6 HISTORY OF THE GEMS FOUND IN NORTH CAROLINA.
a wide area of surface in the counties of Burke, Rutherford, Lincoln,
Mecklenburg, and Franklin, and I have no doubt if a regular search were
to be made for them, they would be more frequently found." To the
counties named by Professor Genth, must now be added McDowell, and
these all form, with the exception of Franklin, a group lying together
in the line of the general drainage of the country, southeast of the
Blue Eidge. Franklin County is far to the northeast of the others; and
any diamonds occurring there must be derived from the disintegration of
another belt of crystalline rocks, that traverses the eastern portion
of the State, near Weldon, in Halifax County, or else have been
transported for a long distance by streams.
to the present time there are about ten authentic occurrences of
diamonds in North Carolina, besides several reported discoveries that
are not entirely reliable.3 One such instance was that of a
quartz crystal found near Danbury, which was examined, and pronounced a
(genuine) diamond, by the local jewelers, who valued it erroneously at
some thousands of dollars.
first specimen in order of time, was found in 1843, by Dr. F. M.
Stephenson, at the ford of Brindletown Creek, in Burke County. It was
an octahedral crystal, and was valued at $100; but no particulars of it
are on record. Another was found in the same neighborhood by Prof.
George W. Featherstonhaugh, but there seems to be no account of its
characters preserved. In 1845, a diamond of 1-J carats, a distorted
octahedron with curved faces, clear and flawless, though tinged with
yellow, was found in the gold washings of J. D. Twitty's mine, in
Rutherford County. It became the property of the late General T. L.
Clingman, of Asheville, who for many years took great interest and did
great service in developing the mineral resources of North Carolina.
This stone was described by Prof. Charles U. Shepard,4 who
announced the existence of itacolumite in the gold-bearing region of
North Carolina, at the meeting of the American Association of
Geologists and Naturalists in 1845, and under the impression that the
itacolumite is their matrix, had predicted the further discovery of
diamonds in that region, as in Brazil. For this reason diamonds, when
found, were naturally submitted to him. C. Leventhorpe, of Patterson,
Caldwell County, N. C, reports a small and poor specimen found in a
placer mine on his property in Rutherford County, and states that he
presented it to Prof. Shepard, who retained it in his cabinet. The next
important diamond was found in gold-washings