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The Background on My Fourth Rock&Gem Article

It’s out! My article “The Meaning of Mariposite” has been published by Rock&Gem Magazine. Available soon at booksellers like Barnes&Noble or you can order it in hardcopy here. (external link). A digital download is also available.

In late November last year I went back to California to help with horse sitting duties at an Amador County ranch. I traveled through the southern and central Mother Lode to get there. Along the way I investigated outcroppings and stories of mariposite, a rock said to sometimes contain gold.

As a longtime prospector I was eager to learn more about it, a potential ore I had no experience with. My prospecting has been confined to the northern Mother Lode and mariposite does not figure greatly there.

I found that mariposite could be ore, but it was most often lacking in gold. Instead, the green laced rock is principally used for lapidary work and as an ornamental stone in building projects.

I took several photographs and I also collected the story of a geologist who argues the California gold rush started with mariposite. But to find out more you’ll have to read the article.

Here are some photos that didn’t make the article:


Mariposite outcropping near Coulterville, CA.


Pig fashioned from mariposite. (My collection)


Polished slab of mariposite rock. (My collection)


Dials Rock Shop. 4006 State Highway 140 Catheys Valley, California. Talk to Mike. He’s good peoples.


Ebay photo showing gold in mariposite.



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