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 learn more about your state’s official gemstone, mineral, and more!
This is the fifth part of the Patriotic Gemstone series and covers South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Don’t see your state? Check out this page to read the rest of the Patriotic Gemstone series.
South Dakota Gemstones and Minerals
Also known as the “Mount Rushmore State,” South Dakota is an exceptional state for rockhounding. The state is known for Black Hills’ gold. South Dakota is also home to amazing agate and rose quartz varieties.
South Dakota State Gemstone – Fairburn Agate
Color: Yellowish-brown with narrow opaque white bands, dark red with white bands, or salmon-pink with white bands
Where: Fairburn county
Fairburn agate was discovered near Fairburn, South Dakota. It’s used in jewelry and is a favorite of rock collectors too! This particular variety of agate is also known as fortification agate, exhibiting bright color patterns like yellowish-brown with narrow opaque white bands, dark red with white bands, or salmon-pink bands with white bands. Other colors incorporated in these agates are black, yellow, grayish-blue and milky-pink.
South Dakota State Mineral – Rose Quartz
Color: Reddish to light pink
Where: Southern Black Hills
Rose quartz originates deep within the earth’s crust and forms from the solidification of granitic magma. Used for ornaments and jewelry, rose quartz mined in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota is coarsely crystalline and sometimes exhibits asterism. Its color ranges from reddish to light pinkish due to the presence of element titanium. The state legislature law noted the importance of this material by making it the official state mineral of South Dakota in 1966.
South Dakota State Rock
South Dakota does not have a state rock, but it does have a state jewelry!
South Dakota State Jewelry – Black Hills
Color: Rose, green and yellow gold
Where: Black Hills
In addition to their official state gemstone and mineral, South Dakota also has official state jewelry! Black Hills Gold is the state’s official jewelry. This jewelry is created and manufactured exclusively in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It was first formed in the 1870s during the Black Hills Gold Rush by a French goldsmith Henri LeBeau, who created the grape clusters, vines, and leaves motif that remains the trademark of the state’s official jewelry. Each design incorporates these traditional motifs in tri-color combinations of rose, green, and yellow gold. The state of South Dakota declared Black Hills gold as the official state jewelry on March 3, 1988.
Tennessee Gemstones and Minerals
Also known as “The Volunteer State,” Tennessee is home to an array of gemstones, minerals, rocks, and fossils. They are found in several locations in Eastern and Western Tennessee and are highly valued by collectors.
Tennessee State Gemstone – River Pearl
Color: Various colors and shapes
Where: Freshwater rivers and Tennessee state
River pearl is the official state gemstone of Tennessee. River pearls are produced by the mussels that live in the freshwater rivers and streams flowing throughout Tennessee. They come in almost all colors, and various shapes such as spherical, pear-shaped, and irregular. Tennessee river pearls are considered to be among the most beautiful and durable pearls in the world, making Tennessee one of the top ten gemstone-producing states since the 1970s. Nowadays, Tennessee also produces a significant amount of cultured freshwater pearls in various shapes such as triangle, teardrop, marquise, bar, navette, coin-shaped and cabochon. River pearls are collected and crafted into rings, cuff links, stick pins, and other jewelry.
Tennessee State Mineral – Agate
Color: brown, white, red, gray, pink, black and yellow
Where: Horse Mountain and other sites
Agate is the official state mineral of Tennessee. It’s a gemstone formed by slow deposits of quartz into rock cavities. This variety of mineral quartz has centers laced with ribbons of color when sliced open. Several agates are exclusive to Tennessee, including Paint Rock agate, greasy cover, saw mill and green haw agate. In 1969, agate was declared as the official state rock. However, in 2009, Tennessee named agate as its official state mineral.
Tennessee State Rock – Limestone
Color: Gray and buff colors
Where: Throughout the state
Tennessee declared calcium carbonate, commonly known as limestone, as its official state rock in 1979. Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate. Found just about everywhere in Tennessee, limestone is used widely as a building material, road basing material, chemical feedstock, and white pigment or filler in products like paint or toothpaste. High-quality limestone, known as “Tennessee marble,” was used to construct the National Gallery of Art, Jefferson, and Lincoln Memorials in Washington, D.C.
Texas Gemstones and Minerals
Also known as “The Lone Star State,” Texas is an extraordinary example of mineral wealth. Texas has significant mineral deposits, valuable gemstones, fossils, and rocks that have attracted rock collectors from all over the world.
Texas State Gemstone –Topaz
Color: Various shades of blue and colorless material
Where: Central Texas
Texas is home to colorless and blue topaz. They are found in cavities of rhyolite and granites. Topaz occurs in the Llano uplift area in Central Texas, mainly west to northwest of Mason.
