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Alaska State Gemstone or Gem
Adopted in 1968
Jade, Nephrite, was adopted by the Alaska Legislature in 1968 as the State Gem. Most deposits of Jade are found near the Kobuk River and Jade Mountain, also near the Dall and Shungnak rivers. This famous, remote, Arctic interior jade locality has an extensive history. Artifacts made from Kobuk River nephrite are hundreds of years old and have been found at archaeological sites along the Bering and Pacific coasts of Alaska and British Columbia, and the Arctic coast of Canada.
US Navy lieutenant, George M. Stoney discovered the Kobuk River source in 1886. This earned him the distinction of being the first non-Native to find nephrite in place in North America. From 1943 to 1945, the Alaska Territorial Department of Mines investigated the deposit in an attempt to find asbestos for the war effort. In 1945, eleven tons of jade and some 200 tons of asbestos were produced from the locality. Government geologists determined that the jade and asbestos at the locality occur in a 40-mile stretch of altered ultra basic rocks consisting mainly of serpentine that extends north of, and roughly parallel to, the Kobuk River.
The term JADE is a generic term that actually covers three minerals. They are Jadeite, Nephrite, and Chloromenlanite.
Nephrite is composed mainly of silica and magnesia, it is also dependent on its color by the amount of iron present. Nephrite is usually some shade of green: it may range from sea green, gray green, celadon, lettuce green, grassy green, and spinach green. Other colors of nephrite include blue gray, reddish gray, greenish gray, yellow, and black.
Gems, Minerals, & Rocks
State symbols represent things that are special to a particular state. Some of these symbols are the Gemstone, Minerals, Rocks. Of the 50 states, 19 have adopted a state gemstone and all have adopted some sort of earth symbol.
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