What's Your Official State Gemstone?

May 24, 2012

Almost every state here in the U.S. has a state flower, state bird, or some other symbol that represents the natural beauty found in that particular part of the country. Did you know that most states also have official, designated state gemstones? I did a little research and came up with five of my favorite gemstones that just happen to be the official gemstones of nearby states!



Almandine garnet gemstone beads from my adopted home state of New York.



Beautiful blue topaz, the state gem of Texas!

New York: Almandine garnet. Of course, I had to start with New York, my adopted home state where I've lived and worked for the last twelve years. (That, and my home state of New Jersey doesn't have any official gemstones or minerals! Boo!) New York state is actually home to the world's largest garnet mine, although the garnets mined there are used for industrial purposes. I remember when studying geology as an undergraduate, our professor took the class on a field trip up Interstate 87 towards the Canadian border where he showed us where to find rocks full of garnets! Garnets will always be one of my favorite gemstones for jewelry making, and I love mixing them with the bright, cheery yellow of citrine.

This stunning grossular garnet is the state gemstone of Vermont. Photo courtesy of John Dyer.
Vermont: Grossular garnet. Just across Lake Champlain from New York is the great state of Vermont! My Vermont friends tell me, "Vermont isn't just a state -- it's a state of mind." Of course, what other gemstone would fit with the Green Mountain state than the lovely greens of grossular garnet? Gem-quality grossular garnets can be found in some of the finest jewelry around. The finest grossular garnets come from Africa, so I can only think that the reason they were chosen to represent Vermont was because of their lovely green color!

Texas: Topaz. It's true, what they say: everything really is bigger in Texas, including the gemstones! Topaz is the state gemstone of Texas, where my sister and my father live, and it comes in so many beautiful variations that I can't pick just one favorite. Topaz beads are relatively hard to find, but topaz gemstones seem to be everywhere.

Turquoise, the state gemstone of Nevada, comes in a beautiful array of colors.
Nevada: Turquoise. I've got more family out in Nevada, where the state gemstone is turquoise. Turquoise is definitely a favorite gemstone of mine for jewelry-making, and I know I'm not alone. There's something about the rich, earthy blues and greens of genuine turquoise that inspire me to pair it with other materials like coral and sterling silver. My favorite piece of purchased jewelry? The turquoise and coral ring my husband bought for me on our first trip out to Las Vegas, Nevada back in 1995!

Aquamarine, in a delicate shade of blue, is the state gemstone of Colorado.
Colorado: Aquamarine. You didn't think I'd leave out the great state where Interweave's home office is located, did you? Colorado reminds me a lot of upstate New York, but with bigger mountains and more horses. I've noticed some beautiful aquamarine beads at the gem shows and bead shows lately, and there are a few good sources to find them online, too. The soft, milky blue of aquamarine gemstones works perfectly with your favorite gold beads and findings. Or try mixing it with fiery carnelian and sunstone beads for a dramatic contrast.

If you're looking to learn some new jewelry-making techniques and find new ways to use your favorite gemstones, check out Gemstone Settings: The Jewelry Maker's Guide to Styles and Techniques. You'll find page after page of expertly illustrated and photographed tutorials for creating outstanding jewelry using sterling silver, handmade settings, or pre-made gemstone settings. There's also a reference guide to popular gemstones, tools, and materials. Get your copy of Gemstone Settings: The Jewelry Maker's Guide to Styles and Techniques and wear your state gemstones with pride!

Not sure what your state gemstone is? Check out this handy list from About.com Geology and find it. Once you know your state gemstone, post it here as a comment. If your state doesn't have a gemstone listed, maybe it's time to contact the governor!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

Aisling2 wrote
on May 25, 2012 7:55 AM

Alabama: Blue Star Quartz

Ricki Ayer wrote
on May 25, 2012 7:57 AM

Well dang - I need to move!!  After reading your interesting article, I decided to check out Ohio where I have lived for most of my life.  Talk about disappointing - Ohio's mineral (sure not what I consider a gemstone) is...FLINT...how boring is that!!  Then I checked Illinois, where I was born and lived until I was 11 - not even listed.

