Patriotic jewelry may have never been on your radar before. But perhaps you’re a proud resident of your state, and you want a fun, subtle symbol to reflect that. Or maybe you’re a curious collector, looking to start a new project? Consult our useful guide to learning more about your official state gemstone, mineral, and more!
The first part of the Patriotic Gemstone series covers Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, and Georgia state rocks, minerals, and gemstones.
Don’t see your state? Check out this page to read the rest of our Patriotic Gemstones series!
Alabama Gemstones and Minerals
Alabama, often known as “the Heart of Dixie,” provides several opportunities for anyone interested in representing their association with the state. Alabama can boast of an official state gemstone, mineral, and rock!
Alabama State Gemstone – Star Blue Quartz
Color: Cornflower blue
Where: Flint River in Madison County, Alabama
Sometimes, specimens will display amphibole mineral inclusions. These are minerals are often associated with feldspar. What’s fascinating is that they also work to produce an asterism effect in gemstones. This presents the cat’s eye and star seen in some gems such as moonstone, ruby, and sapphire.
Alabama State Mineral – Hematite
Color: Black, silver-gray, brown to reddish brown, red
Where: Central and Northeast Areas
Alongside deposits of coal and limestone, this enabled the city of Birmingham became a powerhouse industrial center. This lasted until 1975 when it became more cost-effective to import better quality ore from outside the state. A notable symbol of industry, the Roman god Vulcan was cast from hematite iron ore mined within the state. It stands at the top of Red Mountain outside the city of Birmingham.
Alabama State Rock – Sylacauga Marble
Color: Milky White
Where: Talladega County, Alabama
Alabama marble, originating from Talladega County, is known for its excellent texture and milky whiteness. Operations have been in place for nearly 200 years to quarry the material. It has been used in buildings and monuments throughout the state, but also the entire country!
Alaska Gemstones and Minerals
Alaska is known as “The Last Frontier.” And within this frontier state, a wealth of gems and minerals are found! The state of Alaska has a long tradition of contributing to the gem and mineral trade, with the gold rushes of the late 19th century being the most famous.
Alaska State Gemstone – Jade
Color: Green, black, red, white, lavender
Where: The Seward Penninsula/ Jade Mountain, Kobuk River, Dall River, Shungnak River
While already well-known for their important deposits of gold, you might be surprised to learn that this wilderness state possesses a healthy supply of jade. Now, jade is a generic term that can refer to several types of related materials. Alaska is specifically home to nephrite jade. Native indigenous people collected this stone before Western exploration. They traded it alongside other, more familiar materials such as furs and metals like copper. Jade became the official gemstone of Alaska in 1968.
Primarily, Alaskan jade can be discovered in river beds as smooth, rounded boulders, with a brown coating surrounding the colored stone. The coating is the result of weathering from being washed through the rivers of the state.
Alaska State Mineral – Gold
Color: Metallic yellow
Where: Brooks Range and the Beaufort Sea, Fairbanks, Juneau, Nome
The presence of gold is intertwined within the history of this great state and its ongoing identity. The name given to these periods of activity is known as gold rushes, with the majority being grouped together as the Klondike Gold Rush, during the last decade of the 19th century. Even today, the promise of gold draws many would-be prospectors and tourists to the state. Over 32 million ounces of gold have been mined within the state!
Alaska State Rock
An official rock for the state does not exist, and not every state in the union recognizes one. Besides the presence of jade and gold, copper has played an important role in the history of Alaska. Alaskan Natives, such as the Inuit, traded raw copper ore alongside other items such as fur and animal hide. During both World Wars, copper was mined to support the effort. A high-grade deposit near McCarthy was mined between 1900 – 1938.
Behind gold and copper, sand and gravel rank as the third most important non-energy commodity.
Arizona Gemstones and Minerals
Known as “the Copper State,” it should come as no surprise to learn about the role this metal has played in Arizona’s legacy.
Arizona State Gemstone – Turquoise
Where: Southwest Arizona
The state is world-famous for its production of this gem, with such famous examples as Sleeping Beauty turquoise, Mojave turquoise, Kingman turquoise, and much more being produced. Most varieties of this gem from the state are named after the mine they are sourced from, as a significant amount of variation exists between specimens. The importance and value of turquoise go back hundreds of years, and many Native American tribes hold turquoise in high regard as a sacred gem.
Another unique stone from here is Anthill Garnet. As the name suggests, ants excavate the tiny jewels while burrowing their tunnels. Rain and other weather move the stones to the base of their mounds, where Native Americans have collected them for generations.
Arizona State Mineral – Copper
Color: Brownish red
Where: Greenlee, Pinal, Yavapai, Pima, Gila, Mohave, Cochise, Graham, and more
Did you know that Arizona mines up to 60% of the total copper production of the United States? Copper is so important to the state, that its nickname, “the Copper State,” is based on this fact. Since the Spanish exploration of the area in the 1600’s, the quest for precious metals existed. While silver was long the desired find, innovative miners of the mid-1850’s began hard-rock mining ventures. In addition to silver, these efforts produced copper, lead, and zinc. In modern times, copper is the primary metal produced by the state, with hundreds of mines, smelters, and processing facilities dotting the landscape.
