BT601 Benitoite with Neptunite
Gem Mine, San Benito Co., California, United States
6.3x 6.1x 2.6 cm

An old and very rich example of this highly sought after combination-- benitoite crystals with neptunite, from the only locality known to have produced displayable examples (there is a second locality in Japan that produces micromounts).  This piece has numerous crystals of both species-- including one benitoite that is nearly triply terminated (if it isn't, it certainly looks like it is-- see the closeup image.)  Another plus, is that you cannot see the underlying blue schist-- the benitoite is usually etched out of the white natrolite, and on lower quality examples, this process is allowed to continue until the rock matrix is visible.

Tis location has been worked by several owners since the early 1900's, though the last major mining effort  took place around 2004.  Since then most of the specimens brought to the market tend to be lower grade-- often with the natrolite etched too far, or with significant damage to the benitoite, as the pieces were recovered and prepared from mine tailings.

Benitoite has been the the state gem of California since 1985.

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