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George A. Ashley

George Alfred Ashley was a California-born prospector and lapidary. His parents, Edward and Rose (Leavold), had immigrated from England in 1890, and settled in Anaheim, but moved to Ramona in San Diego County in 1915 to establish a turkey farm. When a fellow student brought to class a blue topaz crystal found in a nearby pegmatite, George was immediately hooked; he dropped out of school in the 9th grade and devoted his life to prospecting the local hills for pegmatite minerals and developing his skill as a lapidary. George sold his mother's ranch in Ramona following her death in 1936, and lived in Rancho Mirage for a few years while running a gem shop.

In 1947 George bought a 20-acre ranch from a pioneering Pala prospector named Fred Sickler. Included in the sale were nine mining claims on Hiriart Mountain near the isolated house at the foot of Mount Palomar. He sold three of the claims to Norm Dawson, then reopened the Katerina mine, where he found pockets of kunzite. His greatest discovery came in the 1950s when he collected 130 pounds of beautiful kunzite crystals from a single pocket. When he died at the age of 88, he was called by the local newspaper "the last of the old time miners who prospected the rugged hills of San Diego's back country in the 1920s and 30s."
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - George A. Ashley
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