Cut and rough emerald stones; photo © International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA): Emerald (all rights reserved; used by permission).
North Carolina designated the emerald as the official state precious stone in 1973. A greater variety of minerals have been found in North Carolina than in any other state (more than 300) including some of the most valuable and unique gems in the world.
An emerald crystal thought to be the largest ever found in North America (weight 1869 carats) was found in 2003 near Statesville, North Carolina. A 71-carat stone unearthed at the same location (a mine in Hiddenite) yielded two finished stones; the Carolina Prince that sold for $500,000 (7.85 carats), and the Carolina Queen (weight 18.88 carats).