Texas State Gemstone Cut – Lone Star Cut
Texas chose the ‘Lone Star Cut’ as its official state gemstone cut in 1997. Designed by two native Texans, the Lone Star cut is a unique gemstone cut that reflects the five-pointed star of Texas.
Texas State Metal – Silver
Color: Metallic gray
Where: West Texas
Silver is the official precious metal of Texas. Silver has been mined in Texas for more than three centuries and continues to play a remarkable role in the story of the Lone Star State and Texas culture. Jewelry makers and artisans rely on this precious metal as the sheen of silver is an essential element in beautiful stylistic designs in jewelry, belt buckles, tie clasps, and boot decorations. Silver’s bright and pure luster makes it a favorite metal for religious jewelry and other devotional objects. Silver, being such a big part of state lore, was designated as the official precious metal of the State of Texas in 2007.
Texas State Stone – Petrified Palmwood
Color: Various colors, dependent on the composition
Where: Eastern Texas
Petrified palmwood is the official state stone of Texas. Petrified palmwood is a fossil rather than a rock or stone. Trees that fall into mineral-rich mud before having a chance to decay become petrified wood. Depending on the angle the material is cut, it shows up as spots, tapering rods, or lines. Petrified palmwood is very hard, but after a thorough polish, it makes beautiful jewelry. Texas has some of the best-quality petrified palmwood in the United States. In Texas, petrified palm wood is found principally in eastern counties near the Texas Gulf Coast.
Utah Gemstones and Minerals
Also known as the “Beehive State,” Utah is well-known as the rockhounding capital of the United States. Utah is home to beautiful and exotic gemstones – red beryl, topaz, variscite, Tiffany Stone, dino bone, wonder stone, agate, jasper, opal, garnets, amethysts and much more!
Utah State Gemstone – Topaz
Color: Variety of colors
Where: Beaver, Juab, Tooele counties
Topaz is the official gemstone of Utah. Topaz is a gemstone found in Beaver, Juab, and Tooele counties of Utah. They occur in soils and dry washes around Topaz Mountain. One of the best sources of topaz is The Thomas Range of western Utah. It comes in a variety of colors such as pink, violet, yellow, green, blue or may instead be colorless.
Utah State Mineral – Copper
Color: Various colors
Where: Bingham Canyon mine
Utah designated copper as its official state mineral in 1994. Copper is mined in Bingham Canyon mine, which is one of the world’s largest open-pit copper mines, measuring 0.5 miles deep and 2.5 miles wide. This mine is a significant contributor to Utah’s economy. Copper, being a versatile mineral, is known for its conductive properties and is widely used in electronics, plumbing, transportation, and in alloys.
Utah State Rock – Coal
Color: Dark gray
Where: Eastern Utah
In addition to their official state gemstone and mineral, Utah also has an official rock! Coal is the official Utah state rock. You’ll find it in 17 of Utah’s 29 counties. Coal is widely used during the ‘coking’ process in steel production and is burned in power plants to produce heat and electricity. Coal-burning facilities generate more than one-half of the electricity used in Utah. The state of Utah declared coal its official state rock in 1991 in recognition of its importance to the state’s history.
Vermont Gemstones and Minerals
Also known as “The Green Mountain State,” Vermont is known for its beauty. The state is filled with a broad range of gemstones, minerals, rock, and fossils. Vermont is famous for its marble and grossular garnets. In fact, Vermont supplies some of the best quality of these types of garnets in the world.
Vermont State Gemstone – Grossular Garnet
Color: Various colors
Where: Belvidere Mine
Vermont declared grossular garnet as its official state gemstone in 1991. The finest specimens of grossular garnet are found in the Belvidere Mine at Eden Mills. Grossular garnets are present in various colors. However, orange is the most common color and is highly-valued by gem collectors.
Vermont State Mineral – Talc
Where: Southeastern Vermont
Besides having an official gemstone, Vermont designated talc as its official state mineral in 1991. The talc is metamorphic in origin, formed in thin slivers of ocean crust left after the continents collided. Mostly found in Southwestern Vermont, talc has a green color and is very soft. Ground talc is used in plastics, rubber, paper, paint and talcum powder. Vermont ranks second to California among talc producing states.
Vermont State Rock – Marble, Granite, Slate
Where: Barre County, Danby County, and Southwestern Vermont
In addition to their official state gemstone and mineral, Vermont also has three official state rocks – marble, granite, and slate. All three rocks played an equally important role in the state’s economy and hence were formally recognized as the state rock on May 28, 1992.
Virginia Gemstones and Minerals
Virginia is home for the avid rock and gem hunters. With more than 400 minerals within its border, Virginia is a popular state for rockhounding.
Virginia State Gemstone
Virginia does not have its official state gemstone, but, boasts large deposits of kyanite! Virginia is world’s oldest and largest producer of kyanite.
