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Month: July 2015

Conquering the Diamond Mountains, Plumas County, CA

Conquering the Diamond Mountains, Plumas County, CA

Other than the rain and lightning Saturday night, this trip is one I’m glad I made. The scenery is outstanding and relatively lush compared to the baron deserts I’m  so used to hunting.

When I got to the area I did some general scouting around, then decided to head up to crystal peak.  The main road is daunting for those of us who are a bit uncomfortable with heights and ledges. I was happy not to have encountered any traffic on the narrower passages with nothing on one side but air.

The main road was a little rough from the recent rains and a few of them were shut down completely, but I managed to get to an area that proved out to be a good one.  The hunting was a bit rough with a lot of shrubbery in some areas to hike through or around, and a lot of steep inclines to scramble.  It took me the better part of the weekend to hit some “pay dirt”.

These pics were taken at night, which was the only time I had access to a photographer, so the sheer beauty of these rocks in the bright summer sunlight isn’t there, but still, I think these provide a little taste of what I brought home with me.

This is a pic of my favorite find of the weekend.  It’s around eight inches across and weighs about 10 pounds. This is the famed rose quartz from the region – very glassy in person, quite fracturey but I’ll be able to get chunks of sufficient size to make nice cabs, and a few spots glassy enough to facet.

roselgThat’s the largest, but I have a pack full of smaller chunks.  A lot of the rose is in layers between smoky or white quartz so it’s hard to tell the quality before actually splitting it out of the rest of the rock. There are some white inclusions in some, so I am hoping to be lucky enough to have gotten a lens or two of the fabled  asteriated rose.

What I didn’t expect is that some of the rose isn’t rose – it’s lavender and also glassy.  I don’t feel the color of these stones shows up as well in the pics, but they are gorgeous in sunlight. These stones are only a few inches in size, and the lavender will also have to be broken out of the surrounding chunks. Several are visibly big enough to make a cab or faceted stone from, though.


The next rock didn’t seem to know what kind of quartz it wanted to be.  The crystals are a mix of pink, citron, and smoky crystals. It’s quite an astounding thing to look at up close. This one deserves a much better pic.


I also picked up some smoky quartz that was fairly well rutilated, but will have to do some cleaning and examining before I can say anything about the quality.

While there, I started to explore around the Mt Adams area. The roads in this area were not friendly at all. The recent rains have them very rutted, and in some spots pretty muddy, so I didn’t get real deep into that area. I did, however, find a few old mines and sorted through the tailings.  There’s a lot of blue and green mineral there (copper mines, I would figure from that).  The chrysocolla,  malachite, azurite and other minerals were only in very thin veins and coatings. Pretty for display but not what you would actually purposely go hunt for.  If I were in the area again, I’d check to see if there was better quality deeper into that mountain area…..if the road quality would allow.

All in all, with the road conditions what they were, I felt pretty lucky to have been able to bring back the fabled rose quartz of the Diamond Mountains and am looking forward to working with it. I’m also hoping to be surprised with a few lenses of asteriated rose, but won’t ask for that much luck for a first time to the area.