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Diamonds in California?

Diamonds in California?
June 04, 2007 09:03AM
Going to California this summer and was reading an old book that said that there are parts of California that has diamond. Is this true? Has anyone ever found diamonds in California? And if so, locations would be a great help. Thanks.
Re: Diamonds in California?
June 04, 2007 10:11AM
See this very site, and ask for diamond-california: you will get three recorded localities.
Re: Diamonds in California?
June 04, 2007 01:53PM
Hi Christopher

Yes, diamonds have been found in a couple of places in California. Unfortunately they are extremely rare to find (almost literaally "grains of sand on a beach") - you would have to sift through tons of sands to have a reasonable chance of finding anything.

You would do much better visiting "Crater of Diamonds State Park" in Arkansas. A lot more diamonds have been found there per-volume of dirt sifted. Much better chance of actually finding a stone.


avatar Re: Diamonds in California?
June 04, 2007 03:23PM
Pemberton (Minerals of California, 1983) gives an estimate of 500+ diamonds having been found in California. The vast majority are from the Sierra foothills counties and were recovered in the course of hydraulic placer mining for gold (a practice now illegal because of the environmental destruction it causes). A couple of the more "prolific" areas were placers at Jackass Gulch in Amador County and Cherokee Flat in Butte County. Almost all stones recovered have been less than 2 ct. A detailed list of reported finds can be found in Murdoch and Webb (1966). Given the enormous amount of ground moved over the past 150+ years searching for gold in these areas, a handfull of small diamonds truly is "a grain of sand on the beach". Your odds of getting a return on your time and money are likely much better with a lottery ticket.
Re: Diamonds in California?
June 04, 2007 03:59PM
Exactly, Jesse

I like the "grains of sand on a beach" analogy because it just seems to fit the California state of mind: Barbie at Malibu and all! :~}

avatar Re: Diamonds in California?
June 04, 2007 08:14PM
Watching the Barbies on the beach can be fun (though I would prefer the Barbettes on the Med). Unfortunately, places like Jackass Gulch and Chreokee Flat are a long way from Malibu, both geographically and culturally.
Casey Lenard
Re: Diamonds in California?
June 04, 2007 10:43PM
Thats new!
I thought you could only find good diamonds in Arkansas.
How big on average are they?
Re: Diamonds in California?
June 09, 2007 02:48AM
Most of the diamonds that have been found in California were found in gravels that were deposited before the sierras were uplifted.
Re: Diamonds in California?
June 09, 2007 06:24PM
In the late seventies there was an article in one the magazines,"Gems and Minerals" or "Rocks and Gems". Sorry I can't be more specific. There were pictures and references, so I guess there was something to it. It's possible the article was in the "California Mining Journal", but I don't think so.
avatar Re: Diamonds in California?
June 09, 2007 07:06PM
See "Minerals of California", California Division of Mines and Geology Bulletin 189 by Murdoch and Webb (1966) for a fairly complete list of finds. The largest was 7.25, found at French Corral in Nevada County sometime before 1867.
Re: Diamonds in California?
July 27, 2007 09:14AM
I live in Butte county and have been mining gold in the surround area for ten years. There has been diamonds found at Cherokee in the past. The story I've put together is that the silica mine in the Morris ravine has produced some 230 diamonds one as big as 6 carrots. The original owners started finding diamonds and let debeers come in and do tests on them. Debeers told them that they were only comerical grade which arn't very good but then proceeded to buy them all out and then shut the mine down. My guess is that they were of good quality but Debeers makes more profet buy importing diamonds from other countries and then selling them. I mine gold about 5 miles away and all of it is 97% pure which is extremly pure for placer gold, and I think the diamonds are of high quality too. These days the mine can be seen from the road but is behind a gate that is sometimes open. They have some modern equipment there but I have never seen it in use. I have always wanted to go there and scout for diamonds but it is all private property. An old timer told me that after it rains and you can see them shining on the ground.
Re: Diamonds in California?
July 29, 2007 01:37AM
Bruce..... Debeers In The United states not likely. Debeers under the US anti monopoly laws in the United States is forbidden to do any work or business here in the United States. This does not mean that Debeers Diamonds arnt sold here they are but as a company Debeers is not allowed to exist here. But your tail of them buying up diamonds and closing down mines is true. Debeers has a long history of doing this exact thing. Diamonds are not as scarce or rare as their very imaginative marketing makes them out to be. Now on to you idea of diamonds being found in Silica wrong on that count. Diamonds are found in Kimberlites, and or lamporlites, NOT in silica. Gold can and normally is found in silica(quartz). If Diamonds have been found in California there is a Kimberlite or lamporlite pipe in the area. Mind you the area could be as much as 1000 miles away, time has the amazing ability to move things around. As far as diamonds shining on the gound after it rains that true. But your statement and i Quote "An old timer told me that after it rains and you can see them shining on the ground" makes it seam like diamonds are found a dime for a dozen. They are not rare but they also are not picked up my the normal person with and regularity.

