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Found Jadeite in Arizona possibly?

Posted by TTomBabbitt  
TTomBabbitt June 16, 2017 09:51PM
So I'm looking for flour gold on the north slopes of the black hills facing the Verde Valley in Yavapai County Arizona. I crawl to the top of hill and dig a half bucket sample (I know tops of hill are not usual places to look for gold) big rocks and all. This was a red area of the granite mountains and the hole ended in decomposed rusty gniess. When I got the sample back to water I noticed things that peaked my interest. First every rock that was sitting on the gniess has some green showing. Secondly light green peaces were sinking way down in the rocks where light green pieces usually aren't plus they seemed to have a matrix of clear crystals in them. Upon inspection and cleaning of the larger rocks I found that some were brilliantly green and others that were more like olivine cream soup. I'm collecting green rocks for an art prodject and I was under the assumption that this was olivine. While cleaning I noticed that their was no bull quartz and that the brightest (one I thought was Priodot) ones were all in broken hamburger shapes of various sizes with top and bottom crusts. In one piece I found an olivine crust and an olivine intrusion and where the surface is broken the fractures in the stone are rough and the fractures in the olivine are concoidial plus they are slightly different olive colors. The search for a green stone to fit the bill has led me to Jadeite.

Dull on close inspection, adamantine in sunlight because of small crystal faces.

Scratches glass but will not scratch olivine sample. Olivine sample scratches mineral sample.




Brilliant green to olive green to light olive to light pink.

Here is an image of sample in question;

Here is the sample next to the olivine sample for comparison;

Another view;

Here is the stone with the inclusion mentioned above;

All the green rocks from the bucket;

Any info would be appreciated.

P.S. I fount tourmaline at this location for the first time in this bucket also;

and than on the way back to the car I found this garnet;
Rob Woodside June 16, 2017 10:18PM
Welcome to Mindat TTom and thank you for noting the physical properties.

The photo of your rock looks like it has been photo shopped with camoflage??? Jadeite or nephrite will have a weathered light coloured rind as does your candidate, but it doesn't look right for either. The lustre seems earthy. I suspect that most of your green rocks are epidote or chlorite bearing.
Owen Lewis June 16, 2017 10:48PM
Hi TT,

Looks more like you have some rocks there rather than jadeite . Can you determine accurately the SG of about three different samples? Other determining tests require special equipment and training in their use (optical spectroscope and a totally internally reflecting refractometer).

An outstanding feature of jade is its toughness (*not* hardness - it is not particularly hard). Because it is so tough, a sample of jadeite will not give you a streak when tested on an unglazed porcelain tile. You say that streak testing your stuff gives you a white powder (streak) so it should not be jadeite.

If all this gives you the impression that it is much easier to determine what something is definitely not, rather then what it is, you'd be right :-) A wrong result from a single type of critical ID test is sometimes enough to say definitely that a sample of stuff is not 'X'. Determining what 'X' is may need as as three or four good results from different types of test before one can be sure that 'X' is (say) jadeite and not anything else.
TTomBabbitt June 16, 2017 10:49PM
Here is a picture of smaller samples that are more weathered;

