Feb 7, 2011

You Know Your State's Capital, but What about the Official State Gemstone?

If you are one of those people who can name all 50 State capitals, you are good!  Gemstones are officially adopted as well, however, not many people memorize the State Rocks, other than maybe the State they grew up in and went to school.  Gemstones, minerals and rocks are so unique and beautiful and their properties and characteristics are fascinating.  So many factors such as environmental conditions, other chemicals present, etc. affect the formation and substance of stones providing us with a huge number of varieties of colors and structures to admire.

So, what are the State Rocks for the 50 States?  Surprisingly, not every US State has adopted an official gemstone, mineral or rock.  Some States have several, and Texas even has their own official cut for a gem, the Lone Star Cut:

Texas Offical Gem Cut - The Lone Star Cut

I grew up in Michigan and early in school we all had to memorize the State Symbols.  The State Stone for Michigan is the Petoskey Stone.  As kids, we use to find them near lakes.  Spotting them is not too difficult as they have round, spikey circle patterns due to the fossilized coral.  Kids like to find fossils and there is something special about holding a rock that is over 300 million years old!

Petoskey Stone
Another State Rock that's easy enough to remember is California's State Mineral, Gold!  The Golden State also had a State Stone - Serpentine.  This stone, also refered to by some as New Jade has green color and may range from yellower greens to bluer greens.  NOTE:  In 2010 scientists moved to have Serpentine removed as the State Stone due to the fact it is a source for Chrysotile, a form of Asbestos, which is a human carcinogen!  The actual gemstone Serpentine is not toxic, but it is a host for Chrysotile, which has been found formed within the stone.  Making jewelry from Serpentine is not going to pose a health risk, unless you are smashing it up, year after year, releasing what may be lurking inside! 

Serpentine Rough

California also has a State Gemstone - Benitoite.  I've never heard of this gem, so I did some research.  It is a rare, blue gem found almost exclusively in California.  It turns light neon blue under florescent light!  Here is a photo:

Faceted Benitoite gemstone jewelry is very beautiful!  I'll certainly add that one to my gemstone collection wish list!

Well, there are many more interesting State stones and for a complete list and to look up your favorites, visit this site for a nice, handy chart:

Comments?  I'd love to hear from you!

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