The Largest Emerald Crystal Ever Discovered in North America

Courtesy of Museum of Natural Science in Houston, TX

The “crown jewel”, a 1,869-carat natural emerald crystal, the largest ever discovered in North America.

Known as the “North American Emerald Mine” (NAEM), the elongated hexagonal emerald crystal was discovered in 2003. A carat should not be confused with its homophone, carrot.

Though the ancients could have very well settled for baby carrots as a standard weight measurement, they decided that the carob seed (literally “small horn”) was the best way to measure tiny, precious items due to its unusually low mass variability.

In 1907 at the Fourth General Conference on Weights and Measures, a carat was defined as being equivalent to 200mg (0.2 grams).

The crystal has a dark green color and a length of 19.5 cm. The crystal surface appears to be etched, and not smooth and brilliant like other emerald crystals.

Apparently, this seems to be an uncanny feature present in most emeralds extracted from the same mine, as first described more than a century ago in “Gems in North Carolina” written by George Frederick Kunz, a famous American mineralogist.

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