Epidote is a good candidate but when Inspected up close I see hexagonal crystals and not elongated prisms.
That's why it looks like glass beads in the photo.
TTomBabbitt June 16, 2017 10:51PM
I used 600 grit wet dry sand paper for the streak test.
Wayne Corwin June 16, 2017 11:03PM
It needs to be tested on an unglazed porcelain tile.
TTomBabbitt June 16, 2017 11:23PM
I don't have the means to accurately measure the SG of samples. Your comments are helpful because now i know that I need to know the SG. Maybe I can find someone local to test for me?
TTomBabbitt June 16, 2017 11:25PM
It just scratches unglazed porcelain tile and doesn't leave a streak at all!
TTomBabbitt June 17, 2017 12:04AM
Don't I know that identification is hard, some time I'll tell the tale of the 'Zuni Diamonds' (and where to find them.)
To me nothing is just a rock, they all can be made valuable.
If they are just good Epidote than I call them 'Arizona Emerald Epidote' and sell them at a higher price, which leads us back to the tale of the 'Zuni Diamonds'.
TTomBabbitt June 17, 2017 12:45AM
I looked at it with a polorised filter to test for Pleochroism and I did not notice any changes. Epidote displays strong pleochroism so if the sample were epidote one would expect some pleochroism.
Owen Lewis June 17, 2017 01:00AM
TT, if you want, smash up a chunk of what you have and send me five clean pieces (no weathered 'rind'' and of not more than a gram each piece. Down to 0.2 gram will be fine) and I'll do some testing and photography for you. PM me a real e-mail address and I'll send you my snail details. No charge - just the return postage if you want the bits back. Report and pics to you only, for you to publish here if you wish (as I am sure some others might like to see).
Steven Kuitems June 17, 2017 04:36AM
Rob is right it is most likely epidote
Ian Nicastro June 17, 2017 05:27AM
I'm like 99% sure this is massive Epidote, I've seen it in veins in several gold mining districts in southern California. Makes for a nice yard rock. I dont think the 'tourmaline' is tourmaline, but it's interesting nonetheless.
TTomBabbitt June 18, 2017 05:14PM
Here are some more examples of the mineral from the same spot;

I'm seeing a pattern, Hexagonal crystals with a dart in the center that kind of wear down to an earlobe with a big earring hole.

Now I'm tuned in, I'm looking for Hexagonal crystals with a dart in the center. I'm looking for a crust or the remnants of a crust.
The next set of pictures is from a completely different area, the eastern slopes of the Bradshaw mountains. Sparsely scattered among the many washes are rocks that have the same patterns.

To find these you must either posses supernatural prospecting skills or have the ability to spot bright green rocks that stand out like a sore thumb.

Looks like I got the Epidote fever!
TTomBabbitt June 19, 2017 03:55AM
I found an example of massive Epidote from the area that is attached to the material I think is Jadeite. In this example the Jadeite is the pink substrate that the Epidote is growing from.


the Jadeite appears like rows of hexagonal plates and the Epidote appears fibrous. Its fibrous appearance is most evident on the bottom where it is worn smooth.


Additionally Epidote has cavities in it whereas Jadeite does not.
Doug Daniels June 19, 2017 04:10AM
I could very well be wrong, but aren't epidote and jadeite exclusive - meaning not found with each other?
Thomas Lühr June 19, 2017 06:36AM
While reading TTom's post the same thought came to me from somewhwere in the depth of my mind. But i'm also not sure.
Paul Brandes June 19, 2017 12:54PM
One thing common to jadeite is that they form from subduction zone fluids in association with serpentinite. Thinking about Arizona's geologic past, subduction zone tectonics, and thus the correct conditions for the formation of jadeite, do not come to mind. Yes, there is subduction in the form of underplating to lift the Colorado Plateau, but this is the wrong condition to form a jadeite. Nephrite, another form of jade, is more widespread and can be found in various places in North America. Unfortunately, Arizona is not one of them.

