally forms six, nine and twelve-sided prisms. Its hardness is 7 to 7.5; specific gravity 3, and lustre vitreous. The Tourmaline if heated or rubbed becomes electric, and will attract small objects. The property that distinguishes Tourmalines from other gems is principally that of polaric electricity; upon heating, one end of a Tourmaline crystal is found to be positive, the other negative. The Tourmaline possesses double refractive powers, and also has the power of polarizing light, and by reason of this property it is used to analyze other minerals.


 Specimen of Tourmaline Matrix

Specimen of Tourmaline Matrix

This stone is one of the oldest known gems. In color it shades from a light yellow to a dark red. It ranks with the Diamond in lustre; and when cut and polished sells from $10 to $50 per carat, according to the quality of the stone.

It is spoken of in the Bible. The foundations of the wall of the Holy City were garnished with all manner of precious stones; of the twelve stones, a Hyacinth was the eleventh. (In some of thee translations called Jacinth.) See Revelations, 21; 19–20. Again, the 200,000 horsemen and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire and of Hyacinth. See Revelations, 9; 17.

Hyacinth, or Jacinth, takes its name from Hvacinthus, a mythological figure connected with the Hyacinthia, a festival celebrated by the Spartans in honor of Apollo of Amyclæ, whose primitive image standing on a throne is described by Pausanias. The legend attached to the festival is to the effect that Hyacinthus, a beautiful youth, beloved by the god, was accidentally killed by him with a discus. From his blood sprang a dark-colored flower, afterward called Hyacinth, and from this flower the stone derives its name. It shades from light golden to crimson.

Today the world's production of Hyacinth is confined almost to an area 100 miles square in which San Diego is located. The Hyacinth is 7.5 in hardness and has a specific gravity of 4.30. Composition—Silica 33, zircania 67=100. San Diego County produces the finest Hyacinths in the world, and can supply a reasonable demand.


This beautiful mineral belongs to the primitive format-on and is found in quartz and granite veins. It crystalizes in six-sided prisms and has a hardness of 7.5 to 8. Its specific gravity is 2.67 to 2.73. In lustre it is vitreous, and it has a slight double refraction. Its cleavage is imperfect. It becomes electric by rubbing.

When this stone is found in the grass-green color it is the Emerald, and one of the most highly prized of stones. The Emerald is by far the most brilliant of green stones, excepting possibly, the green Sapphire. A perfect Emerald of a large size is difficult to obtain, as this color of Beryl is usually filled with flaws. In composition Beryl ls made up in most part of silica, with alumina, glucina and peroxide of iron. The vivid green color of the green Beryl, or Emerald, is probably caused by a small amount of oxide of chrome which it contains.

 Tannenbaum Tourmaline Mine, Mesa Grande

Tannenbaum Tourmaline Mine, Mesa Grande

When Beryl is of a light sky-blue it is known as Aquamarine; when very light greenish-blue it is Siberian Aquamarine; and when it is greenish-yellow it is called Aquamarine Chrysolite, Under an artificial light these varieties of Beryl are unusually brilliant.

There is also a yellow varietv of this stone, which is called Golden Beryl, and gems cut from this colored Beryl produce a beautiful effect.

The Beryl deposits of San Diego County are furnishing gem material of excellent purity—a pink variety among other colors, which is a rare form.


This brilliant gem stone was first discovered in old times on a foggy island in the Red Sea, and it was so difficult to find, that the stone was named Topazo—to seek. This stone crystallizes in right rhombic prisms, with dissimilar pyramidal ends. It is 8 in hardness and its specific gravity is 3.5 to 3.56. The colored varieties are the lighter. It is of vitreous lustre, cleavage perfect, fracture sub-conchoidal; it has double refraction, and is dichroic; electric by friction or heat. It is composed of alumina, silica and fluorine, but ill varying proportions.

 Tunnel, 325 feet long, San Diego Tourmaline Company, Mesa Grande

Tunnel, 325 feet long, San Diego Tourmaline Company, Mesa Grande

The Topaz when white or colorless is called "Slaves' Diamond;" when bluish-white it is termed Siberian, and when golden to reddish-yellow it is Brazilian; a pale wine-yellow Topaz is called Saxony; the pink variety is called Brazilian Ruby, and the light-blue, aquamarine or greenish is termed a Brazilian Sapphire. The pink color is developed in the reddish or dark-yellow varieties by heating the stone in a crucible. Beryl and Chrysolite are distinguished from Topaz by weight and hardness, Beryl being much lighter and Topaz much harder. The so-called Oriental Topaz is really a yellow Corundum, and harder and heavier than true Topaz.

San Diego County has so far produced beautiful specimens of the blue, the white and the yellow varieties of Topaz. The blue is particularly valuable because of its being a rare form.

