A Tale of Two Cities – New Mineral Shops in Los Angeles and New York City

Two new mineral shops have opened up on both sides of the continent, in two of the most heavily occupied cities in America. Rock shops are great places to add new beautiful crystals to your collecting, but also to gain knowledge and information. It is certainly helpful to know what minerals look like when you are gearing up for a rock hunt!

In the Los Angeles area, we have a beautiful boutique of crystals in FasanaRock, located near the corner of Foothill Blvd and Myrtle Ave in the foothill city of Monrovia, just a few miles East of Pasadena. FasanaRock is the result of Christina and John Fasana, producing one of the most beautifully designed boutique rock shop! In FasanaRock you will find amazingly colorful and inexpensive tumbled stones from around the world, beautiful and colorful polished crystals, well selected and diverse crystallized minerals, raw crystals and all sorts of educational and decorative items of the natural sciences.

FasanaRock Shop in Monrovia

Sulphur Quartz, how Unique! Rub them together and smell ! FasanaRock on 114 South Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia California

FasanaRock crystal shop with unique display features

How great is this? Colorful furniture contain drawers full of raw crystal goodies! You can find all sorts of colorful additions to any collecting here!

Tumbled Stones in Los Angeles

The wooden trays are the perfect way to offer this beautiful selection of tumbled stones!

John Fasana has worked for Rock Currier and Jewel Tunnel Imports for decades, making his knowledge of stones known in the fine selection at the shop.

Mineral specimens for sale in Los Angeles

Great selections of mineral specimens at very fair prices!

Christina Fasana has outdone herself with the store decor, incorporating thoughtful and functional design elements into the presentation of the stones. Along with their family, the Fasana’s have put a lot of heart and soul into this new mineral shop and it is well worth your time to visit it if you are in the Los Angeles Area – Check them out online at their website http://fasanarock.com/ and on Facebook and Instagram

FasanaRock carries Gem Hunt, educational gemstone dig kit – a perfect gift item for christmas!

Rock Shop in Los Angeles, FasanaRock

A store that can provide beautiful minerals and stones at very fair prices, centrally located in the foothill community, FasanaRock is well worth a visit!

In New York City, an off-shoot of Astro Gallery of Gems, we have Astro West, a store with all the things you know and love about Astro Gallery, with cases of fine minerals, beautiful fossils, and a diverse section devoted to educational natural science kits and interactive crystal features like “crack your own geode” in a sleek looking geode cracking machine.

Astro West - A great place to visit in the Upper West Side New York City

Astro West – A great place to visit in the Upper West Side New York City

Beautiful Crystals line the cases, ready to be wrapped up and taken home!

Beautiful Crystals line the cases, ready to be wrapped up and taken home!

The Geode Cracker is fun for all ages and the educational kits are selected for everyone who loves rocks, fossils and natural science!

The Geode Cracker is fun for all ages and the educational kits are selected for everyone who loves rocks, fossils and natural science!

You can find Astro West online at AstroWest.com and also, find them on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Astroweststore

It is easy to see why AstroGallery is known for beautiful crystals, all over New York City, now you have two locations to visit!

It is easy to see why AstroGallery is known for beautiful crystals, all over New York City, now you have two locations to visit!

Check out the website FindARockShop.com for rock shops in your area and as always, thank you for visiting WhereToFindRocks.com!

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Cascade Canyon Ruby Crystals – A Los Angeles Hidden Gem

Ruby crystals found near los angeles glow bright red under long wave UV light.

Cascade Canyon, located exactly 1.7 miles southwest of Mt. Baldy, is the home to many interesting, if small, minerals and veins of interesting polishable minerals. Collecting around the top and bottom of the canyon, we have found various qualities and sizes of corundum var. ruby along with small veins of beautiful, if hard to come by, pieces of lapis. In addition, we have found minerals that the area is not well known for, including small dravite crystals, epidote, diopside and uv reactive calcite.

1.7 miles from Mt. Baldy, on the south side of cascade canyon, ruby crystals are found.

