Precious Stone



The General Assembly of 1973 designated the emerald as the official State Precious Stone. (Session Laws, 1973, c. 136).

A greater variety of minerals, more than 300, have been found in North Carolina than in any other state.

These minerals include some of the most valuable and unique gems in the world. An emerald crystal weighing 1869 carats, thought to be the largest ever found in North America, was unearthed in late 2003 at a mine in Hiddenite, near Statesville. A 71-carat stone found on the same property yielded two finished stones--the 7.85 carat Carolina Prince that sold for $500,000, and the Carolina Queen (18.88 carats).

Session Laws, 1973, c. 136

H. B. 82                    CHAPTER 136


The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

Section 1.  Chapter 145 of the North Carolina General  Statutes is amended by adding the following section thereto:

"§ 145-8. The Emerald is hereby adopted as the official State precious stone of the State of North Carolina."

Sec. 2. This act shall become effective upon the opening of the National Gem Show in Charlotte June 28, 1973.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified, this the 5th day of April, 1973.

References and additional resources:

The Mineral Industry of North Carolina 2003 (from U.S. Geological Survey) -- mentions several emeralds from North Carolina

The Mineral Industry of North Carolina 2006 (from U.S. Geological Survey) -- latest available report

North Carolina Emeralds (commercial site)

Resources in Worldcat

Average: 4.1 (287 votes)



Why is the emerald so important to nc?


Hi Porter,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia and sharing your question.

North Carolina has a long history emerald mining beginning at least in the 1870s.  In 1969, the largest specimen discovered in North America was found in North Carolina.  You might be interested in this entry on precious gems in the state:

I hope this helps with your question.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library


how are emeralds mined?


Hi Jax,

That's a great question.  NCpedia doesn't have any technical information about emerald mining.  Emeralds are found all over the world and today the countries with the largest mining operations are Colombia and Zambia.  You may want to do some searching on the internet or ask you school librarian for help finding additional information.  Your public library might be able to help you as well.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library


When was the emerald adopted?



Thanks for asking this question!  If you look at the top of the article, it indicatest that the General Assembly adopted the Emerald in 1973.

I hope this helps answer your question!

Kelly Agan, Government & Heritage Library




what are carats and where are they used in of weight ??


Hi Charlotte, 

Another excellent question!

Carats are a unit of mass (sometimes referred to as weight) that are used to measure gems and precious stones. The carat was adopted as this official measurement unit in 1907 by the international General Conference on Weights and Measures.  The mass of one carat is 0.2 grams or 200 milligrams (very small). 

I hope this helps!

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


why is the emerald the state precious stone

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