Barbie: The Gems & the Jewelry

Image and caption from Who Wore What Jewels

Himalaya Tourmaline

Described as “Himalaya Tourmaline,” no, it is not from the Himalayas, the legendary Asia mountain range featuring numerous towering peaks, including Mount Everest.

In the gem world, the world famous Himalaya Tourmaline Mine is located in Mesa Grande’s Gem Hill in San Diego County, California. According to High Desert Gems & Minerals, “the mine is an underground five mile labyrinth of steep passageways that were dug, drilled, and blasted over the past 100 years.

“There are several gem-grade tourmaline mines in San Diego County, but the Himalaya Mine is the most prominent tourmaline mine in the world!  Opened in 1898, the Himalaya Tourmaline Mine is known for producing tons of beautiful gem quality green and pink tourmalines.  An estimated 250 thousand pounds of tourmaline and mineral specimens have been extracted from the mine. The Himalaya Mine produced more tourmaline than any other tourmaline mine in the world, for 15 years, including an amazing 5.5  tons in 1904 (the most tourmaline ever produced in one year).  But, that’s not hard to imagine considering some of the largest pockets have produced roughly a ton of tourmaline. The tourmaline is found in pegmatite veins that run at a 45 degree angle deep into the earth.  Several pegmatite dykes on Mesa Grande contain tourmaline.  The Himalaya Mine is located on the largest tourmaline pegmatite dykes.  Pink, green, bi-colored, tri-colored, and watermelon tourmalines can be found here. Approximately 5 percent of the tourmalines produced are gem-grade.  Many tourmaline specimens have also been extracted from the mine, some of which can be seen at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.”

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Image and caption from Who Wore What Jewels
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