August 31st, 2010
07:00 PM ET

North Carolina emerald: Big, green and very rare

Generations of rock hounds and miners have turned the earth in western North Carolina, looking to bring a special ruby, sapphire or emerald - the "big three" of the gem world - to the light.

The passion started early for Terry Ledford, 53, who operated a gem stand on weekends when he was a kid. "I always loved rocks," said the Spruce Pine resident.

For W. Renn Adams, 90, the world of spodumenes, hiddenite and beryl runs even deeper in his blood. His Alexander County family has been digging for them since the 1880s.

The men's interests became intertwined early this decade when they became partners on the Adams family farm, which grows corn along with its treasures below.

And then came that day in August 2009 when Ledford saw what looked to be part of a 7UP bottle. It was an emerald crystal. A very big emerald crystal. Some 310 carats of it.


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Filed under: Earth • North Carolina
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. La Piovra

    Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore.

    August 31, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Author, Femi Folorunsho

    Wow!!! that's a beautiful thing.

    August 31, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. KAREN

    North carolina just wants attention... a state thats so (Broke) but continue to build tourist attractions in small towns... talking about a emrald lets talk about truth how discrimination still goes on in there small towns against race and employment and needs of more income base housing for middle class homes... thats what theu should want to talk about... And vote out Beverly Perdue bc she not doing nothing she was put in office to do.... smh politicans are an joke....

    September 1, 2010 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. jamie

    WOW !!!!!!! The most important find in western North Carolina in my lifetime so far. There are more treasures to be found. The thrill of finding the emerald must have been increadible! The time, the work, the perserverence over a lifetime! Wow, Congratulations to Terry and Renn! True American treasure hunters! To quote another famous American Treasure hunter! "Today is the Day"! Chasing their dream and Finding It! Pricless!!!!! Jamie

    September 1, 2010 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Leslie

      Sorry, but is that sarcasm? I honestly don't know what you're saying.

      October 25, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |