Official State Gems

Listed by state along with the date they were adopted.

Pre-cut fire opal gemstone.
A beautiful, pre-cut piece of fire opal -- the state gemstone of Nevada. De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images

Thirty-five of the 50 states have designated an official state gem or gemstone. Montana and Nevada have both named two (one precious and one semiprecious), while Texas has named a state gem and gemstone cut. 

Most of the gem names are linked to the picture gallery of state gemstones. The "Adoption Date" link goes to the best existing material from the respective state government or science institution.

More detail below the table. 

StateGemstoneAdoption Date
AlabamaStar blue quartz1990
AlaskaJade1968
ArizonaTurquoise1974
ArkansasDiamond1967
CaliforniaBenitoite1985
Colorado Aquamarine1971
FloridaMoonstone1970
GeorgiaQuartz1976
HawaiiBlack coral1987
IdahoStar garnet1967
KentuckyFreshwater pearl1986
LouisianaCabochon cut oyster shell2011
MaineTourmaline1971
MarylandPatuxent River stone2004
MassachusettsRhodonite1979
MichiganChlorastrolite (pumpellyite)1973
MinnesotaLake Superior agate1969
Montana 

Sapphire

Montana agate

1969

1969

NebraskaBlue agate1967
Nevada

Nevada turquoise

Virgin Valley black fire opal

1987

1987

New HampshireSmoky quartz1985
New MexicoTurquoise1967
New YorkAlmandine garnet1969
North CarolinaEmerald1973
OhioOhio flint1965
OregonOregon sunstone1987
South CarolinaAmethyst1969
South DakotaFairburn agate1966
TennesseeFreshwater pearls1979
Texas

Texas Blue topaz

Lone Star Cut (gemstone cut) 

1969

1977

UtahTopaz1969
VermontGrossular garnet1991
WashingtonPetrified wood1975
West VirginiaFossil coral Lithostrotionella1990
WyomingNephrite jade1967

 

A gemstone is not necessarily a sparkling crystal—the majority of state gemstones are not crystalline minerals, but rather colorful rocks that look their best as flat, polished cabochons (perhaps in a bolo tie, belt buckle or ring). Most are unpretentious, inexpensive stones with democratic appeal.

 

Above all else, the gems are unique to or represent their state in some fashion. Arkansas' adoption of diamond as their state gem, for example, is due to the state having the only public diamond deposit in the USA. On the other hand, Florida's state gem (moonstone) is not actually found in Florida. Instead, its adoption is a tribute to the role that the state played in the 1969 moon landing.

Of course, state legislators do not follow the same guidelines as geologists for how they classify a gem. In many cases, states have named rocks, minerals or even fossils as their gem or gemstone. 

Helpful Links

Many gems have both a gemstone name and a mineral name, cross-listed in this pair of tables. My favorite and most easily navigable site for all state symbols is statesymbolsusa.org

Be sure to check out my list of state fossils, state minerals and state rocks. You might find that the lawmakers did not necessarily follow the geologic rule book for those classifications, either. 

Edited by Brooks Mitchell