Your samples remind me of common rocks that have been epidotised during low grade metamorphism and the resulting alteration product that you see today. While nothing special commercially, they do tell a story that scientists can read as to how that corner of the world formed.
TTomBabbitt June 19, 2017 01:09PM
Have any of you people actually seen the mineral Jadeite in person?
Alfredo Petrov June 19, 2017 02:51PM
Yes, Tom, I have seen jadeite and collected it many times. I've even published some short notes on how to identify it: https://www.mindat.org/article.php/883/Jade
And I completely agree with Paul that you have found epidote and no jadeite at all. You might try doing some lapidary work on your epidote - spheres, eggs, cabochons, etc.... Those epidotized rocks, if the color is nice and the material is compact enough, can sometimes have some value as lapidary rock, but jadeite it certainly isn't.
TTomBabbitt June 19, 2017 03:11PM
This is a mineral identification message board. Bob was helpful when he suggested epidote but 'chlorite bearing' is not a mineral. I'm personalty knowledgeable about the minerals in the area but do not know the nomenclature. When Owen tells me I have a box of rocks that at least makes me introspect the veracity of my query. pointing out my streak test flaw is helpful but if you have a redundant suggestion than I need a specific procedure that will help me determine the difference between jadeite and epiote. Paul, their are errant pieces if crust and anomalies all over the earth. You cannot use general geology to rule out the presence of a mineral only to indicate the possible presence of one. As for economic value, that is precisely the reason I need to identify this mineral but not for the reasons you might think. If I make a beautiful mosaic of a peacock on the wall outside a business using said green rocks. Later someone identifies them as jadeite and regardless of their actual worth, just the suggestion that they are a marketable mineral will have someone busting them off the wall. Because I have a vested interest in being correct I need an objective observation so Owen has the best suggestion.
John Christian June 19, 2017 04:35PM
Take your samples to a dealer experienced with working with jadeite to ID. Have a lapidarist experienced with jade and other materials, cut and polish the stone. They could probably ID based on how the rock cuts and polishes. I have heard that jadeite cuts and polishes differently that other stones because it is so "tough."
Donald B Peck June 19, 2017 04:37PM
Tom, I presume that you are located in Arizona. Why don't you take your rocks geology department at one of the university campuses of Arizona State or Univ. of Arizona. They are excellent and, having the specimens in hand, can answer your questions. We are attempting to do that from photos, which are pretty good, and your observation of physical properties. But having the specimen in hand beats this protocol almost every time.
Harold Moritz June 20, 2017 01:33PM
One thing to keep in mind is that jade is not always green, it can be many pastel colors, even white. I've seen such shades of it in Guatemala including lavender and pink. But green attracts our eye, hence the popularity of emerald, and there is a human bias toward using green jade, so that's what we expect it all to be. The geologic environment that produces jade is very restricted and their general locations are well known. That, coupled with the very widespread environments that produce epidote and chlorite minerals, make it far more likely they are the culprit and they would be my default identification until shown otherwise.
TTomBabbitt June 20, 2017 09:02PM
You would be surprised how difficult it is to tell anyone that you have found out of place gemstones or gold. You are often accused of lying in some manner so often to profit from your efforts you resort to lying . I bought this at a garage sale, I got this when I was at the place where these are found, etc. Then information is lost.
TTomBabbitt June 20, 2017 10:43PM
I did ask every rock and crystal shop around Sedona but none ever had any personal experience with jadeite. When I get to the Idea of a six plus hour drive in 110 F heat just to satisfy my curiosity I think, time to put them in the funky rock garden and forget about ID.
TTomBabbitt June 21, 2017 02:15AM
Here is the best response I have received. It is from the Sedona Crystal Vortex shop and it reads as follows.

Hello, the only jadeite I am familiar with is a tumbled kind we have here. Here is a picture. I know that stone can look very different depending on where it comes from. Hope that helps!

(I put the picture on imgr)
Owen Lewis June 21, 2017 02:23PM
Can't be sure just from that pic but looks faked (i.e. deliberately altered and not just some other species wrongly identified.
Alfredo Petrov June 21, 2017 02:42PM
I have to agree with Owen that that doesn't look like jadeite at all. But the folk looking to spend $4 to balance their hormones probably don't care. ;))
Gregg Little June 21, 2017 06:09PM
Having looked at a lot of granites in my time, including ornamental, architectural, building and facing stone as well as prospecting outcrops, here is my take on that metaphysical "jadeite". The light to medium grey grains are quartz, the white and minor orange grains are feldspars (plagioclase and orthoclase?, albitized feldspar?) and the green is a chloritic-altered mineral (mica?, species of feldspar?). Other observations; 1) the darker bits in the green might be unaltered or residual unaltered mica, and 2) the polished piece on the right middle has a larger light patch which might be quartz and sericite (mica) alteration of a larger feldspar crystal.

I doesn't appear to be altered by man but by nature and she does a much better job!. Once again I reiterate that ID from pictures alone has its pitfalls but if you want to send a sample to me I would be pleased to have the opportunity to take a "hands-on" look at it. Another attribute to support the altered granite conclusion is the granular appearance whereas jade/nephrite is fibrous in texture. This explanation might be more than needed but that goes to show rocks are endlessly interesting without the need for metaphysical attributes.
Owen Lewis June 21, 2017 07:33PM

The more thoughts the merrier!

