In 1879, Thomas Edison tasked geologist William Earl Hidden with finding platinum in North Carolina to help extend the life of his light bulb. Instead, Hidden discovered what would become his namesake: hiddenite.
Today, its town is home to the fourth-rarest gemstone around the globe. This emerald green stone, a spodumene mineral colored with chromium, is the only precious gem that can’t be man-made.
Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite, North Carolina is the only emerald mine that welcomes the public to try their hand at prospecting gemstones, which also include valuable smoky and clear quartz, distinct aquamarines, sapphires and garnets.
– Eve Lederman, The North Carolina 100