State your case

While researching a previous post, I discovered the existence of state gemstones, and I was delighted. Some American states, it turns out, started adopting state gemstones in the late 1960s, as a marketing tool to promote stones which were an important part of their economy. Although this is a rather less romantic origin story than I’d hoped for, I’ve still enjoyed finding out which stones fit where, so here goes…

  • Alabama – The Heart of Dixie chose its gemstone in 1990…and it shows. Have you ever seen a more 90s gem than this blue star quartz? They do redeem themselves by having our old pal haematite as their ‘state mineral’, though, so we can’t judge them too harshly!
Star Blue Quartz
Source: Wikipedia
hurihuri
Source: kouragallery.co.nz
  • Arizona: Turquoise – I would have thought this would be California’s vibe, but there we go…
DSCN2895
Available here
  • Arkansas: Nothing but the best for Arkansas, ‘the Wonder State’: their state stone is a diamond.
  • California: Unsurprisingly, the Golden State’s official mineral is, well, gold! The state gemstone is one I hadn’t heard of before: the obscure but pretty blue benitoite:
640px-Benitoite_HD
Source: Wikicommons
  • Colorado: Aquamarine
DSCN3053
Available here
  • Connecticut: Connecticut doesn’t technically have a state gemstone, but its state mineral is almandine garnet, which is a nice brown colour. Very popular with the Victorians, apparently.
330px-Almandinas.jpg
Source: Wikipedia
  • Florida: Despite being full of alligators and serial killers, Florida wins this list because it has my new favourite stone as its state gem: moonstone.
  • Georgia: I guess Georgia was too busy growing peaches to hone their gemstone selection too carefully, so they just have quartz. Just all kinds of quartz, apparently!
  • Hawaii: Black coral. It’s pretty, but I’ve never felt the same about coral since I watched Blue Planet and learnt they expand by puking themselves onto other corals and absorbing them.
307727_1351803713.jpg
Not pictured: copious amounts of vom… Image source: gemrockauctions.com
  • Idaho: The so-called Gem State is a bit disappointing with their choice of star garnet, which is basically just black garnet as far as I can tell. Shame!
  • Kentucky: Kentucky’s keeping it classy with freshwater pearls – can’t argue with that.
  • Louisiana: Finally, a hint of scandal! Louisiana’s state gemstone from 1976 to 2011 was Louisiana agate, but this was ditched in 2011 for Lapearlite, which is the shell of the Eastern Oyster. But why? Well, it seems it was an attempt to boost the fishing industry by publicising this new gemstone, and the Louisiana agate was installed as the state’s first-ever official mineral. They made this change by law – apparently they take their official gemstones serious!
e4ebca12-6c42-48d7-b98c-90b28fb4a117
Source: constantcontact.com
  • Maine: Maine’s keeping it varied with tourmaline, which comes in a whole host of lovely colours.
17900c2a034d3841916b0704973d1f4c.png
Ooooooooh, puuuuuuurdy. Image source: Pinterest.
  • Maryland: Patuxent River Stone Agate is only found in Maryland, and its red-orange colour echoes the Maryland flag – perfect! Excellent marketing there.
Agatetumbledriverstone.jpg
Source: Wikipedia
  • Massachusetts: Rhodonite – aka my wardrobe that awful year dressing like you were an extra in Grease was in (circa 2002).
download
Source: Pinterest
  • Michigan: Chlorastrolite, another form of the greenstone/nephrite jade we saw earlier.
  • Minnesota: Lake Superior agate, a local, iron-filled agate.
  • Montana: These magpies have not one but TWO state gems: the Montana sapphire and the Montana agate. Montana sapphires are only mined within the state, and have a pale, denim blue colour and exceptional clarity.
mtagates
Found around the Yellowstone River. Source: bernadine.com
  • Nebraska: Yet more agate, blue this time.
  • Nevada: Another magpie state: black fire opal and turquoise (no surprises there – states near the current (and behind the old!) Mexican border obviously mine a lot of the stuff). Black fire opal is quite full-on, though – I’d probably have just stuck with the turquoise…
efe25f39d61d2b5e9c93d35df0bfbcdb--black-fire-black-opal.jpg
Source: Pinterest
  • New Hampshire: Keeping it classy with a muted smoky quartz.
faceted-smoky-quartz.jpg
Source: geology.com
  • New Mexico: Turquoise – shocker!
  • New York: Garnet. Another one of my faves; they get points for this.
  • North Carolina: Sticking with the cardinal stones, North Carolina has beautiful green emerald as their state gemstone.
DSCN3174
Available here
  • Ohio: Ohio flint. I’d argue this isn’t a gemstone, but Wikipedia claims otherwise…
Flintohio
I mean, I guess I sort of see it…? Source: Wikipedia
  • Oregon: Oregon sunstone laboradite. I’m liking states naming their gems after themselves – nice and tidy.
81f70133c28ff3cfa4e2a3c59ad3f72b--oregon-healing-crystals.jpg
Source; Wikipedia
  • South Carolina: Amethyst – strong showing from the Carolinas!
  • South Dakota: Fairburn agate (reddish)
  • Tennessee: Tennessee river pearl – the deep south loves a classic pearl, it would seem…
  • Texas: Texas blue topaz. For bonus points, Texas also have their own stone cut: the Lone Star Cut. It’s big and over the top, so seems fitting! It looks like this:
  • Utah: More topaz – no colour, just general topaz.
  • Vermont: Grossular garnet. Not a grimmer version of garnet, just a type with a different structure!
  • Washington: Petrified wood. I mean, I get what they’re trying to do but c’mon, guys, it’s not a gemstone. Didn’t your namesake teach you not to lie?!
360px-Petrified_wood_closeup_2.jpg
I mean, right? It’s not even shiny! Source: Wikipedia
  • West VirginiaLithostrotionella fossil coral. Kind of gross, kind of pretty. What do you think?
Agatized_lithostrotionella_coral07.jpg
Source: Wikipedia
  • Wyoming: Wyoming’s rounding us off nicely – we’re back to nephrite jade.

WanDescriptiveCrossbill-max-1mb.gif

And there you have it! Not all states have stones (boo), but those who do tend to really go niche with their choices (not surprising if they’re limited to what they can grow in-state I suppose!) which made for some interesting research.

What would your state stone be if you had one? I’m torn between moonstone and haematite, although garnet is a close third…

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