Virginia State Fossil – Chesapecten jeffersonius
Color: Silver, brown, peach
Where: Southeast Virginia
Chesapecten jeffersonius is the official state fossil of Virginia. This large, distinctive scallop was the first fossil described in North America, in 1687. Approximately 150 years later, the fossil was named after Thomas Jefferson by entomologist Thomas Say because of his keen interest in such historical objects. These fossils are found in the stream flowing through valleys and on the river shores of Southeast Virginia and Eastern North Carolina. These species are usually characterized by the number of ribs (9 to 12) and the rounded shell edge. Virginia made Chesapecten jeffersonius its official fossil in 1993.
Virginia State Mineral
Some of the common minerals found in Virginia are gold, quartz, garnet, amazonite, hematite, mica, feldspar, and calcite. Minerals like gold, copper, manganese, and iron, have all been mined in Virginia. Sand, clay, granite, limestone, slate, mineral sands and vermiculite are some of the minerals currently being mined. These minerals form the core building blocks of the rocks that shape the landscape. In Virginia, minerals are mined for industrial purposes, are collected by gem collectors, and used for scientific study to better understand the Earth. Virginia does not currently have an official state mineral.
Virginia State Rock – Nelsonite
Color: Black and yellowish brown
Where: Nelson County
Virginia declared nelsonite its official state rock on July 1, 2016. Nelsonite was discovered in the early 1900s near Roseland, in central Virginia in Nelson County. It is one of the few rocks named after its state county. Nelsonite is an igneous rock comprised of the minerals ilmenite and apatite and is rich in both titanium and calcium phosphate. Although Nelsonite is no longer excavated in Virginia, its mining is still active in parts of China due to its rarity and significance.
Washington Gemstones and Minerals
Also known as “The Evergreen State,” Washington is a paradise for rock collectors. The state offers a variety of different gems, minerals, rocks, and fossil specimens. According to the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Washington State is among the top 10 producers of gemstones in the nation.
Washington State Gemstone – Petrified Wood
Color: Broad range of colors and patterns
Where: Ginko Petrified Forest State Park and Saddle Mountain
Petrified wood is the official state gemstone of Washington. Petrified wood occurs in the Gingko Petrified Forest State Park in Vantage, Washington. It is an exceptional petrified forest where the woods are found entrenched in basalts and trees are submerged underwater to preserve them in beautiful condition. Saddle Mountain in Grant County is another favorite area for rock collectors to search for petrified wood. Some of the varieties are opalized wood. Petrified wood represents a broad range of colors and patterns, which are created by minerals mixing with silica. Washington declared petrified wood its official state gemstone on March 12, 1975.
Washington State Minerals
Washington is home to numerous minerals, including agate, amber, carnelian, coal, copper, garnets, geodes, gold, jasper, opal, quartz, and zeolites. Out of all, agates are found in abundance throughout Washington State and are one of the most popular stones for gem collectors. Agate stones are usually smooth and polished with incredible colors. They can be seen anywhere along the coastline of Damon Point and Olympic Peninsula. Timing the tides is necessary when searching for agates at the beaches in Washington. Hunting after winter storms is usually the most productive time. Besides being home to abundant minerals, Washington has not declared an official state mineral yet.
Washington State Fossil – Columbian Mammoth
Color: Greyish brown
Where: Olympic Peninsula
Washington declared the Columbian mammoth as the official state fossil in 1998. Mammoth is the common name for any member of an extinct genus Mammuthus of the elephant family. Fossilized remains of the Columbian mammoth were discovered on the Olympic Peninsula, in Western Washington. The Columbian mammoth was one of the largest elephants to have walked the Earth. They had impressive, spiraled tusks which measured up to 16ft long, making them record holders amongst the elephant family.
West Virginia Gemstones and Minerals
Also known as the “Mountain State,” West Virginia is an extraordinary place for those interested in representing their association with the state. West Virginia is known for its extensive amount of coal deposits.
West Virginia State Gemstone – Lithostrotionella
Color: Light gray, pink, red, dark blue
Where: Southeastern West Virginia
West Virginia adopted Lithostrotionella, a Mississippian fossil coral as its official state gemstone on March 10, 1990. Lithostrotionella is found exclusively in the Hillsdale Limestone of Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties in the southeastern part of the state. This coral existed about 340 million years ago, during the Mississippian Period, at a time when West Virginia was encroached on by a shallow sea. Lithostrotionella is a tabulate coral. It is preserved as the siliceous mineral chalcedony, a variety of microcrystalline quartz.
West Virginia State Mineral
The state has yet to declare a state mineral.