Just two more thoughtlets from me. One of the great things about polishing transparent or even translucent crystals is that (especially with a microscope and other optical tools) one can get to see what is going on under the surface of the crystal.

1. Here are a few pics of polished jadeite published authoritatively that are an invitation of what to expect. https://www.gia.edu/jade-quality-factor Note that 'granitic' structure referred to is noticeably absent. Of course, as quality reduces so do many expectations until, with rocks, anything goes.

2. The last pics shown by TT have some resemblance to moss-in-snow jadeite. I base my concern regarding faking mainly on the one piece that appears to have been cracked open (itself a bad sign when looking for jade) It seems that the dark green (too dark) blotches on the rough tumbled surfaces are mainly skin-deep. There are some few internal blotches and these are not the dark green visible on the polished exterior.

But we all agree that, fun though it is to chat about, viewing a not-too-sharp-and-closeup pic needs to be backed by some hands-on testing (and experience) to be sure or anything..

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 06/22/2017 12:10PM by Owen Lewis.
Phil Richardson June 21, 2017 08:21PM

Why don't you just wait for cooler weather, and venture down to the Flagg Mineral Foundation annual tailgating show, January 5th through the 7th at Mesa Community College, Dobson Road off of US60. Drop by the Flagg Foundation RV headquarter and ask for any one of our knowledgeable members; Dr. Ray Grant, Les Presmyk, Dana Slaughter, and others. We would be happy to look at it for you, plus someone here might have collected in the area and be very familiar with the material. (We have a lot of lapidary arts dealers, such as Jimmy Vacek, who could also look at it.)

TTomBabbitt June 24, 2017 11:05PM
I went to 'Ramsey's Rocks and Minerals' in Sedona. The proprietor inspected the material and collaborated with my opinion that it is jadeite. She also said that jadeite in Arizona is known among other collectors.

When it rains it pours an my good fortune is also yours. Go off of 260 south along Cherry Road into the Black Hills. County jail is on the right , about a half mile in you cross a cattle guard and the paved road gives way to a well maintained dirt road. The road parelells a gully to your left. There are a number of camping roads to the left. Green stones are popping out of the slopes like lettuce.
at the bottom bigger stones can be found ,
As you get to the mountain switch to the gulch to the west because of a county gravel yard. Bigger stones of other colors can be found here. look for diamonds, 'sandwiches',and wedges.

Now way across the state along the edge of Concho creek around Hunt in Cochise County. I have found more 'sandwiches' that are near transparent. Colors range from gray to red, I even found a clear pink stone.
Ian Nicastro June 25, 2017 07:48AM
The material in photo 1 again looks 100% exactly like matrix I have found with veins of massive low quality epidote from gold mining districts around 29 palms and big bear in california that honestly has no monetary value as a specimen or even as lapidary material. The material you have pictured in photos 2 and 3 does not look at all like the material in photo 1. The material in photo 2 has some translucence... it is possible that may actually be jade but I have a very strong feeling that may also just be green chert (which has fooled me in the past as well... there is a lot of franciscan complex green chert along the northern california coast in the same areas jade is found). I think you should focus on collecting anything green with translucence, especially found in a wash. If you can find thick veins of massive white quartz near the epidote veins on the slopes, I would suggest digging into the quartz veins to look for quartz crystals or even gold. The green stone in 4 and 5 is more of low grade epidote. The rest of the photos show what is likely agate/chalcedony or chert/flint.
Ilkka Mikkola June 25, 2017 02:20PM
Hi Tom
If you think they are economically valuable, XRD is a simple, sure and cheap solution.

Doug Daniels June 26, 2017 12:57AM
According to the " Mineralogy of Arizona", there is one location for jadeite, in Apache County (specifically, Garnet Ridge, in the Monument Valley area). In that location, it apparently is associated with some kimberlite pipes. So, maybe you do have jadeite. I'd still have an expert check it out, and not some shop owner in Sedona.
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