Arizona State Rock
Though no official rock is recognized by the state, Arizona considers petrified wood to be its official fossil!
Arizona State Fossil – Petrified Wood
Color: Colorless, yellow, red, brown, orange
Where: Petrified Forest National Park, Holbrook, Arizona
Within the park and surrounding is one can find one of the largest and most significant deposits known in the world! Petrified wood is polished and used in beads and cabochons for jewelry, such as peanut wood jasper.
Arkansas Gemstones and Minerals
Known as “the Natural State,” Arkansas’s nickname proves apt. Filled with a wealth of natural resources, discover more about their gems, minerals and more below.
Arkansas State Gemstone – Diamond
Color: White, brown, yellow
Where: Mouth of Prairie Creek, Carter of Diamonds State Park
First discovered around the beginning of the 20th century, they were found near the mouth of Prairie Creek. For many years, efforts were made to turn the discovery into a successful commercial venture, all eventually failing due to various setbacks. By the 1950’s the property had changed hands several times and was operated as a private tourist attraction, and eventually became the Crater of Diamonds State Park in 1972. For a small fee, visitors can hunt for their very own diamond gemstones!
Arkansas State Mineral – Quartz
Color: Colorless, white, purple, pink, brown, black, gray, green, orange, yellow, blue, red
Where: the Ouachita Mountains of the West-central region
Well-known as one of the most abundant minerals on Earth, quartz is the official state mineral of Arkansas. Nicknames “Arkansas Diamonds,” the quartz mined within the state is primarily used in electronics manufacturing. The material from Arkansas is frequently compared to that of Brazil, who is the top commercial supplier in the world. Just as with the state’s diamond park, it is possible to go hunting for these unusual natural stones on your own.
Arkansas State Rock – Bauxite
Color: Beige, yellow, white, gray, brown, reddish-brown, pink
Where: Pulaski and Saline counties of the Central region
Bauxite ore is a primary source of aluminum, and it is mined for this purpose. Mined bauxite ore is processed into foil sheets and soft drinks. Arkansas is home to the largest deposits of bauxite within the United States.
California Gemstones and Minerals
As one of the largest states in the union, California is home to a wealth of natural resources. The Golden State boasts an official state gemstone, state mineral, and state rock. California was also the first state to appoint an official rock.
California State Gemstone – Benitoite
Where: San Benito River
Benitoite is a very rare blue gemstone. In fact, a gem-quality material has only ever been identified in California, leading the state to make it their official gemstone in 1985. The stone is named for the San Benito River, as it was first discovered around the headwaters in 1907. As a mineral, benitoite has only been identified in California, Arkansas, and Japan. The gemstone’s blue color is the result of titanium impurities, and it’s very uncommon to find crystals larger than one carat.
California State Mineral – Gold
Color: Metallic yellow
Where: Happy Camp, Downieville, Grass Valley, Nevada City, Oroville, Auburn, Colma, Angels Camp, Columbia, Pine Grove, Randsburg
Discovered in the state during January of 1848, the precious metal lead to a rush, causing the population to immediately skyrocket. Thousands flocked to the state, and from 1850 to 1859 over 28,000,000 fine ounces were mined. Adjusted for today’s prices, this makes the gold found during that period worth about 10 billion dollars! The Golden State derives its nickname from the importance of this metal to its history, as much of its modern development arising from the population growth the gold rush brought on.
California State Rock
Color: Blue-green to Green
Where: Central and Northern California
California was the first state to designate a state rock. Serpentine was declared California’s state rock in 1965. Serpentine typically appears as a blue-green to green material and has long been favored as a material for gem use and carving. Due to its beauty and versatility, it has been used as a substitute for jade for centuries. Serpentine can also be found blended with other stones, such as Tasmanian stichtite.
Colorado Gemstones and Minerals
Colorado is known as “The Centennial State” and is famous for its vastly different landscapes. What’s also special about Colorado’s state symbols is that the state rock, minerals, and gemstone makes up the colors of the American flag.
Colorado State Gemstone – Aquamarine
Color: Light blue to pale to deep aquamarine green
Where: White Mountain and Mount Antero
The word “aquamarine” comes from the Latin word “seawater.” The gem is a variety of the mineral called Beryl and is March’s birthstone and the 19th Wedding Anniversary gemstone. Though the gemstone is relatively small (a typical aquamarine goes up to 6cm or about 2.36 inches), the gem is extremely valuable as it is hard to find. The hunting season only lasts three months as the cold weather and the high elevation makes aquamarine a hard gem to find.
Colorado State Mineral – Rhodochrosite
Color: Deep red to rose pink
Where: Alma, Park County (where the biggest Rhodochrosite was found)
The largest Rhodochrosite found in the world is called Alma King and is on display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It was found in Alma, Park County. Before it was shut down, the Sweet Home Mine was the source of the finest Rhodochrosite around. Although the mineral is very fragile (it ranges from 3.5 to 4 on the Mohs scale), the deep red mineral represents the red color of the American flag. Before officially recognizing Rhodochrosite as the state mineral, Colorado had also considered gold and silver as well to honor the metals that grew their economy in the contemporary American history.
Colorado State Rock – Yule Marble
Where: Gunnison County of Yule Creek
After the Girl Scout Troop 357 of Lakewood’s petition to recognize the Yule Marble as the state rock, Colorado officially chose this marble to represent the white of the American flag. It was named after Yule Creek, where the rock was first found. This marble holds great significance in the preservation of American history as it was used in various iconic monuments such as the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the basement of the Colorado Capitol. Today, Yule Marble is the favored sculpting marble as it is strong.
Connecticut Gemstones and Minerals
While Connecticut is officially known as “The Constitution State”, it is also known as the Nutmeg State, the Provisions State, and the Land of Steady Habits state. Connecticut is known to have the highest per-capita income in the United States and is the third smallest state by area.
Connecticut State Gemstone
While Connecticut does not have an official gemstone, the state does have a long history of mining gems. Connecticut started mining in the 18th Century, garnets and tourmaline are two of the most popular native Connecticut gemstones. The gemstone danburite was first discovered in Connecticut and is named for the town of Danbury, where it was found.
Connecticut State Mineral – Almandine Garnet
Color: Pale to deep violet-red
Where: All through Connecticut
The first name given to the mineral was “garneta” when Albertus Magnus discovered the ancient mineral in the 13th Century. This abrasive mineral is ranked 7 on the Mohs scale and was largely responsible for Connecticut’s initial economic growth. For example, the mineral was used as the base for grinding wheels, saws and garnet paper (a variety of sandpaper). Today, the garnet is popularly used to make jewelry as it is January’s birthstone.
Connecticut State Rock
While Connecticut does not have an official state rock, early settlers would use stones to build stone walls to create boundaries and dictate space. The two most commonly found rocks in Connecticut are gneiss and schist.
Delaware Gemstones and Minerals
Delaware is officially known as “The First State“, but also as the Small Wonder, Blue Hen State, and the Diamond State as its other nicknames. It was named after the Delaware River and boasts being one of America’s first 13 colonies.
Delaware State Gemstone
Although Delaware is called “The Diamond State,” there is no diamonds found in the state. However, a few of the most common gems found in the state are garnet and sillimanite.
Delaware State Mineral – Staurolite
Color: White to tan to green
Where: Hoopes Reservoir and Brandywine Springs
This mineral is created at high temperatures (> 550˚C / 1022˚F) in aluminum-rich rocks. The mineral is special as it has a similar texture to wood. Since large masses of Staurolite can be found in Brandywine Springs, Delaware deemed it as the state mineral.
Delaware State Rock
Although there is no official Delaware state rock, volcanic rocks can be found throughout Delaware state. Basalt flows through Red Clay Valley, which gives it a really rich, dark-colored igneous rock. Other common rocks include gneiss and schist.
Florida Gemstones and Minerals
Florida is named as “The Sunshine State” and boasts wonderful weather under the sun. Florida is also known for its large, diverse population that holds close to their roots.
Florida State Gemstone – Moonstone
Color: White, gray, pink, green
Ironically, moonstone is not naturally found in Florida despite it being the state gemstone. However, Florida still chose the gem as its official state gemstone to honor the significance of the space program. It is believed to bring good luck to the wearer and was associated with passion in the olden times. Moonstone is also special as it shifts color in the light and is said to “turn into a blue floating light.”
Florida State Mineral
Although Florida does not have a state mineral, anhydrite, aragonite, and calcite are a few of the most common minerals found in Florida. More popular and highly valued minerals include quartz and zircon.
Florida State Rock – Agatized Coral
Color: White, gray, brown, yellow, red
Where: Withlacoochee/ Suwannee River, Tampa Bay, Econfina River
20-30 million years ago, polyps were small animals that combined their own carbon dioxide with lime in warm seawater to coral. It was found in the ancient ocean and is special to the state as Florida’s history is found in a physical rock.
Georgia Gemstones and Minerals
Georgia’s nickname includes “Peach South” and the “Empire State of the South.” Georgia was named after King George II of Great Britain and boasts a wide range of ecosystems.
Georgia State Gemstone – Quartz
Color: Wide range of colors
Where: Throughout Georgia
Although quartz is deemed the second most abundant mineral on Earth, Georgia officials cited its “importance of heritage and industrial growth” in its history as reasons to be recognized as state gemstones in Georgia. The two particular quartz that Georgia recognizes is amethyst and rock crystal quartz.
Georgia State Mineral – Staurolite
Color: Dark reddish brown, blackish brown, yellowish brown; rarely blue with pale golden yellow in thin section
Where: North Georgia
Staurolite is found in old crystalline rocks that are abundant in North Georgia. Staurolite crystals are also known as “Fairy Crosses” or “Fairy Stones” as it is believed to bring good luck to the wearer.
Georgia State Rock
Although Georgia does not have an official state rock, Georgia can find a variety of rocks that rock collectors love to collect. This includes limestone, sandstone, shale and other sedimentary rocks.
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