The Legend of the Lake County Diamond
This legend comes down to us through the ages, recited from generation to generation by the elders who would gather around the campfire in the evening and listen to the Ancient One tell of the "Moon Tears", which in recent years have been called "Lake County Diamonds. "
Long ago there were no stars in the sky; there was only the Moon and her brother, the Sun. The Moon gave the People light in the darkness and the Sun gave them light in the day. The Moon was gentle and kind, but the Sun was cruel and jealous of his beautiful sister.
In those days, there was a young Pomo Chieftain who fell in love with the Moon. Night after night he would stand and sing to her as she crossed the sky. In the day he slept and would not help his father fish, nor hunt, nor even mend the nets. His family was very concerned for what he was doing was not right and, also, the Sun might become angry and do something to harm all the People.
The Sun did become angry and sent Blue-Jay to lead the young man high into the mountains to where the Sun had a special place. It was a terrifying land. Great jets of steam came from the ground and the streams were so hot no fish could swim in them. When the young man reached the place of the Sun, he fell into a deep sleep and could move no more.
That night the Moon saw the young Chieftain sleeping and fell in love with him. She came and sang beside him and the words of her song filled the air with many tiny golden pieces of dust. The Sun, her brother, came and ordered her away, saying, "You are needed by the People. Go back into the sky." The Moon knew her brother was right, but she was very sad and wept bitterly and her tears caused the golden moondust to turn into bright pieces of clear crystal that fell to the ground. They became the Lake County "diamonds."
This made the Sun even angrier and he decided to kill the young man. When the Moon saw this, she seized up handfuls of the bright tears and hurled them at her brother. Many of them stuck in the sky and became the stars. Those that fell back to earth are the Lake County "diamonds", which have a blue or lavender tinge.
Then the Moon took the young Chieftain to live with her in the sky. On clear nights, when the moon is full, if you look closely, you can see his face.
Lake County "diamonds" were placed on burial mounds by some tribes to protect the spirits of the newly departed from evil spirits or demons, who love the darkness and, when they saw the "moon tears," would think the moon was shining and go away.
Lake County "diamonds" are also called "Moon Tears" because they are supposed to be the tears the Moon shed, when she fell in love with a young Pomo Chieftain and her brother the Sun made her go back into the sky.
Geologically speaking, Lake County "diamonds" are semi-precious stones of volcanic origin found nowhere else in the world. They have a rating of 7.5 - 8 on the Moh scale of hardness, compared to real diamonds rated at 10. Lake County "diamonds" have been used commercially and industrially and are capable of cutting glass. They are in great demand as semi-precious gems, and may be set uncut for a rough, natural look or cut and faceted to give them a fire which compares to the brilliance of real diamonds. Our stones are pieces of silica which are released from basalt deposits during rains.
Where to find them
-Bottle Rock Road, Kelseyville
-Old Hobergs Airport Area and Snows Lake
-Boggs Mountain State Demonstration Forest, Cobb Mountain
Avoid collecting in areas marked as protected and always get permission if an area is privately owned.
Additional rockhounding information can be found at www.lakecounty.com or by calling the Lake County Visitor Information Center, 6110 East Highway 20, Lucerne, CA 95458, (800) LAKESIDE or (707) 274-5652. Small packets of Lake County Diamonds are also available for purchase.