Other Gem Stones

The gems found in this county in quantities insufficient, as yet, for commercial purposes are:

Sapphire, which has all the properties of the ruby except that it is 9, a trifle harder than ruby. Only a few specimens have been cut here.

Ruby, spinel variety, hardness 8, or 8.5, softer than the true ruby; found in twined [sic] crystals.

Chrysolite, a yellow stone, peculiar to Levant countries. 

Cairngorm, a brown stone, common in many countries. 

Moonstone, a blue-white or "liquid-colored" stone. 

Epidote, a yellowish-green stone.

Axinite, a purple stone, soluble in strong acid. 

Actinilyte, a hornblende crystal.

Pearl, found in shellfish, usually small or imperfect.

Garnets of the Essonite variety have been found at a number of localities in San Diego County. Fine Essonite crystals of rich yellow to orange-red in color, and very brilliant, have been discovered. Spessartite Garnets and Garnets of other shades, from dark-red to black, are also found.

Turquoise and Amethysts are found here, as also the Chrysophrase, Jade and Bloodstone.

 Sorting the stones

Sorting the stones

It will be observed from the fore-going that almost every form of gem-stone of historic value has been found in San Diego County except the Diamond. The formation is here, and indications point strongly to their discovery upon systematic search, for it is known that the various semi-precious stones keep company in the same locality, forming, as it were, a noble society of gems, rendered still more illustrious by their association with the noble metals, Gold and Platinum.

San Diego Lapidaries

The beauty of a precious stone generally remains hidden beneath a rough and weather-worn exterior until the Lapidist, skilled in the knowledge of his art, reveals its beauty. A rough diamond at its best does not equal the brilliancy of cut glass; it is necessary to take this rough crystal, and cut and polish it, so that its wonderful power to reflect and disperse light may be utilized. The science of cutting is to study the angle to which the rays of light are bent on entering from the air into the denser medium of the stone, and to so arrange the facets as to catch the rays of light in their attempt to pass through, and by driving them back and forth among the walls, concentrate them in the interior of the stone and return them in a brilliant flash of light through the face of the stone to the eye of the beholder.

 One of the six lapidaries in San Diego where native gems are cut and polished

One of the six lapidaries in San Diego where native gems are cut and polished

Ideal cutting not only requires exact proportions, but the placing of the facets mathematically true, and several of the Lapidists of San Diego have perfected very ingenious devices for securing mechanically right proportions and exact facetings. The large and well-equipped Lapidaries of San Diego, by improved methods, have raised the scale of beauty of cut "fancy" or colored stones. They have learned to avoid the mistakes of some lapidists, and by developing the best color contained in the crystals, they are able to make cheaper varieties of stones rival in beauty others far more costly. The gem industry in San Diego county is rapidly growing and San Diego bids fair to be not only a gem-producing center, but the center of the cutting industry in America.

 A remarkable specimen, showing Tourmaline, Hyacinth, Beryl, Topaz, Smoky Quartz, Orthoclase and Albite

A remarkable specimen, showing Tourmaline, Hyacinth, Beryl, Topaz, Smoky Quartz, Orthoclase and Albite

The Symbolic Significance of Gems

In ancient times precious stones were supposed to he endowed with occult charms. such as the power to confer health, beauty, riches, honor, good fortune and influence, Some of these old-time superstitions still attach to gems, and give additional interest to their possession and study. Men and women today wear them upon their persons, prizing them as amulets, and by many they are thought to have some connection with the planets and seasons, a special gem or "birth stone" being worn for each month. The following may be taken as the modern arrangement of birth stones and their significance:



With the mention of Gold, our thoughts turn instinctively to that most wonderful of all metals, the desire to possess which has led to nearly all the important events on record, from the day the Argonauts sailed from Greece in search of the fabled "Golden Fleece."

San Diego County is rich in this most precious substance, and since the year 1868, when Gold was first discovered in the Julian hills, down to the present, there has flowed from her mines a steady stream of yellow metal to add to the wealth of the world. To show the extent to which this industry is carried on, it is well to mention that at Hedges, in San Diego County, there is a stamp mill with a battery of 140 stamps, and at Picacho, a few mites distant, there is a roller process with a capacity of one thousand tons per day. For the most part gold mining in San Diego County has been carried on by men who nave developed their mines from the product of the mines, and mining men know that it rakes a good mine to accomplish that end. The industry has suffered from a lack of outside capital, which has compelled the miners in some localities to resort to primitive methods in mining and reducing their ores.

 Slab of Onyx measuring 16 feet x 4 feet x 1 foot 2 inches, weight 13,440 lbs. From Quarries of New Pedrara Mexican Onyx Company

Slab of Onyx measuring 16 feet x 4 feet x 1 foot 2 inches, weight 13,440 lbs. From Quarries of New Pedrara Mexican Onyx Company

The following list of commercial minerals found in this county was awarded the gold medal at the California State Fair held at Sacramento in 1906.

