The Gem of Jenolan. An exquisite effect of tinted and crystal-like limestone at the Jenolan Caves, N.S.W., Australia
It would indeed be difficult to find a more beautiful natural formation than that revealed to us in the cave known as the Gem of Jenolan. It is reached by a passage from the Jubilee Cave, and has been divided by the architectural processes of the dissolved limestone into three compartments. The wall in the view is of pure white, but is covered with innumerable stalactites, some of which are exquisitely tinted, others are of snow-white. A peculiar coating, like hoar frost, increases the general beauty. The entire wall, from the floor to the dome-shaped roof, is thickly covered with this phenomenal growth. The dividing wall, between the lower chamber and the one above, consists of a steep incline, bordered by a glistening white fringe. Arrived there, one finds the wealth of natural beauty embodied in a forest of crystal stalactites. Over this compartment is the Victoria Bower, where we find a semi-transparent column, six feet high, around which are large amber or white crystal stalactites, relieved by smaller ones like coral. From its base, two feet in diameter, it tapers upwards by a succession of terraces to a narrower crown. Near is a smaller column, similarly formed, but embellished with eccentric sprays; and on the right is a translucent column, with a tint of pink. The crystalline effect of the formations in the Gem of Jenolan may be noticed in the stalactites and columns in the stereograph, which carries with it the realism of nature. The dark lips on the glistening pendants indicate the amber tint with which they are adorned, while the resemblance of the limestone to hoar frost is plainly noticeable. The Gem of Jenolan has been aptly named. Nothing else at the Caves can surpass it in beauty, and, indeed, it is claimed to be one of the finest examples of natural beauty in the known world.