Thursday, February 2, 2017

North Carolina Emeralds

Emeralds are part of North Carolina's mineral claim to fame. While rubies and sapphires are found near Franklin, about 75 miles southwest of Asheville, different gems lure residents and visitors to Alexander County, about 30 miles northeast of Hickory. The small town of Hiddenite is named for William Earl Hidden, who mined North America's first emerald and hiddenite on the Adams property in the 1880s.
Emeralds are produced where a superheated fluid carrying the element beryllium migrated through rocks that contain chromium.
In late 2010 it was reported that a 65-carat emerald was pulled from a pit near corn rows at a North Carolina farm.

Dubbed "the largest cut emerald ever to be found in North America", the discovery is a rarity for emeralds found in North America. The "Carolina Queen" is valued at $350,000-450,000.

The 18.88-carat, pear-shaped "Carolina Queen Emerald" and the 7.85-carat, cushion-shaped "Carolina Prince Emerald" were cut from the same rough.

North Carolina Emeralds in a matrix of black Biotite Mica, Feldspar, Quartz, and black schorl tourmaline.
Such a surprise is not new to it's finder. An 88-carat emerald was found in 1998. The rough gem was cut down into two polished gems of 18.8 carats and 7.8 carats. The smaller one, called "The Carolina Prince" was sold in 1999 to a private investor for $500,000.

Another Hiddenite emerald found in 1970 was sold for $200,000 after it was cut by Tiffany's.