I think I will adopt Arizona where my brother lives since turquoise is my absolute favorite gemstone and my birthstone.

Ricki

Choctawkeith wrote
on May 25, 2012 8:07 AM

Illinois would probably be coal.  I don't consider that a gemstone, but it fits with flint.

Choctawkeith wrote
on May 25, 2012 8:09 AM

I looked up Illinois and it states Fluorite is the state gemstone.  Who knew?

KWseattle wrote
on May 25, 2012 8:12 AM

You made me curious, so I just went and looked up the gemstone for my adopted state of Washington.  Turns out it's petrified wood.  Nice!  Makes me think of the old growth forests over on the Olympic Peninsula.  Though considering it's a rain forest, I doubt any of the wood over there has ever stuck around long enough to petrify.  A fun association, even still.  

I'll need to watch for petrified wood at the next show I attend.

on May 25, 2012 8:31 AM

The official gemstone of Connecticut is garnet as well.

JoniS@5 wrote
on May 25, 2012 8:35 AM

Nebraska....blue chalcedony (blue agate).  This is a far better and more inclusive link to information than the one you provided.

geology.about.com/.../stategemlist.htm

catlady@7 wrote
on May 25, 2012 8:59 AM

Flint is one of the most beautiful stones available.  It comes in so many different colors and patterns it makes agate look dull.  Flint is anything but boring.  

L_marie wrote
on May 25, 2012 9:07 AM

How fitting for Florida to have Moonstone as it's official gem...love it

Sophie24 wrote
on May 25, 2012 9:51 AM

Well, Iowa doesn't have a gemstone!  But Montana, where I was born, does:  sapphire and agate.

SHAIHA wrote
on May 25, 2012 10:03 AM

Mine is Petrified wood.  Hmmmm I have some gorgeous beads made of it.  I will have to put something together representing the state.

Lauraleeh wrote
on May 25, 2012 10:05 AM

North Carolina -- Emerald.  I haven't had a chance to go yet, but the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has just opened a great new wing.  They are advertising the emerald, but the hiddenite is fantastic as well.

Lauraleeh wrote
on May 25, 2012 10:05 AM

North Carolina -- Emerald.  I haven't had a chance to go yet, but the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has just opened a great new wing.  They are advertising the emerald, but the hiddenite is fantastic as well.

Honeylioness wrote
on May 25, 2012 10:40 AM

Massachusett's is Rhodonite (manganese spar). I actually didn't expect we would even have a state stone! But I like it - I have always liked the combination of pink and gray.

craftyqster wrote
on May 25, 2012 10:49 AM

Oregon: The Thunderegg

mizzfreckle wrote
on May 25, 2012 12:01 PM

Michigan - Petosky stone.

If you haven't heard of it, you are part of a very large group of non-Michiganders. It is a very lovely stone with fossilized cell divisions full of a variety of earth colors. There are only a couple beaches where these can be found - but you can with some patience. Everyone from Michigan would wear one with great pride.

indianelly wrote
on May 25, 2012 12:34 PM

Alaska - Jade

Alaska has large deposits of this gemstone, including an entire mountain of jade on the Seward Peninsula. Prior to English exploration in the late 1700's, native Eskimos traded jade (as well as copper, hides and furs).

The color of jade ranges from shades of green, to yellow, red, black, and white. Lavender jade is most rare and hence the most highly valued. The term jade is generic; it actually refers to three minerals - Jadeite, Nephrite, and Chloromenlanite.

State Symbols USA

www.statesymbolsusa.org/.../gemstone_jade.html

on May 25, 2012 12:45 PM

I'm in Greensboro, in central NC. I felt quite soured we'd have a stone, but I figured it would be dark, dull, and opaque, a not something most would get excited about. But, I thought, well, if there's a cool story behind it then, well...it be okay!

