5 Things to Know About … American Gems
1. Tourmaline started it all.
According to the USGS, tourmaline was the first gemstone mined in the United States by miners other than prehistoric man or Native Americans.
2. The reign of sapphires carries over.
Mirroring the story in the international colored gemstone sector, sapphires seem to be taking the top spot in the domestic gem market, as interest increases in Montana and the corundum its mines are producing.
3. A quarter of the states produce the majority of the gemstones in the country.
In decreasing order of production value, Idaho, Arizona, Oregon, California, Montana, Arkansas, Maine, Colorado, North Carolina, Nevada, Texas and Utah produced 90 percent of the U.S.’s natural gemstones last year, the USGS said.
4. Demand might be up, but production is a different issue.
While interest in American gems might be growing, it remains to be seen if supply will be able to keep up, if the numbers from the USGS are any indication.
5. There’s a small, but growing, movement in domestic commercial cutting.
Americut Gems opened in New Brunswick, N.J., last year to become what it says is the first U.S.-based factory that uses state-of-the art robotic cutting technology to produce precision-cut gemstones.