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Over at Penn Live, Jan Murphy has the story about Pennsylvania lawmaker Rep. Tom Mehaffie (R-Dauphin) who is pushing legislation to make amethyst the state gem.
Mehaffie says that hes was prompted to write the legislation by Ceylon Leitzel of Leitzel’s Jewlery in Meyerstown (and as of 2017, Hershey).
In Mehaffie’s letter announcing the forthcoming legislation, he explains:
Amethyst is also the focal point of the tiara used to crown the winner of the Miss Pennsylvania pageant. The crown and the Amethyst gemstones featured in it have many unique connections to the state of Pennsylvania. The crown was commissioned by the state’s organization of jewelers, the Pennsylvania Jewelers Association and hand made by a Pennsylvania jeweler. The crown is encrusted with 92 carats of Amethyst, all donated by jewelers throughout the State. The focal point of the crown’s design was inspired by the Keystone shape, paying homage to the State’s nickname. This, fittingly, inspired the placement of the 37 carat Keystone shape Amethyst gemstone at the center of the Miss Pennsylvania crown.
Miss Pennsylvania 2017, Palmyra’s Katie Schreckengast is also quoted as saying that the amethyst centerpiece was “a big talking point among people I met while wearing it. It truly is beautiful!”
Ironically, the 37 carat gem at the center of the crown is Brazilian amethyst, not Pennsylvania, but that doesn’t seem to take away from the overall effect of the 14-karat gold tiara with 214 diamonds and 92-total carats of amethyst. According to a Daily item article, the piece cost about $35,000 in gems alone.
Amethyst is a type of quartz with a purple color, considered the most valuable of its family. Likely locations to find it in Lebanon County would be the Cornwall iron mines, although Lebanon is not considered to be a prime location for this type of gem compared to Chester County.
Curious what neighboring states have as their official gemstones? Ohio is flint quartz, New Jersey’s is smoky quartz, Delaware is sillimanite, New York is garnet, and West Virginia is fossil coral (which is not technically a gemstone).