American Gemstones: Texas has Topaz, Pearls, and More

As I continue to journey through birthplace stones of the USA, I decide to go to check out options for the big state of Texas.  

TOPAZ - The official Texas state gemstone (since 1969) is Blue Topaz and the state also has a special state cut called Lone Star used for turning gemstone rough into jewelry quality stones.  Topaz for jewelry is covered in birthstones post of this blog (Blue=December, Gold=November).  Next time you visit Texas, consider going to dig for topaz as part of the trip..

PEARLS - Yes, Texas has pearls.  Some Texas lakes and rivers are known for edible oysters and some mussels that produce freshwater pearls.   These mussels are mostly harvested for “beads” to start cultivating larger pearls in China.  Texas even has its own rare Concho pearl which comes in pink –peach-purple colors and irregular shapes, rather than the normal white round people think of when they hear pearls.  Few of these rare pearls are jewel quality, although still nice collector items.  A Concho pearl that is gem quality usually made into jewelry by local artisans.  Mother of pearl from the mussel shells is experience resurgence in jewelry as a low-cost gemstone alternative and because it can be carved for additional interest.  Before this new interest, mother of pearl was mostly featured in Native American jewelry and buttons for clothing in the West.  Unfortunately, Texas mussels do not create highly lustrous mother of pearl, so it is mainly the exported nuclei for future imported pearls of the East.   Now that you know about Texas pearls, find out what is happening in the little known world of Texas mussels, clams, and oysters.

MORE - Texas offers lots of gemstones besides the state stone of Blue Topaz.  In Central Texas you can prospect for: agate (chalcedony, onyx), feldspar, fluorite, garnetjasperopal, tourmaline, and quartz gemstone rough.  Or search for the precious metals of copper, gold, pyrite, silver. or other ores.  Maybe you are not a gem hunter or pearl diver, but still a rock hound - you can find different rocks, geodes, and fossils in Texas too.  Yes, Dinosaurs have been found in Texas!  Before doing any digging or diving anywhere in Texas, make sure you have the appropriate licenses and permissions so you don't end up with a fine or in jail...

For other official Texas state nature items like bird, flower, tree - visit Lone Star Junction.

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