I adore wearing gems, but not because they are mine. You can’t possess radiance, you can only admire it. -Elizabeth Taylor
Many people may not have the full appreciation for gems that rock hounds do, such as their composition and the ways they are formed over the years. But most can admit to at least admiring the beauty of gems. Another lesser known fact about gems is that within the U.S, most states have their own unique gems that are formed locally.
Understanding that that these treasures can be found so close to home may help increase interest in local gems and their use in the creation of jewelry. Local jewelry makers often have a difficult time because people want what is popular and common. Uniqueness is often overlooked and undervalued mainly because it is new or misunderstood.
To help demystify gemstones in general, and explain how even in your own backyard there can be hidden treasures, this series shows states within the U.S that have their own unique and beautiful gems. Knowing this, you may perhaps make your next jewelry purchase or creation out of some locally mined stones. The following are gems that can be found in the Southeast Region of the United States.
Throughout history, quartz has been used in making jewelry and hard stone carvings. It is very abundant and found in the Earth’s continental crust.
Moonstone derived its name from the Romans, who believed the stone was solidified moon rays. It can be numerous colors including blue, grey, white, pink, green and brown. It has a special visual effect which is caused by light diffraction which causes it to look cloudy and marbled inside.
Georgia has various types of quartz that can be found throughout the state. Different quartz have different colors and visual affects associated with them.
Emerald is another variety of the mineral Beryl, and is colored green due to the small amounts of chromium and vanadium found within. Emeralds are generally a soft stone, and found to be rather fragile.
Amethyst is a variety of quartz that is purple/violet in color, which is due to irradiation, iron impurities, and other elements that create an intricate lattice of crystals.
So the next time you're traveling through the Southeast, make sure you keep an eye out for jewelry using local gemstones. Or keep an eye out for them in uncut form and have a jewelry maker create a unique piece with it. If you've remembered to take along a good travel jewelry box, you know your jewelry finds will make it home safe.