Californite: Identification, Uses, and Meaning

There are tons of gemstones and crystals around the world, and this time, we’re going to learn about Californite.

What is it? Where to find it? Is it valuable?

And we’ll answer every other question you might have about it. Let’s get to it!


Californite is a transparent, solid cryptocrystalline type of Vesuvianite that is usually found in green.

Furthermore, it is typically speckled and has been discovered in large quantities.

It’s also known as California Jade or American Jade.

But don’t get them confused with jade, because it’s completely different! We’ll explain why later on.

In Spanish, California jade is known as Californita. 

It’s categorized as a Sorosilicate, and its chemical formula looks like this: Ca10(Mg, Fe)2Al4(SiO4)5(Si2O7)2(OH, F)4 (which is Calcium Aluminum Iron Silicate). 

Its molecular weight is 1,422.09 gm, and its crystallography defines it as Tetragonal – Dipyramidal.

Of course, it’s not radioactive.


Californite’s color can vary to certain kinds of green. You might find it in Apple green, but it can also be darker. Additionally, the stone also includes green chromium additions that stand out against the green backdrop.


As you might have guessed, it’s called Californite because American mineralogist G.F. Kunz studied several samples discovered at Happy Camp, Siskiyou County in California, USA.

You can also find around riverbeds and extensions of older rock formations around the state. Sometimes, it can be found at specific California beaches.

Most vesuvianite rocks can be found in areas where there was a contact metamorphism event, which means that magma came into contact with the original stone in that area.

The increase in temperature and the presence of magma change the existing formation.


Californite is also known as jadeite, and it’s a rare material. It can often be confused with agate when there are tons of inclusions and rippling.

Furthermore, it can look like other stones, and you need further testing to prove that it’s actual California jade.

It can look like a random rock found in the river or something you picked up at the beach in its unpolished form.

Before discovering this jadeite, you would have to take a pocket knife and cut it into some stones. Luckily, the stone will break easily, and you don’t have to be careful because jadeite doesn’t scratch.

You need to watch for the bright green color of the crystal and its transparency.

The best way to tell if you have discovered California Jade is to look at it and test it out.

It’s a relatively firm stone, and it doesn’t scratch.

If you take a knife to the mineral and it leaves a scratch behind, it’s not jadeite or nephrite.

But unfortunately, you need further testing to prove that it’s California jade, and that can get pretty expensive quickly. Identifying it at home is never 100%.


As mentioned earlier, this kind of material is rare, and it would be hard to tell if you have the real mineral. But if you do, it could be worth some money.

Unfortunately, it’s graded just like a diamond.

There are tons of characteristics to look at before determining its value.

In general terms, it’s worth more money if it has a vibrant, deep color. But you have to keep in mind the clarity of the crystal too.

There are different levels of opaqueness, and Type 3, which features no inclusions, is the most valuable.

Luckily, the carat doesn’t matter for this kind of stone.


Californite or California jade can be confused with various materials, and as we’ve mentioned before, though its often called “American Jade,” it’s not real jade.

It’s vesuvianite.

Some people have confused it with agate because it’s found with striping in nature, which leads to confusion at first glance.

Additionally, it can be mistaken with serpentine, which is a much softer kind of jadeite.

But you have to take into account some of the tips we have already given you to see if it is Californite.

Remember, it’s a solid rock that can’t be scratched except by materials that are harder.

Many gemstones cut from Vesuvianite are often referred to as idocrase in books about gemology.

So you might find Californite being called that way too.


Naturally, Californite can be used to make jewelry, ornaments, decorations, and more.

But since it’s a rare material, you might not be able to find many items with the mineral.

But there are other uses, some of which come from ancient times.

Over the years, some cultures believed that Californite stones could heal several illnesses in humans.

Aside from its beautification uses, they believed that intense therapy could heal certain recurring sicknesses in some people.

You might have heard of crystal healing.

These people believe that a few crystals are related to the planets, and they channel their energies into the ill person’s body to heal them.

Of course, such practices have been mocked in modern times, but many people around the world still swear by them.

Another belief when it comes to Californite states that its main metaphysical characteristic is to enhance the best qualities of people’s personalities.

For example, if someone known for public speaking wears this gemstone, they will undoubtedly be even better that day.

Therefore, the gem has become popular among a few celebrities and athletes who wear it as a lucky charm.

Meanwhile, other gemstones are usually used to control stress levels, focus your thoughts, and calm some people.


If you have the material at home, be it an ornament or a piece of jewelry, you don’t have to do much as far as maintenance.

Californite is tough, and it won’t get damaged in the long run.

But if you want to clean it, it’s best to use lukewarm water and mild soap, like Dawn dish soap.

It’s best not to use a jewel cleaning solution at all because some of those chemicals could ruin your gemstone.

Now that you know everything about this material, you probably feel ready to start your rock-hounding adventure in California!

We’re sure you’ll find it, even if you can’t test it out.

California Rockhounding Resources

If you like to have a physical book in hand (like when there’s no cell service), here’s a few popular options:

Rockhounding California: A Guide To The State’s Best Rockhounding Sites

Gem Trails of Southern California

Gem Trails of Northern California

Smithsonian Rocks and Minerals Identification Guide

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