The lapis deposit is near the top of the mountain, with no access that would be considered even reasonably obtainable by anyone who is not well versed in mountain climbing. In addition, the area of the deposit was covered in an avalanche years ago. Anyone attempting to reach this deposit would be doing so at risk of life itself. In the upper streams of cascade canyon, before it turns into what would be impassible for most, bits and pieces of lapis can be found. Most people we have interviewed who have collected there in the past are happy with one visit to the location.

On Barrett-Stoddard Road, though closed to vehicle traffic, you can find interesting mineralization along the roadside, which is now a popular hiking/biking trail. Calcite veins with Diopside crystals have been located, however, the diopside is not crystallized well, with a melted appearance. The corundum locations along the roadside give the viewer a understanding that the deposit of “ruby” stretches along the entire mountainside.

Along the bottom of the canyon, on the south side of cascade canyon, along the area where the mountain follows the river on the lip of the eastern mountainside. While boulders of ruby bearing matrix can be found EVERYWHERE along the mountainside, the most popular collecting location is a small canyon that dumped out the contents of several rockslides into the valley below, creating a field rich with broken chunks of rocks with small ruby crystals inside.

Ruby crystals found near los angeles glow bright red under long wave UV light.

We were delighted to read Natalie Weisiger’s article about her trip to Cascade Canyon with the Gem and Mineral Council of the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. You can read about it, right here at http://omigems.com/blog/2013/07/california-corundum-from-the-ground-to-my-finger/ It is very interesting to read about the California ruby coming from the ground and into a piece of jewelry. You can certainly believe that is one unique piece of jewelry!


Natalie Weisiger in front of the landslide pile of ruby bearing rocks on the south side of Cascade Canyon

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Collecting Howlite an hour North of Los Angeles

Mineral Club collecting at Tick Canyon in 1957
VGMS collecting at Tick Canyon back in 1957
For decades rockhounds have collected tons of howlite from the dumps of Tick Canyon.

To this day, tons of howlite still overflow at the mine dumps, dormant for over 100 years.


View Tick Canyon Howlite Collecting in a larger map

This location, clearly seen on the map above, is amazingly easy to find, park, and collect. The borate mine in Tick Canyon is called the Stearling Borax mine, which had its own mini railroad, a “dinky” sized rail, hauling borates out of the canyon to the station in Lang. The by product of colemanite mining at this location was an odd soft white material, with thin black spiderweb like inclusions running throughout. This material, Howlite, has no economic worth, as it is not an ore of borax, it is found littering the mine dumps.

Brandy Zzyzx collecting Howlite in Tick Canyon
The old mining area is now fenced off with no trespassing signs. Years ago, this main area was a common field trip location for clubs from all over Southern California. Uncommon minerals like Priceite and Veatchite could be found on the dumps, along with softball sized cauliflower shaped howlite nodules. You would think that with the original mine dump off limits, collecting would be impossible.
Howlite cut in half
This howlite nodule was cut in half, then mounted in a block of plaster. Photo by MiddleEarthMinerals.com
Something wonderful for mineral collectors, a large amount of the dump was pushed to the other side of Davenport Road, into the canyon below. This huge dump pile is full of howlite, as we found out visiting this location on December 23rd, 2012.
Howlite found in the dump material of the Stearling Borax Mine
Chunks of white Howlite can be seen in the dark gray dump
Forty pounds of howlite was gathered in what seemed like no time, with no digging required. The howlite was everywhere, even down the wash dozens of feet from the main dump pile.

Howlite is soft enough to carve easily, yet hard enough to be a popular lapidary item for cabbing, tumbling, and polishing.
Howlite chunk in Concrete block
You can see that the material was so unwanted, they would use it as a filler rock in concrete.

This location is a perfect place for anyone, it is easy, interesting and filled with desirable minerals!
Article from The-Vug.com Fakes Issue about Howlite
The article above is an excerpt from The-Vug.com Quarterly Magazine Fakes Issue, which was reprinted in the compilation book, available for sale directly from the publisher!

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