Local News

NC natural history museum acquires largest emeralds in North America

Posted March 16, 2012

— Thanks to an anonymous donor, a downtown Raleigh science museum will soon be home to a rare gem and minerals collection featuring four of the largest emeralds ever found in North America.

The collection, which will be housed in the Nature Research Center in the new wing of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, is set to open Friday, April 20, and is valued at $5 million.

"This is exceptional that someone would step up and be this generous," said museum Director Betsy Bennett. "When I first saw these gems, I was speechless. Now all I can think of is, 'How amazing is this?'"

Three of the emeralds were discovered on March 16 last year on the Wren Adams property in Alexander County in western North Carolina, and weigh 1,225 carats, 685 carats and 591 carats, according to a news release from the museum.

The fourth, dubbed the Carolina Emperor, is the largest cut emerald in North America, weighing in at 64 carats. It was found in 2009, also on the Wren Adams property, and is styled after the emerald once owned by Catherine the Great of Russia.

"We are preserving a natural treasure for the citizens of North Carolina," Bennett said in the release. "Finally, the people will be able to see these breathtaking emeralds that were found right here in our state."


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  • VoiceMatters Mar 16, 2012

    Holy kamolie!

  • treeofliphe Mar 16, 2012

    Darn you 1%'ers!!!!

  • davidjkroll Mar 16, 2012

    You can now view the emeralds at the Museum's Flickr site using this shortened URL:


    Note to weasel2: If you look more closely at the first sentence of the story, you'll see that the specimens were given to the Museum by an anonymous donor. No state funds were used.

  • weasel2 Mar 16, 2012

    So thats what Bev needed the 9.3 million for!!!

  • stupidbrainchild Mar 16, 2012

    It is amazing how many emeralds you find in NC. You just have to know where and what to look for. Raw emeralds just look like a greenish dirty rocky. My uncle found a raw one weighing about 3 pounds around the Highlands area. Cut up properly would have put it at a value of $1,300. He opted to leave it as is and call it his $1,300 paper weight.

  • Southern Gal Mar 16, 2012

    Wow, $5,000,000.00 (five million dollars)... for some rocks.

  • mmtlash Mar 16, 2012

    very nice!

  • Hammerhead Mar 16, 2012

    I have no jewelery other than a gold watch that was my Dad's retirement gift, and my old class ring from 1975. But I love me some geological treasures! Gems, cool rocks, fossils, petrified wood, amber, that sort of stuff.

  • NCLivin18 Mar 16, 2012

    Just "google" Carolina Emperor, plenty of pictures of the stone.

  • If the shoe fits.... Mar 16, 2012

    Emeralds, my favorite! This is an exhibit I will drive to Raleigh to see. Let us know when the gems are available for viewing.