West Virginia State Rock – Bituminous Coal
Color: Black to dark brown or gray
Where: Appalachian coal region
West Virginia declared bituminous coal as its official state rock on April 11, 2009, in recognition of its importance to the state’s history, economy, and geology. West Virginia is the second-largest producer of coal, next to Wyoming. Coal is a fossil fuel, comprised primarily of carbon and formed from the remains of plants that lived nearly 100 to 400 million years ago. Almost 50% of the coal produced in the United States is bituminous coal. Mostly found in black to dark brown or gray color, coal is used as a source of energy, lubricant, pigment and as carbon for industrial purposes.
West Virginia State Fossil – Megalonyx jeffersonii
Color: grayish brown
Where: Monroe County
West Virginia designated Megalonyx jeffersonii as its official state fossil. Megalonyx is an extinct species of giant ground sloth, of the family Megalonychidae, prevalent in North America long ago. It is the largest known species of Megalonyx and reaches the size of an ox! Its skull is short, broad and thick with a blunt muzzle. The state legislature passed a resolution declaring Megalonyx jeffersonii as the official state fossil of West Virginia in 2008.
Wisconsin Gemstones and Minerals
Also known as the “Badger State,” Wisconsin is well-known for its vast deposits of iron ore. Wisconsin boasts of an official state mineral, and rock!
Wisconsin State Gemstone
Wisconsin does not have an official gemstone, but boasts a variety of gemstones such as Lake Superior agate, calcite, quartz, and malachite. Agates are relatively common along the Lake Superior shoreline. They are an igneous rock stained by the presence of iron and are typically banded in red, yellow and orange. Calcite is found in abundance throughout Wisconsin. Bright green malachite ranks among the most sought-after gem in this state. Malachite specimens can be found in a variety of incredible shapes and can be found in copper mines across the state. Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals found in Wisconsin, and is found in a wide array of forms.
Wisconsin State Mineral – Galena
Color: Lead to silver gray
Where: East Wisconsin
Galena is the official state mineral of Wisconsin. Galena is the most important ore of lead and a significant source of silver. It was selected by the Kenosha Gem and Mineral Society in 1971 because of its abundance, uniqueness, historical significance, economic value, and importance to the state. Galena is a common and famous mineral for rockhounds. It grows in cubes, and its colors range from lead to silver gray, sometimes with a bluish tint.
Wisconsin State Rock – Red Granite
Where: Throughout the state
Wisconsin declared red granite its official state rock on March 9, 1971. Red granite was recommended as a state rock by the Kenosha Gem and Mineral Society due to its abundance, uniqueness, economic value, and historical significance. Red Granite is an intrusive igneous rock composed of quartz, feldspar, mica, and hornblende. It is usually used as a building and decorative stone.
Wyoming Gemstones and Minerals
Known as “the Gemstone State,” Wyoming’s nickname proves apt. Wyoming is home to a wealth of gems, rocks, minerals, and fossil. Wyoming is the top gemstone state in the US, with a diverse collection of gems. The state also has a collection of ‘Armalcolite,’ a mineral which was first observed on the moon and later in Wyoming and Australia.
Wyoming State Gemstone – Jade
Color: green, yellow, red, black, white, lavender
Where: Granite Mountains
Jade was declared as the official state gemstone of Wyoming in 1967. Jade is an opaque gemstone that is chiefly valued for its color. Wyoming produces spectacular jade stones that are highly treasured by gem collectors. Wyoming exports jade gemstone, carvings, and jewelry to Asian markets.
Wyoming State Mineral
Though no official mineral is recognized by the state, Wyoming boasts of a wide range of minerals such as agate, jasper, chalcedony, opal, Mexican onyx, pyrope garnet, spessartine garnet, chrome diopside, kyanite, iolite, ruby, sapphire, peridot, fluorite, industrial diamond, gem diamond, apatite, amethyst, quartz, aquamarine, jade, cuprite, black tourmaline, labradorite, moonstone, amber, chrysocolla, variscite, malachite, argentite, and many more!
Wyoming State Rock
Some of the most unusual and rare rock types found in Wyoming are kimberlites, kyanite eclogite, lamproite, eclogite, lamprophyre, diamondiferous eclogite, garnet peridotite, diamondiferous garnet peridotite, anorthosite, pyroxenite, and others. Wyoming does not have an official state rock.
Wyoming State Fossil – Knightia
Color: Light brown to black
Where: Green River Foundation
Wyoming adopted Knightia as its official state fossil on February 18, 1987. They are an extinct bony fish, found in the Green River Formation of Wyoming. Knightia lived in the freshwater lakes and rivers of North America and Asia nearly 50 – 40 million years ago. They grew to the length of 5-10 inches and are covered by layers of scales. Besides being the official state fossil of Wyoming, they are the most commonly excavated fossil fish in the world.
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