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jay bates

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Hi Jay,

Thanks for sharing your report and pictures with us all. Now i see what the mine dump looks like there. LOL KOLooking
jay bates
Thanks Carl for commenting. New Idria is a ghost town on one of the ways to the Benitoite Gem Mine. The tailings at the Benitoite Gem Mine are those shown where we are screening and washing for benitoite crystals. I was digging, screening, then washing and separating by myself. It was a beautiful day in the seventies. We hauled in our own equipment and most of the water, although the mine provided some water. A couple of our group were searching for benitoite specimens rather than screening.

The night before we had camped at Staging Area Five on Clear Creek. The crescent Moon was seemingly reaching for a planet (Venus??), like you see on the flag of Turkey. It was quiet, since the off-road motorcylists were no longer there, with a summer ban on off-road travel in affect. We also could not have a fire because of high fire danger. The road was very rough, but dry and passable with a high clearance vehicle. We never had to resort to four wheel drive as is necessary in the winter months.
Mike Streeter
Hey Jay,

Thanks for the report and excellent pictures. As you can see, I compiled a field trip report for you from various sources and it turned out good.

jay bates
Thanks Mike. Sorry I didn't have much narrative. Rock and Gem now has two articles on the Benitoite Gem Mine and they probably will both be published together within the next couple months.
Hey Jay
That looks like a great adventure out there for a really neat blue rarity! Are any other types of specimens eroding out of all that rough roadcut on the way in or laying around the old mine you pictured?
Being born in Calif you'd think I'd have a benitoite in my collection but somehow I never aquired one. Now that you've brought them back to my attention maybe I'll "support" your friend! Even for $100 I think it's really nice when mine owners let rockhounds screen like that! The picture of that teeny crystal on your fingertip is "priceless"!(portrait of a true rockhound;to find a thrill in something that small ) Is he the one that advertises in R&G,the Whimsey Mine? KOR, Rhonda
Tom K
Nice report Jay and some interesting photo's as well!

Not being much of a mineral collector I have to ask if that big specimen will produce smaller pieces for faceting or will it stay as it is?

Again my ignorance is showing but why does it cost 100 bucks/day/person? That seems like an awful lot of money to me!

Thanks for the report!

Tom K.
Jim Adams
Hi Jay,

Nice report. I loved the pictures of New Idria and the old mine buildings. It sounds like we could never get out there in our van. LOL! Thanks for the trip.
jay bates
Rhonda, the Whimsey Mine is not the same mine as the Benitoite Gem Mine. I won't comment about where they get their benitoite. If you want benitoite go to the Benitoite Gem Mine and pay $100. Specimens are not as easily picked up off the tailings as they once were. Screening for benitoites is still pretty productive since most people seem to be walking around looking for specimens. Dave is thinking about getting some equipment in and turning over some fresh specimen material. If I were looking for specimens I think I would emulate "Mad Digger Mikie" and dig into some of those piles.

Only a few of the benitoites are of facet grade, most crystal are small, which makes a large benitoite faceted gemstone even rarer. The best prices for faceted benitoites is around $800/carat for a carat or less stone. My faceted .25 point benitoite is worth around $300 because of the nice color and cut. Above a carat, the price goes up geometrically. One of the upcoming stories in Rock and Gem will give the details on the finding of a large stone found there recently after Dave bought the mine. I will not spoil the story by leaking the details.

Tom, yes $100 a day is expensive, but I have found enough benitoite to pay for my several trips. When you consider what it cost to dig for precious opal at Virgin Valley now after all this "Cash and Treasure" hulabaloo, I consider it to still be a bargain. By the way there was recently a big pocket found at the Himalaya Mine and "Cash and Treasure" will be there to finish off opening up the pocket. If you want to dig the tailings at the Himalaya, now is the time to do it.
jay bates
Rhonda, Clear Creek has many many types of specimens, jadeite and plasma agate to be found, if you know where to look. Go to Mindat to see what specimens are found there. I am not sure how the ban after June 1 will affect rockhounding in the Clear Creek area. If you are contemplating a rockhounding trip there you should contact the BLM and find out the details.
Hi Jay,
No,we won't ever be going to Calif,I just wondered if YOU had picked up other materials while all the way out there.

I'll be sure now to buy my specimen from Dave's mine or a private collection,not the "other" guy.

I failed to note my first time through your report that "Benitoite Gem Mine" was in caps as a Name!(DOH! :sleep It's nice to have a report on such a rare mineral here! I'm glad you reminded me of the hole in my collection too! Thanks again. KOR,Rhonda
Recently was hosted by Dave at his mine the Benitoite gem mine. After both day collecting with David and night by black light....rambling the hill laughing to Terry's and Gabes' jokes THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY THAT THE DUDE FROM WHIMBSEY IS'NT SNEAKING ON AND LIGHT FINGERING THE GOODS !!!!!!!. If you have'nt visited the site I guess you could be fooled absolutly no way hes pulling those specimens out of that river...I was there and it is not possible. In the old miners days he would be shot as a claim jumper.
jay bates
tereasa, at least Whimsey has a placer claim below the Benitoite Gem Mine and I would think they do find some of their benitoite there. I know the prevailing opinion of those associated with the mine is that they do more than screen on their own claim. What I find most appalling is the tresspassing by a noted geology professor and his students over the years. He has been told to not come back by the present and previous owners. Last year they camped just outside the mine boundaries after being told they could not collect without paying the fees. That night a couple students sneaked in with black lights after the mine owners were sleeping. A paying customer spotted their tresspass. What does such behavior say to some of some of the top ranked future geologists? It has certainly lowered my opinion of geologists as a profession.
John Cornish
Hi Jay,

I'm not sure how I missed your report, but... thank you! I was searching for the book reference you'd mentioned and found this. Not what I was going for, but a winner none the less! Thanks for taking the time and sharing your adventure! All the very best,

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