Only found in California, Benitoite holds the prestige of California's State Gem and a secret unveiling in 1907. The gem, first discovered near the headwaters of the San Benito River, gained notoriety through UC Berkeley's Dr. George D. Louderback's clear description.

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About Benitoite:
System: Hexagonal
Appearance: Stubby, prismatic, dipyramidal crystals, various shades of blue, often zoned
Physical Properties: Hard (6.2 - 6.5), heavy. Translucent to transparent with vitreous to subadamantine luster
Environment: Found in veins in the brecciated zone of blue schist body associated with serpentinite
Occurrence:To date crystals have only been found at Diablo Range in San Benito County, California
Uses: Sapphire-blue specimens cut as gemstones are popular
[From Simon & Schuster's Guide to Rocks and Minerals]

Last updated : December 13, 1995