Re: Diamonds in California?
August 04, 2007 10:34PM
Yeah, my knolage of diamonds is slim just about all of what I wrote is hear say but I did see an artical that was published in the gold fever magizne that said they found the 230 diamonds there in cherokee. Do you think that debeers could own the property but not use it for work or business. I was under the impression debeers purchased the property along time ago maby before the anti monopoly law went into effect. Do you think they would be able to own the property that way? Bruce
Re: Diamonds in California?
August 05, 2007 01:41AM
I doubt that Debeers owns anything at all here. The laws would not allow them to, even if they owned it before the laws went into effect. I seriously doubt any diamond mining company would mess with the trivial amount of diamonds they would find in a California unless there was a kimberlite or lampolite pipe there. The money they would expend to recover would not make up for the loss of money put out to recover the diamonds. That does not mean that panners of the old days would just toss the diamond over their shoulder and not think about it.

Re: Diamonds in California?
November 14, 2013 12:12AM
Dear Bruce, I live in Butte county also. The stories of diamond finds are so numerous that the likelihood of finding diamonds in Cherokee is rather high. I saw an assay of the mine in Cherokee, and the value of the diamonds was listed to be about 1 billion dollars! I read a story about a guy who decided to look for diamonds in a small creek in Cherokee. It took him less than a half hour to find a blue diamond.
DeBeers no longer owns the mine, but the new owners ran into environmental regulations, mainly over water quality issues, and the mine has not been re-opened as they promised. If you go up highway 70, just across the bridge, you will see the black periditite rock which as a continuous vein, runs all the way to just east of Bangor. (about 30 miles.) The diamonds either come out of that or from the numerous blue clay pipes which are often associated with gold veins. As you noted, all the land around Cherokee is in private hands, and is difficult to get onto. Cherokee is also known for its numerous good quality quartz crystals, which can indeed be found in some locations just scattered around on top the soil. I doubt that the diamonds are that common, but some of them will glow under a portable uv light, and can be found at night by shining a uv light on them. By the way, I read that more gold has come out of Butte county than all the rest of the counties of California combined!
Re: Diamonds in California?
November 14, 2013 02:44AM
Don't forget about the kimberlite pipes on the Colorado/Wyoming state line northwest of Fort Collins, Co. They were recently mined.
Cedar Oaks
Re: Diamonds in California?
January 17, 2014 08:35PM
I know this is in response to older posts, from years back. But, in the event anyone like me, wants to research the subject today....Here's some more pertinent info.

About 37 years ago, as a child, I lived in Northern California. In and around Clearlake County, Calif. I was told that the lake there, called Clearlake, was an old water filled volcano.. Some places in lake, the bottom has never been found. Anyways, in researching diamonds and where they're found, it's said they're found around volcanic areas.

Well, I lived in mountains there and I and my mother would go looking for gold and diamonds. Didn't find gold. But, did find diamonds! So, my mother did some research and told me that they are diamonds. But, they're not quite as hard as preferred jewelry diamonds. It is true that best time to find them is after heavy rains. I rode my horse a lot in the woods and along fire roads and would find them all over a certain area, off Hwy 175. The larger ones I would pick up and take home. Over the years, we moved a lot and those diamonds were misplaced somewhere and lost, I thought!

My mother was a pack rat and had kept numerous filing cabinets over the years. She recently passed away and I have undertaken the task of going through them, one piece of paper at a time. I've ran across an envelope, with diamonds written on it. Inside is 13 of these diamonds. Since as a kid, I didn't pay much attention to how exactly she was informed that they were softer diamonds, etc. I thought I'd have them checked out. But, in researching where to take them, etc., I've read that it's illegal to possess raw uncut diamonds, without a certification. Due to the diamond wars and atrocities being committed on people over them, in Africa.

So, now I am leary to take them to a jeweler and have them checked out. Will I be reported and arrested? Should I just throw them away, or turn them over to authorities? Haven't decided yet!

But, I do know that there are diamonds in California. As to what grade, etc...Not sure! If I had the resources and money, I'd consider taking a trip back there and try finding some more. Have them tested and certified as to their origin and maybe there's a market for such? Buy up the properties, in that area and maybe it could be a lucrative investment!

But, there are diamonds in Northern California mountains!
Re: Diamonds in California?
January 17, 2014 09:42PM
What you found are probably what is known as "clearlake diamonds" = - which aren't really diamonds at all, but rather Quartz, albeit quite pretty things.

And, even if they were diamonds, it is not correct that "'s illegal to possess raw uncut diamonds, without a certification. Due to the diamond wars and atrocities being committed on people over them, in Africa." It is only illegal to transport them internationally without going through the bureaucratic procedures of the "Kimberly process". If you were to find one in California and sell it inside the USA, you would have broken no laws. And "Clearlake diamonds", being really quartz, can of course be transported and sold over international boundaries without any special restrictions, other than the need to fill out a customs declaration for the receiving country.

Post some pix!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/17/2014 09:46PM by Alfredo Petrov.
Mark Davis
Re: Diamonds in California?
April 08, 2014 09:25PM
I have found a California diamond and it is currently on display at Sierra College Rocklin California.
they are rare, it took me 12 years to find it.
it was located in Placer County on a private placergold claim
avatar Re: Diamonds in California?
April 09, 2014 02:16AM
Congrats Mark! How many carats was your find? Can you post a picture and give any more details about its discovery?


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