West Virginia Symbols
West Virginia State Gemstone or Gem
Adopted on March 10, 1990
The State Gem, so designated by House Concurrent Resolution No. 39, March 10, 1990, is technically not a gemstone, but rather the silicified Mississippian fossil coral Lithostrotionella, preserved as the siliceous mineral chalcedony. It is found in the Hillsdale Limestone in portions of Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties and is often cut and polished for jewelry and for display
This coral and many other varieties lived about 340 million years ago, during the Mississippian Period, at a time when the state was encroached on by a shallow sea. In addition to corals, this sea hosted a teeming fauna of brachiopods, trilobites, and fish.
When the coral died, it became saturated with water which contained a dissolved mineral called silica. The silica replaced the coral's decaying soft parts. In other words, the coral became silicified or mineralized. Cavities in the coral were filled with chalcedony—a variety of quartz. But it still looks like coral.
West Virginia Fossil Coral comes in several colors, including light to dark blue grey, pink, and red.
State Gemstone or Gems
State symbols represent things that are special to a particular state. One of these symbols is the State Gem. Of the 50 states, 19 have adopted a state gemstone and all have adopted some sort of earth symbol.