Gold ore from fifty different mines. 

Copper ore from six different mines.

Galena and Silver ore from three different mines.

Ten different varieties of Sand—Builders', Magnetic Mineral, Glass, Gold and Cement.

Lime Silicate
Lime Sulphates
Soap Stone
Polishing Powder
Mineral Paint
Flour Spur
Builders and Potters' Clay
Coral from the desert
Pummice Stone
Lithia Mica

Opalized Wood
Purpurite Crystalized
Hematite Crystalized
Columbite Crystal
Uranatil Crystalized
Albite Crystalized
Orthoclase Crystalized
Carundum [sic]
Marble and Onyx
Orbicular Diorite
Crystalized Copper
Natural Glass

 Julian Mining Camp

Julian Mining Camp

An Invitation

The foregoing pages have dealt but briefly with the mineral resources of this truly wonderful county, and these, in connection with the other natural advantages of climate, soils and commercial possibilities, cause the San Diegan to believe that this land has been especially blessed, and with this feeling of assurance the inhabitants of San Diego County invite all who read this little book, to come and see for themselves and become, for the time being, San Diego's honored guest; to drink deeply of its life-giving airs, laden with the fragrance of lemon groves; to revel in the luxury of a climate which official meteorological records prove to be the most equable in the world; to share in the development of San Diego's unparalleled list of natural resources; to have a part in the great commercial destiny that awaits upon San Diego's perfect harbor at the completion of the Panama Canal. We invite you to come, and once here you will not wish to renew life under the hard conditions and meagre gifts of other regions, but you will rather unite your brain and capital with San Diego's resources and certainly achieve the two essential elements of happiness—a well-filled purse and a restful state of mind.

 Stonewall Mine and Mill

Stonewall Mine and Mill


For further information regarding [he gem industry of San Diego Count)', or the purchase of gems, address any of the Following well known forms, who are ruiners, cutters and dealers in native gems:

Barker Burnell & Son, corner Fifth and D Streets.
San Diego Tourmaline Co., Rooms 26 and 27 Lawyers Block. 
C. W. Emsting, 915 fifth Street.
J. Jessop & Sons, Granger Block.
San Diego Gem Co., Room 18 Fox-Heller Building. 
C. H, Lewis, 2335 Front Street.
Naylur & Co., 846 Fifth Street.
Mesa Grande Consolidated Gold and Gem Mining Co., Rooms 10 and 11 Pacific Building.
Hyacinth Mining Co., 1322 F Street. 
Leo Schiller, 946 Fifth Street.


 Hedges Mining Camp

Hedges Mining Camp




Fourth city in population in California.

Population in 1900, 17,700; in 1906, 36,000.

The only harbor between San Francisco and the Panama Canal.

First and last American port of call Pacific Tehuantepec route.

Gen. Greely says "San Diego has the most equable climate in the world."

Building Permits
1901 $124,285.00
1906 $2,761,285.00
Deeds Recorded
1901 2,766
1906 10,872
Postoffice Receipts
1901 $40,118.00
1906 $71,772,41
Bank Deposits
January 1st, 1901 $1,836,715.98
January 1st, 1906 $6,948,972.05
Importations of Lumber
1901 16,979,000 feet
1906 59,000,000 feet

For further information concerning San Diego City or County, address

Chamber of Commerce
San Diego California

 Cluster of Roses

Cluster of Roses

Following is a 1923 promotional item from San Diego County.

For more on John Ware, see California Gem Mining: Chronicle of a Comeback



PRECIOUS and SEMI-PRECIOUS Gem Stones mined in San Diego County, California—"THE GEM  CASKET OF AMERICA," and the fourth largest Gem bearing area in the world.

The mighty Sierra Nevada mountain range of California becomes less rugged as they approach this wonderful southland and traverse San Diego County, in their course down the lower Peninsula.

There is much evidence to prove that this favored section of America was at one time in a highly metamorphic (or molten) state and that on the cooling of the earth's crust, vast cracks or fissures occurred which were filled by igneous materials, containing rare elements, which were forced upward and became rock by cooling, and it is in these fissures or pegmatite dykes as they are now called, that the wonderful Gem Crystals of nature's labratory [sic] are found. Here in the recesses of brush covered, oak crowned hills are found in brilliant array the blossoms of the inorganic world. Here are found the dazzling Blue Topaz, the Beryl as bright as the sun, the Hessonite and Pyrope Garnets with that flame-like fire, and the beautiful Tourmaline family whose soft and varied hues fill the full gamut of the spectral colors; also the lovely Kunzite (distinct to this region) so delicate in its play of lilac color and brightness as to place it in the society of Precious Gem Stones of rarety [sic], excellence and beauty.

