Happy Camp Jade
A story by John Gaumer
Happy Camp Jade is found in Northern California, where Indian Creek flows into the Klamath River. It’s color is similar to Pulga Jade, but the Happy Camp Jade material is a darker spinach green. Upstream on Indian Creek, there’s another site where the material is translucent white. Happy Camp Jade is very prized, as you may only get a pound of high grade material from a hundred pounds of rough rock. Like Pulga Jade (Californite), it is actually Idocrase.
A man by the name of Kraft (a member of the Kraft cheese family) was instrumental in mining the first big deposit of Happy Camp Jade. He was a very religious man, and he had the first material from the mine cut and made into stained glass windows for his church.
My wife, Terry, and I went to the mine, which is located 50 to 60 feet up from Indian Creek in hopes of finding some good material. There was a huge boulder with seams of jade running through it. It was the size of an SUV. The material is so hard, I can remember Terry swinging a sledgehammer at it, and to her surprise it’d just bounce back!
On occasion, there are little flakes of native gold in the material. It is so pretty that every time I found a slice with gold in it, I sold it… Sadly, I don’t have any more with gold in it, but we continue to make beautiful, custom- made, Happy Camp jewelry pieces, which you can find in our store.