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 (284 votes)



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


Hi Cameron,

Thanks for asking this question!

Check out the brief explanation at the beginning of this article -- and you may also want to visit the additional resources included at the bottom of the entry.  You may also find this NCpedia article on Mining and, in particular, precious gems in North Carolina --

Mining has been important to the state's history and a greater variety of precious stones have reportedly been found in North Carolina than in any other state.  North Carolina also lays claim to reportedly the largest specimen found in the U.S. of the emerald.

I hope this helps!

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library


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