Rocks, Minerals and Decorative Stones Used by the California Indians

By Chuck Kritzon © 2006





 Agate  Southern California  Arrow points
 Agatized wood (petrified wood)  San Diego and Imperial County  Arrow points
 Actinolite  San Francisco Bay region  Charm stones, ceremonial
 Alabaster  Central California  Charmstones
 Amethyst  Santa Barbara Channel region  Beads
 Amphibolite schist  Sacramento Valley region  Ceremonial plummets
 Asphaltum, Brea (tar)  Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Kern, Marin, Ventura, San Luis Obispo Counties, Channel Islands  Adhesive, sealant, medicine
 Basaltic rocks  State Wide  Metates and mortars, adzes, mauls
 Biotite  Sacramento Delta region  Ornaments
 Calcite  San Diego, Imperial County  Beads
 Chalk  Santa Barbara, Tuolumne, Inyo, Modoc Counties  Pigment, face paint
 Chalcedony  Southern California  Arrow points, scrapers
 Chert  State Wide  Arrow points, scrapers
 Cinnabar  San Jose, New Almaden mine, Death Valley  Paint pigment
 Chlorite schist  San Francisco Bay region  Charm stones 
 Chrysotile asbestos  Sacramento Valley region  Ceremonial
 Chrysoprase  Southern San Joaquin Valley  Unknown
 Clay  State Wide  Pottery, cooking stones, pigment, face paint, effigies
 Diatomaceous earth  North Eastern California  Pigment
 Dolomite  Central Valley, Imperial County  Mortars, charmstones
 Flint  Southern California  Arrow points, scrapers
 Galena  Santa Catalina Island and Owens Valley  Ceremonial Amulets, paint
 Gilsonite  Santa Barbara County  Ceremonial?
 Gypsum  Southern California  Ornaments
 Granite  State Wide  Mortars and pestles, charmstones
 Graphite  Southern California desert  Pigment, face paint
 Halite  State Wide  Seasoning
 Hematite (red ocher)  State Wide  Paint pigment, face paint, in clay as a food purifier
 Jasper  Southern and Central California  Arrow points, scrapers
 Kaolinite (see clay)  See clay  See clay
 Limonite (yellow ocher)  State Wide  Paint pigment
 Magnesian mica  Santa Barbara and Sacramento Valley region  Bowls and jars
 Magnasite  Pomo Tribe of Lake County  Beads for money and ornament
 Malachite  Sacramento Valley Region  Paint pigment
 Manganese  Imperial County, San Diego County and Mono Lake  Paint Pigment
 Muscovite (mica)  San Francisco and Drakes Bay areas  Arrow points, ornaments
 Obsidian  State Wide  Arrow points and chipped tools
 Opal  Southern California  Arrow points
 Porphyry  Southern California  Spear points
 Pumice  State Wide  Abrasive
 Quartz crystals  Central and Southern California  Ceremonial and Arrow points
 Quartz, rose  San Diego and Imperial County  Arrow points
 Salt  State Wide  Food additive, food preservative
 Sandstone  State Wide  Metates, mortars, abrasive
 Schist  Southern California  Arrow straighteners
 Silica (sand)  State Wide  Abrasive
 Slate  State Wide  Arrow points, effigies
 Steatite (soapstone)  State Wide  Vessels, pipes, ornaments, arrow straigheners, cooking stones, atlatl weights, medicinal, effigies
 Serpentine  San Francisco Bay region  Charm stones
 Tourmaline  Mesa Grande, San Diego County  Ornaments
 Turquoise  San Bernardino, Inyo Counties  Ornaments
 Zincblende (sphalerite)  Sacramento Valley region  Ceremonial



1. Mines and Quarries of the California Indians, Robert F. Heizer and Adan E. Treganza, 972 Ballena Press, Reprint, California State Division of Mines.

2. The Natural World of the California Indians, Robert F. Heizer and Albert B. Elasser, 1980, University of California Press.



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