Many more Gem Stones of less importance such as the Chalcedony moonstone, Jasper of many colors, Epidote—a yellow-green stone, Rose Quartz, Cairngorm—a smoky brown stone of the Quartz variety, Dumortierite—a lavender colored stone and Gold Quartz showing free gold, are found in varying quantities in San Diego's Gem Casket.

Pearls and the abalone pearl with its beautiful irridescent [sic] colorings are found along the adjacent beach line.

Light Blue and White.
Physical Properties:
Crystal System Rhombic
Hardness 8
Specific Gravity 3.53–3.62
Refractive Index 1.61–1.62
Refraction Double
Dichroism Very Distinct
Red, Rose, Pink, Deep Pink, Light Pink, Very Light Pink, Green, Light Green, Deep Green, Olive Green, Yellow Green, Nile Green, Yellow, Brown, Black, White and intermediate shades, also Cats Eye.
Physical Properties:
Crystal System Hexagonal
Specific Gravity 3.10
Refractive Index 1.62–1.65
Refraction Double
Dichroism Strong
Lilac and White.
Physical Properties:
Crystal System Monoclinic
Hardness 6½ to 7
Specific Gravity 3.18
Refractive Index 1.66–1.67
Refraction Double
Dichroism Strong
Blue Aquamarine
Green Aquamarine
Pink Morganite
Yellow Golden Beryl
Physical Properites:
Crystal System Hexagonal
Hardness 7 3/4 to 8
Specific Gravity 2.69–2.79
Refractive Index 1.57–1.58
Dichroism Weak
Dark Reddish Brown "Jacinth"
Medium Brown "Hyacinth"
Yellow "Cinnamon Stone"
Physical Properties
Crystal System Cubic
Specific Gravity 3.60
Refractive Index 1.74
Refraction Single
Dichroism None
Transparent to Translucent.
Pink or Rose "Rose Quartz"
Smoky "Cairngorm"
Yellow "Citrene"
Physical Properties:
Crystal System Hexagonal
Hardness 7
Specific Gravity 2.66
Refractive Index 1.54–1.55
Refraction Double
Dichroism Weak
Crypto-crystalline Quartz
White to Milky "California Moonstone"
Physical Properties:  
Hardness 7
Red, Yellow, Brown, Dark Green, Grayish Blue and Varigated.
Physical Properties:
Hardness 7

San Diego, California

Down in Southern California,
In the southwest U.S.A.
Is the beautiful thriving city,
San Diego, by the bay.
The city that has no winter,
For it's summer all the time
It never gets too hot or cold,
For it's a moderate southern clime.

When the ocean waves are rolling,
And the tempest stirs the Bay,
And the snow is on the mountain tops,
You can hear ten thousand say,
"Give me sunny San Diego,
On the fair Pacific Coast,
For of all the places in the land,
The sun shines here the most."

With orange blossoms on the trees,
And roses all year round,
With palms and flowers in great array,
The country does abound
Majestic mountains, too, are here,
With lofty craig and crest,
Within whose ledges nature made
The Gems with which we're blest.

A repository of radiant gems,
In these ledges are displayed,
Brought to light by ardent labor,
With the shovel, pick and spade
There are Kunzite, Beryl and Hyacinth,
The finest ever seen,
With Emeralite, Quartz and Topaz,
And the beautiful Tourmaline.

Within this sturdy mountain range,
Are valleys rich and fine,
Where the air is full of sweet perfume
From the honeysuckle vine
And many a shady nook is found,
In these valleys soft and green,
Where the tourist comes from near and far
In a Ford or a Limousine.

Between the mountains and the coast
Fine orchards can be seen,
With olive, lemon and orange trees,
Grape fruit and the tangerine
Here all the fruits of Paradise
Are grown in great profusion,
With garden truck in trainload lots,
And this is no delusion.

With the Harbor of the Sun
The sight is hard to beat,
For in these spacious waters
Lies the U.S. fighting fleet
There are battleships and cruisers,
With guns most wonderfully wrought,
And various kinds of fighting craft,
From Subs to the great Dreadnought.

You may search the whole world over
To find yourself a home,
In Europe or America,
Wherever you may roam
But of all the cities in the land,
After traveling to and fro,
There is not one place that you can find
To equal SAN DIEGO.


Composed and Copyrighted 1923 by
JOHN W. WARE, San Diego, California

Exquisite mountings of Platinum, Gold or Silver designed and manufactured in our Jewelry factory to harmonize with any of the Gem Stones from our own mines in San Diego County.


Miner and Cutter of
Precious and Semi-Precious Gem Stones
1050 Sixth Ave. – San Diego, Calif.