Natural emeralds form in either pegmatite deposits or hydrothermal veins in metamorphic environments. In a hydrothermal vein, hydrothermal fluids have escaped from magma deeper in the Earth's crust. When these fluids contain the specific elements that are in emeralds (like beryllium) and begin to cool in deposit veins, emeralds start to form, In pegmatite deposits magma, instead of hydrothermal fluids is the key component in emeralds formation. When the magma cools elements remain in the solution of the fluid left over, when the right elements remain, and optimal conditions such as cooling are in place, emeralds form.
The Rarest Gems are reported to be Emeralds and more than forty times as rare as diamonds and with few exeptions are mined with the same archaic methods used for hundreds of years. The Carolina emerald weighing thirteen point four carats was not discoverd in Columbia or Brazil as one might expect but an emerald deposit in North Carolina. In addition to the Carolina emerald, this deposit is the source of many impressive finds including the Marie emerald and the June Culp Zeitener emerald. Experts, after examming these emeralds, agree they rival the finest stones from Columbia including the very rare large Stephenson and the LKA emeralds also unearthed in the Hiddenite area of North Carolina and containing the variety of Spodumene of which is unique because it is found only in a small geographic region of North Carolina and also because it receives its intense color from Chromium, the same element that gives emerald its deep green hue.
For centuries Colombia has been one of the most prolific producers of emeralds in the world. Very few locations from any geographic area produce emeralds in the same quality, quantity and visual appeal as this lush, tropical, South American country. This isolated and exotic mining area, an extension of the Andes in central Colombia is rich in both history and international intrigue, for example, the original deposits of El Chivor date back to the early 1500's and were reportedly mined by the Chibcha Indians of the high Colombian plateau, this was a part of the world where highly developed native indian tribes collided with the invading Spanish Conquistadors, the ensuing battles for local treasure ravaged both the conscience and cultures of Europe and South America. The Spanish invasion of this territory introduced the outside world to a fantastic treasure trove of high quality emeralds and gold to adorn the monarchs and potentates of Europe and the world. In addition to Colombia, there are several other historically and commercially important sites around the world that produce emeralds. Most importantly, these locations include Russia, Africa, Brazil, and Afghanistan. However, within the spectrum of emerald producing areas, one of the rare deposits in the world is tucked away in the isolated mountains of western North Carolina. This area has enjoyed a rich history of producing some of the most significant emeralds in North America and allthough this location has not been a prolific producer it has in fact produced some exceptionally large crystals of historical significance. Part of the special appeal of important gems and minerals is frequently the provenance size and quality associated with the material and In this case the special history of this location and uniqueness of these crystals is in part intimately entwined with a dynamic period of American natural history. According to historical records and reports, the Hiddenite area of North Carolina began producing material in the decomposed rock from the surrounding farms in 1875. The primary investigator and naturalist was John Adlai D. Stephenson who was credited with the discovery and subsequently implemented a systematic plan of accumulating these green bolts from local residents in the Hiddenite area. Similarly the mineralogist William Earl Hidden on assignment to locate platinum deposits on behalf of Thomas Edison's light bulb development project, connected with Stephenson in 1879. In 1880, Hidden continued his interest in the emeralds and related minerals of this area by forming the Emerald and Hiddenite Mining Company.
An emerald specimen reportedly weighing 1,270 carats and dating from this time period became part of the collection of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and a second crystal weighing 1,276 carats resides in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. The Ownership by these pre-eminent institutions underscores the importance of emeralds from this location and In this case the emerald crystals described in reports share an equally important place in the mineralogical history of North Carolina Emeralds and American gemstones.
According to historical records the 1,686.3 carat elongated LKA Emerald crystal represents the second largest emerald crystal discovered in North America and this excellent crystal specimen reportedly discovered in 1984 has been designated the LK A Emerald after the mining company that operated the property until 1985. The second crystal weighing 1,438 carats designated the Finger Emerald was discovered in 1969 by Michael "Butch" Finger and for some time was the largest known North American emerald crystal, the LKA Mining Company later renamed this crystal "The Stephenson Eemerald", after the original researcher credited with the discovery of the location. Although quantity and production of emeralds has never been a hallmark of the Hiddenite area, its importance to American mineralogical history is vital and unchallenged.
These two crystals the LKA and Stephenson Emeralds represent a rare and unusual glimpse into Americana and Native American folklore of rare "Green Bolts" and are storied in Native American history and are a valuable addition to any collection of important American minerals.
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Doves of Peace
1888 Photo Hiddenite Area Mining
Early Emerald Mining
Near Hiddenite, Alexander County, North Carolina USA
-Friends of Mineralogy FM
-Mineralogical Society of America
-List of U.S. state minerals, rocks, stones and gemstones
-Mineralogical Association of Canada
Association minéralogique du Canada
-Barite Specimen Localities
-National Research Council Canada
-The Mineralogical Society, sponsor of Mineralogical Magazine
-European Journal of Mineralogy
-Pegmatite Interest Group (PIG), hosted by the MSA
-Robert B. Ferguson Museum, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada http://www.umanitoba.ca/geoscience/MuseumWeb/MuseumWeb/index.html
-Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals in Oregon
-Tellus: Northwest Georgia Science Museum, Minearal Gallery
-Barite Specimen Localities
- North carolina musium of natural sciences
-New york musium of natural sciences
-The Society of Mineral Museum Professionals
-Minerant Global Museums-Collecting-Mineral Dealers
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EMERALDS WORTH MORE THAN DIAMONDS
LKA & STEPHENSON 1992 APPRAISALS AT $9,685,330 M USD
Friends of Mineralogy FM http://www.friendsofmineralogy.org/index.html
AGMS 1990 VALUES AT $3,100 USD A CARAT WEIGHT
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Author of this Article by Mark Ivan Jacobson (copyright not for reproduction)
The LKA and Finger (Stephenson) emeralds appears on the market
In June of 1990, LKA International had the 1984 discovered LKA Emerald and the 1969 Michael Finger (Stephenson) Emerald evaluated for quality and value by J. Gelster, who was a member of the American Gem Market System, Moraga, CA (1981-1991 as registered in California). At the time of its discovery, the 1,686.3 carat LKA Emerald was the largest North American Emerald. The Finger emerald had been obtained by LKA with their 1982 purchase of the former Charles Rist assets – land, buildings and museum collection.
Circa 1992, Kye Abraham, owner and CEO of LKA International, appears to have sold both emeralds to Rick G. Cogburn of Charleston, SC. After their purchase, the two emeralds were evaluated/appraised by Mary Croghan Ramsey of Croghan’s Jewel Box, Charleston, SC in November 1992. From 1992 until 2008 no information has surfaced regarding these two emeralds; there is also no evidence they had ever been displayed publicly since 1982.
In June 2008, the two emeralds were examined by C. “Cap” R. Beesley, president of the American Gemological Laboratories, New York City. This authorative laboratory confirmed that these two crystals were indeed, the un- modified original crystals that had been in storage since the 1980s
With this higher level of confidence, in 2009 the two emerald crystals were sold, via a complicated arrangement, to the “Emerald Owners Holding Company,” who moved the emeralds to another secure bank vault, where they still are in 2017. Other: Photos may be used on this website by Mark Jacobson with permission of emeraldsrare.com
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