Group Discussion > Big Sur Jade!

Hi, my name is Kenny Comello and I've lived and mined Jade on the South Coast of Big Sur for 37 years. In 1971 we staked out the Black Fir Jade Mines consisting of three lode claims and three placer claims for nephrite jade.The mines have been shut down and the area is now a Wilderness Area.
I started diving the Jade Cove in 1975 and still dive today when conditions are calm.-----I've found much Vulcan Jade over the years and also have many tons of rough Botroyoidal Jade in my pile.
I began the Big Sur Jade Co. in 1979 in the small town of Gorda. I came out of the hills to take advantage of electricity to run my saws and tumblers and also to develop a market for the Jade on the coast.I no longer have a retail shop but have a web-site that someday I hope to be able to control myself.
I'm a new member of FOJ and would like to talk to other Jade nuts around the world, especially those of you from New Zealand. I believe our Big Sur country and Jade have many things in common with New Zealand's and I'm in love with the pictures I see of your beautiful South Island.
And anyone interested in our Big Sur Jade,----I'd be glad to share my knowledge with.----k.c.
January 24, 2007 | Registered CommenterKenny Comello
Welcome Kenny.

It is great to see you are interested in this group. We have meet, yet have not had the chance to get to know eachother. Most of the jade hunters think of you as the Mayor of South County. I do as well.

Everyone should know that Kenny Comello is the authority on Big Sur jade. Kenny helped fight for the exception to collect jade in the MBS.

Check out Kenny's website at

Clear Skies!

March 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJade Hunter
I first met Kenny back in 1976. I bought some fine pieces from him that are still some of my favorites. One December back in '79 I payed him a visit up in the canyon just as a huge storm was closing in on the coast. I knew that day my life would be caught up in the jade world. Today I sell Guatemalan Jadeite and have become a servant of the "Jade Mother" My yard has boulders of jadeite from Guatemala and the tumblers are constantly growling in the garage. I have had the distinct pleasure and honor of contributing fine jade to artisans on both sides of the international date line. To think it all began with my crawling through the poison oak on willow creek and and the infectious enthusiasm generated by Kenny, For the last six years I have sold jadeite at the one and only Big Sur Jade Fest. Thanks Kenny

Pete Lee
November 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Lee
I am a new arrival to the magic of willow creek and I had to laugh because reading this reminded me the stuff Ive been scratching all night absent mindedly must be poisen oak of course. On my third trip I believe I was given the blessing and warning of the spirits that be when I was almost taken by a rogue wave.Since then, I make the journey all the way from the central valley to make my homage to this new found love.But I do seem have a knack for finding it in fact at times it calls to me. I would really like to try and sell some of my finds but I am completly flabergasted at how to price it everywhere I have searched the pricing seems all over the chart. Can you give me any hints? Also any pointers on what is the most valuable kinds so I know what to ask for when I am picking in complete nirvana?
June 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwendy
I need know if someone know who is in charge the next festival out 2009.
please send a mail with the inf.
June 28, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpalaka
Hey Kenny,
You gotta see the wild looking Vulcan fire rock I found today, or it found me. I have now reached the third degree of severe Jade Fever, which ids on the order of my case of Idaho Trout Fever!
-Captain Lingcod
April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Allan
Have known Kenny a couple of years now and see him from time to time on the highway "checkin it out". Always has time to stop, talk "Jade", and I think he kind of watches out for the diver's cars as well. Great guy and a staple at the Big Sur Jade Festival. Rumor has it there is a new Jade Exhibit being conceived to take place in Santa Barbara, CA in April of 2011 that is going to be big. Bet we see Kenny there too.
May 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDrew "iambluesman"
I, like many, caught the Big Sur Jade bug a few years back after a friend took me on a jade hunting trip. The Pacific Valley and Jade Cove is so beautiful and rugged; how can someone not love the place! Now, we are cabbing, carving, and shaping some great Jade these days; using our own tools and design. Check out to see our progress. Hope to chat with you all at the coves or online:) Peace.
May 10, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Burke
Hi Kenny...and Lisa, I'm still alive. Still lots of problems with my heart, and legs. The E-bay jade project didn't do well due to the market decline. That might change at some time I hope; but the economy still is sick. Since the spring of 2009 and the beginning of my heart flutter, and subsequent heart ablation on Nov. 4, 09; has left me weak. My attitude is still good. I will get out to Willow Creek this year or bust! Peace on the trail! Robin
June 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobin King
hello kenny, my buddy and i usually talk to you at jadefest.just wanted to know what you think about some people telling on their sites exactly where to go, i mean secret veteran jade hunter spots.hope unsuspecting family or some kids don't get hurt,(deadly rough wave)that wouldn't be good for our hunts,not in this state.thanks for everything you have done for real jade hunters,the ones who respect it.thanks.
November 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentereagleye
Hi all,