Turns out it's emerald! Ha! Who knew!?!?!?

Bugchaser wrote
on May 25, 2012 1:53 PM

In "Almost Heaven" it's chalcedony.  That's West Virginia to those of you who've never heard the song.

SusanM@259 wrote
on May 25, 2012 2:54 PM

Drag!  None for Pennsylvania.

oedalis wrote
on May 25, 2012 3:43 PM

In California it's Benitoite, which I'd never heard of at all, but looks like blue crystals trapped in a snowy mineral in it's raw form [www.benitoite.com/.../k20a.jpg] and looks like sapphire when expertly cut. According to this source it is a rare gemstone: thejewelerseye.blogspot.com/.../benitoite-fancy-trillium.html

holly132 wrote
on May 25, 2012 4:06 PM

Illinois has a mineral fluorite. No gemstone or rock.

Lorac625 wrote
on May 26, 2012 12:40 AM

Agreeing with a couple of other posts,yep,moonstone is great for FL.  A couple of the most exciting nights I ever spent were watching shuttle liftoffs.  Unbelievable.

ides03 wrote
on May 26, 2012 9:38 AM

New Jersey's state gemstone should be the Cape May Diamond!

sandymess wrote
on May 26, 2012 9:57 AM

Maine has the Tourmaline. It's beautiful and found in colors from black, and white, to red, pink, green, blue, or watermelon.

sandymess wrote
on May 26, 2012 9:59 AM

Maine has the Tourmaline. It's beautiful and found in colors from black,  white, red, pink, green, blue, to watermelon.

on May 26, 2012 7:27 PM

Oregon is Sunstone.  Love rock.

davi3124 wrote
on May 28, 2012 11:12 AM

TN state gemstone is Freshwater Pearl.  We even have a freshwater pearl museum

Ann T2 wrote
on May 28, 2012 7:04 PM

Michigan's *gemstone* is chlorastrolite, a form of pumpellyite. It's also sometimes referred to as greenstone or Isle Royal greenstone (since greenstone is a term used to refer to more than one mineral/gemstone). The Petoskey Stone, a lovely lacy-patterned but generally neutral-colored stone, is Michigan's state *stone*. It's actually the fossil of a coral, genus Hexagonaria, from the Devonian period. I have to admit, I prefer Petoskey Stone, but chlorastrolite is also very pretty.

But in my opinion, Michigan jewelry makers should check out Leland Slag, also known as Leland Blue. Leland Bluestone or Lelandite. It's not a natural stone or mineral, but a foundry glass (byproduct of iron smelting). I think the most beautiful examples are in varying shades of blue to blue-gray, sometimes with tan and brown: To me, they resemble a stormy sky over a rocky beach.

Evjen wrote
on May 29, 2012 5:05 PM

Well Topaz is for Utah. I had wished it was Garnet, however I saw one of you mention it . So, Topaz it is... Fun to find out...!

dilsgranny wrote
on May 30, 2012 10:33 AM

Montana: Sapphire and Agate...Sapphire is my birthstone too!!!

on Jun 6, 2012 3:45 PM

Actually Iowa does have a state gemstone.  It is the geode.

on Jun 6, 2012 3:45 PM

Actually Iowa does have a state gemstone.  It is the geode.

on Jun 6, 2012 3:46 PM

Iowa does have a state gemstone. It's the geode. Plain outside but full of possibilities inside.

on Jun 6, 2012 3:49 PM

Iowa has a state gemstone.  It's the geode, plain on the outside and full of possibilities inside.

Cthings wrote
on Jun 10, 2012 10:51 AM

Deb I don't know how true this is but Iowa this website stated its quartz.  Here is the website, but it also says unofficial under status. www.atoztheusa.com/states2.asp

Maybe we can name our own gemstone (he, he)