Jul 4, 2013

50 States, 50 Stars, 50 Stones: Gemstones of the United States

 Independence Day! Fireworks, fun, apple pie, stars and stripes. 
50 stars, 50 states, 50 stones.

Each state of America has an official stone, gem, or mineral to represent their state. Thirty-five states have chosen a official state gemstone. Do you know your state stone? 

I was excited to learn that  Florida has a state gem and a state stone. The Sunshine State's official gemstone is moonstone. Florida designated moonstone as the official state gem in 1970 to memorialize the American astronauts spaceflight and moon landing in 1969 from the Kennedy Space Center. 

Moonstone, a form of the mineral feldspar, is not a gemstone found naturally in Florida. However our state stone, agatized coral, is found naturally in the state. 
Coral is the outside skeleton of tiny ocean animals which live in colonies attached to hard underwater surfaces. The tiny ocean animals, polyps, form a lime-stone like substance -- coral -- when their carbon dioxide combines with warm seawater. Agatized coral is 20-30 million years old. 

And while we are at it, Florida also has an  official tree: the beautiful Sabal palm, which grows everywhere in the state.The sabal palm tree has wonderful uses in landscaping, medicine, and food, and is the palm tree on our state seal. 

 We have some awesome state flowers, as well as butterflies and shells too. And Florida has some very cool state animals, including manatees, dolphins, and panthers!

Can you guess what the official drink of Florida is? Yes, orange juice of course!

To celebrate the 4th of July, I thought it would be fun to explore the 50 state's minerals, gems, and stones. Some states only have an official mineral, while other states have all: an official mineral, stone, and gemstone. The following state listings are from  Geology at About.com. Check the "List of Official Gemstones" for links to images of the state gems.

What's Your State Gemstone? 

Alabama: Star Blue Quartz (1990)
Alaska: Jade 
Arizona: turquoise
Arkansas: Diamond
California: Benitoite
Colorado: Aquamarine
Connecticut: Garnet
Delaware: Sillimanite
Florida: Moonstone
Georgia: Quartz
Hawaii: Black coral
Idaho: Star Garnet
Illinois: Fluorite
Indiana: Limestone
Iowa: Geode
Kansas: none
Kentucky: Freshwater pearl
Louisiana: Agate
Maine: Tourmaline
Maryland: River Stone
Massachusetts: Rhodonite
Michigan: Chlorastrolite
Minnosota: Lake Superior Agate
Mississsippi: Petrified Wood
Missouri: Montana Agate and Sapphire
Nebraska: Chalcedony blue agate
Nevada: Black Fire Opal, Turquoise, Sandstone
New Hampshire: Smoky Quartz and Beryl
New Jersey: none
New Mexico: Turquoise
New York: Garnet
North Carolina: Emerald
North Dakota: none
Ohio: Ohio form of quartz
Oklahoma: Rose Rock
Oregon: Sunstone
Pennslvania: none
Rhode Island: Bowenite
South Carolina: Amethyst
South Dakota: Rose Quartz, Black Hills Gold
Tennessee: Tennessee Pearl, Agate
Texas: Blue Topaz, silver
Utah: Topaz, copper
Vermont: Grossular garnet
Virginia: none
Washington: Petrified Wood
West Virginia: Chalcedony
Wisconsin: Red Granite
Wyoming: Jade

Have a Happy 4th of July! 
Have fun Celebrating Independence Day! 

Toltec Jewels is an author by day, jewelry maker by night. Her literary work is housed by the San Fransisco MOMA and is published internationally in popular magazines, literary quarterlies, and university publications. She has won a number of awards for literary and jewelry arts. She is happiest making handcrafted jewelry with her entire family, snuggling with her doggies and grandkids, sewing, singing, reading, and learning jewelry techniques. She is the host of Jewel School Friends, an online community of expert and emerging artisans taking inspiration from each other and Jewel School. Join her for indie artist networking, fundraising for Beads of Courage, blog hops, and of course, cool beads and jewelry!

1 comment:

  1. What an educational read- love this! It figures that the State that I have spent the majority of my life - Virginia - has no gemstone! :( Another reason I don't like living here - other than the extreme weather! :)


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