California Jade, botryoidal jade, botryoidal

Botryoidal Jade- "The rarest of the rare jades"

Finding and transporting Botryoidal Jade in Northern California

Adventures in Jade Hunting


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Botryoidal Jade hunting is an adventure of a lifetime. We take a helicopter into the totally inaccessible mountains to bring out the finest and rarest of rare California jade. Harsh winters wash out the botryoidal nephrite or jade from the mountainside and expose it for us to find... 

copter coming down with jade

brining down jade

We begin our day of excitement on a remote ridge high in the Trinity Alps. The trucks can get no closer to the magical area we call “Jadeland”. We all eagerly await the distant rumble of the helicopter. As the sounds of the rotor get closer and closer everyone watches to get the first glimpse of the chopper. Within moments the body of the aircraft is silhouetted against the morning sky like a giant dragonfly. The noise is deafening as the gravity defying beast comes to rest just in front of us. I myself have never liked flying of any sort. Now in a twisted deal of fate I am part owner of a ranch that is accessible only by helicopter or a long and arduous hike, best described by those who have traversed this gauntlet, as “Killer”. “You may be able to get out of that gorge but you won't be carrying much jade by the time you reach any road” Laugh the local natives. We are very careful not to trespass on neighboring private lands including the nearby Native American land. Other than the annual erosion, the jade and the land have remained unchanged for thousands of years. It will remain the same after our departure as well. We will leave “Not a Trace”...

After the helicopter lands us in the gorge, our search begins. We look high and low for possible pieces to load into the nets. The massive erosion to the cliffs re-expose an annual supply of fresh stones for us to gather. We carefully examine all candidates for quality. It is very expensive to haul stones by helicopter so we are quite picky about what we haul out. After choosing which stones to remove they are carefully packed in protective material then loaded into the helicopter cargo nets for air-lifting to our awaiting truck beds. As the sun's rays begin to disappear behind the mountaintops the highly skilled helicopter pilot gently places our precious newfound treasure safely into place for transport. Via the winding mountain roads we travel the 5 hour drive to our headquarters. Here is where we will cut and sort the jades to begin the long process of transformation from rough stone to finished product.
-as told by Sam Gitchel