500 MINERAL RESOURCES.
THE DISCOVERY OF EMERALDS IN NORTH CAROLINA,
By W. E. Hidden.
years ago the site of the North Carolina emerald mine was cov-ered with
a dense primitive forest. Less than ten years ago the locality was,
mineralogically, a blank; nothing was known to exist there having any
special interest or value. It is certain, though, that this region has produced, of late years, some of the most remarkable and beautiful specimens of emerald, spodumene, beryl, quartz, rutile, and monaxite thus far discovered in the United States.
a few localities in Alexander county crystals would be found the common
opaque beryl, but now and then a semi-transparent prism, having a
decided grass-green tint, much resembling the famous crystals from
Siberia, would be found and offered for sale in the county towns These
came to have the name among the farmers of "green rocks" and "green
In a period of about six years there were found loose in the surface soil on
three plantations in this county, a few beryls having a tint verging
distinctly on the true emerald color, none of which crystals, however,
were deep colored enough or sufficiently transparent for use as gems.
It was the sight of two of these so-called "green bolts" that prompted
me to visit the locality where they were found, and to make a search
there for the true emerald. I cannot understand why prospecting was not
commenced long ago, where such favorable signs were so common; that
such indications could receive only passing notice seems inexplicable.
No higher inducement than the following had ever been held out to the
farmers to look for these "green bolts": "A visiting collector had
offered the munificent sum of one dollar for a dark green transparent
crystal as long as his finger."
is the history of the emeralds found in this county before I commenced
systematic mining for them. The location of the mine now being worked
was obtained in the following manner: A corps of work-men were employed
to dig a series of deep ditches in directions that would cut the strata
at different angles. The site chosen for work was on the spot where at
least six of these "green bolts" had been found. This location was
shown to me by the farmer who had picked up the crystals while plowing.
Not knowing then their manner of occurrence in situ, and having no precedent to work by, I expected by this plan to strike a vein bearing them.
Five weeks were spent (July-August,
1880) before any success was met with, and then at a depth of eight
feet was discovered a "blind vein" (so called because it had no
outcrop) bearing very small emeralds. In this vein, and outnumbering
the emeralds fifty to one, was discovered the new emerald-green gem,
which was such a surprise to the scientific world, and which was
destined to answer the same purpose and have