The Lost Spinel Mine
A lost site in New Jersey once yielded the largest spinel crystals in the world. One crystal weighed almost 30 pounds, and there could be other fabulous crystals still there. As the demand for spinel increases, the lost mine becomes more and more valuable. Records show it was worked in the early 1800s, and was located about half a mile south of the old town of Amity in Orange County.
One clue to finding the spot is the fact that less valuable deposits of green, black and brown spinel crystals are found in a broad belt of Franklin Marble that stretches across both Orange and Sussex Counties. They crystals usually occur in raised hummocks of marble.
Spinel is a hard crystalline combination of magnesium oxide and aluminum. It can be almost any color, from clear to bright red or even black. It sometimes reaches gem quality and can be quite valuable.