by James Mallonee
Just north of Auburn is a location for black tourmaline crystals or schorl and pyrite pseudomorphs. It also is suppose to have magnatite, iron ore that a magnet can affect. The person I went with hadn't been there for 15-20 years, so ... we wandered up and down the roads for some time before narrowing the search down to one spot. By the time we reached the area, I was terribly thirsty and hot. However, I got out and did the obligatory search for stuff. We walked through a wooded area that had been recently replanted and I found two large "chunks" of black tourmaline and one a really nice pyrite pseudomorph (limonite after pyrite) and some nice smaller tourmaline crystals. I had earlier picked up a piece of "stuff" covered in dirt from beside a lake. The fellow I was with kept complaining about the lack of quality and size and told me "don't bother with that junk, there's better down the road". Ok. After that, we drove down the road looking for other recent plantings and found two more wooded areas with pseudomorphs and tourmaline. By that time, not only was I hot and thirsty, but I was also getting dehydrated.
The guy I was with wanted to wander through the woods some more, but ... gunning the car engine a couple time caused him to get the idea. After two large sodas at the gas station, I was feeling much better... It wasn't until 2 weeks later that I actually got around to cleaning some of the stuff I had found, when my "friend" looked at the cleaned goods his attitude made a 180 degree shift. "Wow, I've never seen anything with both tourmalines and pseudomorphs in it" and "those are some pretty nice pieces". So much for the "junk" from the lake. Oh, by the way... there wasn't anything better down the road.The two "chunks" of tourmaline are about 2" by 1 1/2" with thin tourmaline crystals intertwined. The individual pyrite pseudomorph is about 1/2" long by 1/8" wide and high--rectagular, not square. The mass of crystals and pseudomorphs has pencil sized 1/4" and 1/8" long pyrite pseudomorphs and long thin tourmalines, very well defined. Very nice piece and well worth picking up.
During a trip later in the year, we met with the owner of a piece of property near the center of the tourmaline location. He offered to let us look around his barn. One of his ancestors had build the barn on top of a tourmaline outcrop.
I found a large chunk of schist with hand sized sprays of tourmaline. Gorgeous piece covered with lichen
After man handling my chunk into the car, we drove over to talk with the owner of the property. He showed us the large piece pictured above. You can tell that it is a museum quality piece of white quartz with tourmaline.
The pyrite cubes look like 6 sided dice. Very interesting. Some are perfect and very tiny, some are larger and not quite as perfect. The largest I found is an imperfect crystal (only 2 sides perfect) that is almost 2 inches per side.
If you want to find your own, try along County Rd 22 at the intersection with State Route 147.