Benitoite – the Californian Gemstone
Benitoite is a beautiful blue gemstone that is only found in gem quality in one place in the world. It has the fire and reflective properties of diamond!
Why can’t I find benitoite at my local jewellery store?
Benitoite is the official state gemstone for California. It is only found at the Benito Gem mine in the Diablo Range of San Benito County, California. The shape of a benitoite crystal form the outline of the emblem of the California Federation of Mineralogical Studies.
This rough specimen and 6.01 carat faceted specimen can be found at the Los Angeles Natural history Museum.
The world’s largest faceted benitoite (over 15 carats) is found in the Michael Scott Collection. This collection came to the Royal Ontario Museum in 2008 and photographing was not allowed for the private collection.
As well as showing high dispersion (fire), Benitoite also has a very strong fluorescence. Nearly all specimens are bright blue under short wave ultraviolet light and inert under long wave ultraviolet light.
If you are interested in touring the Benitoite mine and collecting for a fee, visit the website of the California State Gem Mine. This site also has a gallery of specimens that have been found recently and the history of benitoite mining.
Why is benitoite only found in collector jewellery?
Benitoite is rare and expensive!
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Posted on June 13, 2011, in Individual Gemstones and tagged benitoite, California, californian, dispersion, fluorescence, fluorescent, gemmologist, gemmology, gemologist, gemology. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.