Hiddenite

Hiddenite is a pale-to-emerald green variety of spodumene that is sometimes used as a gemstone.

The first specimens of the hiddenite variety of spodumene were recovered about 1879 near the tiny settlement of White Plains, west of Stony Point, Alexander County, North Carolina. According to contemporary accounts, a young man named Lackey brought them to the attention of J.A.D. Stephenson, a local merchant who was also an ardent collector of minerals. Initially, the yellowish to greenish-yellow hiddenites were thought to be gemmy diopside. Stephenson brought the discovery to the attention of exploration geologist William Earl Hidden, who had been commissioned by Thomas Edison to search for any sources of platinum in North Carolina (an effort that was, in and of itself, stunningly unsuccessful). Hidden sent samples of the odd green material to J. Lawrence Smith, a prominent chemist and mineralogist of Louisville, Kentucky. Smith correctly identified the specimens as being a variety of spodumene, and named them “hiddenite” in honor of Hidden. The community in which the gemstones were first found would later be renamed "Hiddenite". During the hey-day of hiddenite mining in the 1880s and 1890s it was also known as “lithia emerald”. Hidden recognized the value of the emeralds and the potential of the new gemmy green spodumene. He acquired a tract of poor quality land, which was either the site of the initial discovery or near to it, for $1500. The Emerald and Hiddenite Mining Company was organized and excavations on the site quickly recovered loose hiddenites and emeralds in the red, gravelly clay. At a depth of about 26 feet they struck bedrock and soon were recovering hiddenites from solid rock. Oddly, period newspaper accounts and statements by George Frederick Kunz (1892) indicate that mining on the site was never undertaken as a full-time operation, but was only prosecuted a few weeks or months during the summer. Writing in 1892, Kunz described the hiddenite being recovered as “always transparent, ranges from colorless (rare) to a light yellow, into a yellowish green, then into a deep yellow emerald green. Sometimes an entire crystal has a uniform green color, but generally one end is yellow and the other green.” Kunz noted that the finest crystal recovered prior to 1892 measured 68 mm tall, and could have cut a gem of 5.5ct estimated weight. The size of most cut gems were small, with a 2ct hiddenite in the Augustus C. Hamlin collection being considered among the finest of the large stones.

In addition to the North Carolina locality, Hiddenite has also been found in Brazil, China, and Madagascar. Green spodumene found in Afghanistan and Pakistan has excited modest amounts of controversy in the mineral and gemological communities with debate over whether or not it should be truly considered "hiddenite" as well as claims that the green coloration is induced by irradiation and is fugitive.

Other articles related to "hiddenite":

Hiddenite, North Carolina - The Hiddenite Celebration of The Arts
... The Hiddenite Celebration is held on the 4th Saturday in September ... The annual Hiddenite Half-Marathon is held at the Celebration ...
Hiddenite Gem Mines
... Three of the larger mines in Hiddenite, NC, include Adams Mine, NAEM, and the Emerald Hollow Mine ... They are all collectively known as the Hiddenite Gem Mines ... The first discovery of the hiddenite stone was made in 1879 ...
Hiddenite Gem Mines - Adams Mine
... Also located in the hills of Hiddenite is the Adams mine, formerly known as the Warren mine, the Emerald Hiddenite mine, the Turner mine, and the Hiddenite mine ...
Hiddenite Gem Mines - Adams Mine - Important Dates
... were first found in plowed fields in Hiddenite ... Hiddenite stones were first found in 1878 ... A recent large discovery occurred in 1980 when over 1,500 hiddenite crystals were found in a large underground vein pocket ...