Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Look at what digging in North Carolina will get you...

If you have been in my general vicinity within the last week, there's a likely chance that not only I have read this article to you but also shown you pictures of this find several times. You're probably tired of hearing about it, but I'm not yet tired of talking about it. HAVE YOU SEEN THE EMERALD THEY FOUND IN NORTH CAROLINA LAST YEAR? Take a gander. These things don't happen everyday.
What a gem!

So a man found this 310 carat emerald in Hiddenite, North Carolina last year. Can we say "HOLY COW"? According to CBS news, the lucky digger found this motherload on the farm belonging to a 90 year old man named W. Renn Adams, a native from Alexander County. Mr. Adams allows visitors to dig in his dirt for the price of $3 a day. I'd say that Terry Ledford, the 53 year old visitor who found this chunk got more than his money's worth when he reached into the ground on a lucky day in 2009 and unearthed the biggest emerald ever to be found not only in North Carolina, but NORTH AMERICA as we know it.

Here's what CBS.com had to say about it:
While big, uncut crystals and even notable gem-quality emeralds have come from the community 50 miles northwest of Charlotte called Hiddenite, there has never been one so big it's worthy of an imperial treasury, Beesley said. 

"It is the largest cut emerald ever to be found in North America," Beesley said in a telephone interview from Myanmar, an Asian country rich in precious gems. 

The discovery is a rarity for emeralds found not in the rich veins of South America and Asia but in North America, said Robert Simon, owner of Windsor Jewelers in Winston-Salem. 

"Most of the stones that have come out have not been gem-quality that I would mount in jewelry," said Simon, who was part owner of a 7.85-carat, dime-sized emerald found in the same community in 1998 that has since been set in jewelry and sold to a private owner. 

Terry Ledford, 53, found the roughly 2-inch-square chunk rimmed with spots of iron a year ago on a 200-acre farm owned by business partner Renn Adams, 90, and his siblings. The rural community of Hiddenite is named for a paler stone that resembles emerald. 

"It was so dark in color that holding it up to the sun you couldn't even get the light to come through it," a quality that ensured an intense green hue once the stone was cut with facets that allowed light into the gem's core, Ledford said. 

The North Carolina stone was cut to imitate the royal emerald, Ledford said. A museum and some private collectors interested in buying the emerald have been in contact, Ledford said. 

Here's the actual article. You should read it to everyone you know.

More importantly.. can someone say road trip to Hiddenite? I think I might pitch that idea to the geology club and see if they're interested. While the chance of me digging up anything comparable to the "Carolina Emperor" is a rare chance at best, the mere proof that it's possible is enough for me to waste a few days digging. The only thing I was somewhat disappointed about was how they cut it. But then again, I am a geologist at heart - I would rather have a huge mangled chunk than a perfectly faceted gem. But I guess the princess cut gem is more market ready than what they originally found. Here's what it looked like when they were done...

Again, pretty to most. But seems like a waste of the other 245.17 carats to me. But what do I know? I'm just a mineral freak in general. 

Also, according to my dad, there was a small earthquake on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee last week. Look out for a blog on that later, after of course I've done some more research via the USGS website.

Until then, Happy Tuesday! And keep digging... You never know what you'll find.

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