17
Oct

Treasure Hunting Time!

by Alan Rider

Pink tourmaline

Pink tourmaline

Just heard a report that the price of gold has reached an all-time high at over $1,000 per ounce.  Which got me thinking that maybe it was time to head back to Wood’s Creek in California’s Sierra Nevada gold country to see if I could dig up—literally—enough gold to give me a little extra walking-around money.

It also reminded me of another natural treasure I discovered nearly 20 years ago in the mountains northeast of San Diego.  Just past the sleepy little town of Pala (not quite as sleepy these days, now that the Pala tribe has opened a glittering new casino with a killer buffet) you’ll find the turn off for Gems Of Pala.

Here you can sift through buckets of gravel in search of the same hot-pink tourmalines that were coveted by the last Chinese empress.  The material is brought up from the area around the gem pockets in the depths of my friend Blue Sheppard’s Stewart Mine and is often filled with small tourmalines that range in color from pink to a gorgeous green/pink bi-color variety known as watermelon.

Treasure hunting with Blue Sheppard

Treasure hunting with my friend Blue Sheppard

At $20 per bucket, it’s an inexpensive and fun way to spend the afternoon treasure hunting.  Best of all, it’s also an outing that—if you’re lucky—might very well pay off in a collection of gemstones that are actually many times more rare than diamonds!

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