Pink Halite, from Searles Lake in Southern California, is a cubic, hopper shaped salt crystal that has become quite popular in recent years. The Pink Halite that Scott’s Rock & Gem provides is self-collected from the lake bed, during the fabulous, and long awaited field trip which happens once a year only, on the second Sunday in October. The color of halite ranges from pure white to a dark red (think merlot). The crystals become colored by a microscopic fauna that thrives in the highly saline environment of the lake. Don’t worry if you are out there collecting, and you accidently swallow a mouthful of lake water. You won’t become inhabited by these microscopic organisms, because your environment (body) is far too dilute for their survival.
For collectors, the optimal collecting time comes in the fall, as the lake has evaporated down during the hot summer months and the salt has begun to precipitate out of solution, rather like rock candy. The brine pools turn a deeper red color as the saline solutions concentrate. When the salt crystals begin to form, sometimes the pink pigment becomes trapped in the crystals, which is why some of the most sought after halite has a phenomenal pink to burgandy color.
Hats off to Jim and Bonnie Fairchild, the dynamic husband and wife duo of the Searles Valley Gem and Mineral Society, for providing rockhounds with so many years of this epic collecting opportunity. Scott’s Rock & Gem has been making the pilgrimmage to Trona to set up at the gem show, and to dig for pink halite for over 15 years. The show has been in existence for over 50 years. It’s the best opportunity we know of for rockhounds of all walks of life, all ages, and all abilities, to share in an experience that is challenging, fun, and productive. Are you feeling up for it? Give it a try! You’ll be glad you did.