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Gemstone Production in North Carolina

In 2011, $23.5 billion worth of gemstones were imported to the United States, while only $11 million worth of gemstones were mined and sold within the United States, which means that the large majority of the country’s gemstones are brought in from mines around the world. While quite a few states have been successful in mining gemstones over the last 100 years or so, no state has had as much success mining precious gemstone as North Carolina, which frequently produces emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and more. North Carolina makes up a large portion of the gemstones mined in this country.

The first documented gold find in the United States was in Reed, North Carolina, though gemstones are much more prolific. Franklin, North Carolina is called the gem capitol of the world! In 1973, the General Assembly of North Carolina named the emerald as the state’s precious stone. This seemed an obvious choice, as the largest emerald ever found in North America, some 65 carats, was found in North Carolina by a rock hound.

There are three main counties in which gemstones are mined in North Carolina; Macon County for rubies, sapphires, and garnet; Mitchell County for emeralds and aquamarine; and Alexander County for hiddenite and emeralds. Hiddenite is a relatively new variety of spodumene, discovered for the first time around 1880 by William Hidden in Alexander County. These three counties still mine gemstones on a semi-regular basis and are open seasonally for tourists and rock hounds alike to try their luck at mining gemstones.

Mosteller American Gemstones sells gemstones mined specifically in North Carolina. If you are interested in cut or un-cut emeralds, rubies or sapphires, contact us by phone or email to place and order.