Dear Paul, Idocrase and Vesuvianite are the same. Calfornite is
the name that was coined by the pioneer American Gemologist, G.F.
Kunz, back around the turn of the century, to apply to the Idocrase
that occurred in Califonia that resembled Jade. I have collected
beautiful small crystals of brown Vesuvianite from the tactites that
occur in the Bishop, CA. area. The Pulga material is quite unusual
and I would like to have a piece of it for my collection. If you
have any you might part with, I would like to buy a representative
sample from you. Please contact me offline. Ron at Mills Gem, Los
Hi Ron, sorry - just the mineralogist in me talking - we generally
speak of "varieties" in mineralogy. For example, if I wanted to
speak to you about tourmaline, I would specify which variety -
elbaite, rubellite, schorl, etc. At any rate, what I was getting at
was that it was my understanding that California Jade was massive
vesuvianite, and not a mixture of idocrase and garnet. I would like
to know which is correct because I had not heard of that before.
On the California Jade (vesuvianite?), I have collected quite a bit
of it with a beautiful apple green color which makes great cabachons -
although I have to admit that I have never been able to collect
anything sizable enough to cut something large like a belt buckle.
Some of the material also has a dark green mottling in it which is
very unusual and looks nice polished. The material is fairly easy to
cut and polish, and I use all diamond media for the work that I do
finishing with 100,000 mesh. It takes a very high luster. The
material does not seem to be heat sensitive at all, and I have always
used normal dopping techniques. Probably the best known locality for
this material is at Pulga, California, which in itself is truly in
the middle of "God's Country." A trip there would be worth the
scenery alone. Oh, and I almost forgot - I don't have any that I can
part with at the moment - tis lost in a box somewhere......