Pala is small, mostly Native American community located in San Diego County, California near Fallbrook. It is east of Carlsbad in the San Diego-Carlsbad metro area. In the National Geographic Names Database it is officially cataloged as feature number 1661174. The community is in ZIP Code 92059, and inside area code 760.
The community name may be derived from the Native American Cupeño or Luiseo language group term "pal," meaning "water." Another possible origin of the name is the Spanish word "pala," which means "shovel."
The community is in the Pacific time zone. Pala is at an altitude of 404 feet, located at latitude(33.365N, longitude 117.075W).
Pala was known for its mineral resources, including gold and tourmaline. Numerous gem mines were established in 1890s, of which more than twenty are listed in the Mindat database. Gem mines in the Pala District still produce tourmaline, with the pink variety as the regional specialty.
China's Dowager Empress Cixi of Qing Dynasty highly prized the pink tourmaline mined in Pala. Under her influence, China's appetite for this gem created a boom in the California tourmaline industry after 1902, particularly at the Himalaya mine, ending in 1911, shortly after the Empress died in 1908.
Pala was the site where morganite beryl was first discovered. It was also discovered in 1902 as the first commercially significant deposit of kunzite, named after George F. Kunz, the godfather of gemology.