I'm a bit new to the jade scene and the internet...just a rockhound and house wife...not sure which first ;-)

I for one don't think it is up to anyone to decide what areas are safe for me to collect on. I would have been lost without the help veterens have offered online, and it is my decision whether a "secret veteran" spot is safe for me and my family (yes I bring my spawn with me :-) I also don't think there is ever really such a rarity of rock at a site that it should be kept secret unless you are the original discoverer and wish to claim it. Though if there are dangers at a collecting site (beyond the obvious) they should be noted. I have been collecting rocks and minerals for 15 my experience sites get shut down due to abuse by greedy locals and veterarans who feel it is thiers to take, not beginers and newbies and plain ol' rockhounds...though there are exceptions...some sites get mobbed by large clubs. I think it's better to share and monitor sites than keep them secret and hope for the best. Every time I see sites fought over to keep them secret the sites usually get shut down because people are trying to profit off them....not because the sites were shared with rockhounds online,....those that wish to keep it for themselves inevitably ruin it all for everyone. Of course if an area is truely secret...yeah...maybe keep it to yourself...those who are meant to find them will. But "secret" spots that aren't really secret...what's the point? Any "veteran" site isn't truely secret...sacred maybe, but not secret.

Pax Rox,

November 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmlia Gotrek
To Eagle eye,
Who's naming the secret veteran jade areas? Its funny that you posted a comment on ridiculing us for the information we put forth when I know and you know, there are criminals of the coves. Why not address illiegal jade extraction? There are regulations for a reason. Google big sur jade or jade cove and you will see several sites with more detailed information about the locations and trails than jadehunt provides. Also, anyone can go jade hunting at jade cove. Its a public place for all to experience. Why do you target when we are role model jade hunters.
February 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Butke
I'm not sure what you are referring to Ryan. Yes Jade Cove is open to the public and we all must obey the simple rules that are posted. We are all on our own as far as using common sense to be safe and sane in our collecting of Jade.I am sorry if I somehow offended you.----k.c.
February 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkenny comello
I personally have received some unwelcome comments both on the website and around the area. So, I am trying to address these comments. I don't want veteran jade hunters to think the coves will be shut down because someone dies or gets hurt; exploring the coves because my or another website includes Jade Cove information. ....I brought up "cove criminals" to show the community and eagleye, there are worse "sins" than providing jade cove information on a website. Kenny, you have not offended me. I don't believe we have met, but it will happen eventually, the love of big sur jade will grant it:)
February 12, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterryan
I'm on my way home from the Tucson show and feeling inspired by all the great people I have met that share our love of Jade. Our community is growing stronger and I'm proud to be a small part of it. Thanks everyone! k.c.
February 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkenny comello
Does anyone know if Jadeite has ever been found along the Big Sur coast? I seem to remember someone claiming that years ago.k.c.
February 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkenny comello
I brought some stuff into Monterey Gem and was told by the mother figure there that what I had was an example of Jadeite or even possible a mixture. It was some of the whiteish bubbly stuff from the Willow area...I thought of it as Nephrite but she seems to have some knowledge of rocks , so I dont know for sure.
April 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGerms
That someone I mentioned earlier was Gary Gowdy who then owned the House Of Jade in San Simeon. If I remember right he had a piece checked out from the Willow Creek area and it was part Jadite. ----But from your description, your piece sounds like what we call sperm Jade from south Willow and that is Nephrite, at least according to me. I'd have to see it to be sure of course.
April 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkenny comello
I'm planning a trip up the coast and remembered one that I'd taken. perhaps twenty or more years ago, when I stumbled on Gorda.It must have been Kenny from whom I purchased a small piece of jadeite that I'd enjoyed all these many years, along with the memory of a pleasant visit with him.
June 11, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarjorie
hello jade hunters. I recently discovered big sur and jade fever. Although I have yet to find a piece and feast my eyes upon it's beauty I feel drawn to the exploration. And like any thing I involve myself in I must completely immerse myself in the wealth of knowledge that is jade hunting. And where better to get your information, from the vets of course. I'm looking for a jade hunter that maybe would like company along a jade hunt to listen and apprentice. I'm extremely athletic and would not slow you down. I exercise intelligence and common sense when it counts. I like to be safe out there and I believe a vet could not only share his jade knowledge but also hunter safety is just as important to me. Maybe you'd like to pass on your valuable vet skills or just want conversation while hunting. Whatever it be I'm your guy.. Also anything I find while being taught by you of course I would give in appreciation to you. Only times after with your knowledge would I keep this jade for myself. So are two eyes better then one? Let me know
August 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie