Ohio's State Gemstone - Flint
In 1965, the Ohio General Assembly adopted flint as Ohio's official gemstone. Large quantities of this gem exist especially in the eastern and central parts of the state.
Flint, a variety of quartz, is a hard and durable mineral. American Indians, both before and after contact with European settlers, used flint to make a wide variety of tools, weapons, and ceremonial pieces. Skilled workers started with coarse pieces of flint and fashioned such implements as knives, scrapers, arrowheads, and pipes. Flint Ridge, in Licking and Muskingum Counties, was a major source of flint for Ohio's American Indians. The Hopewell people traded flint with other American Indians across the United States. Archaeologists have discovered artifacts made from Flint Ridge flint as far west as the Rocky Mountains and as far south as the Gulf of Mexico. The Ohio History Connection now operates a museum at Flint Ridge. Visitors can see excavation pits that were made many centuries ago. Early European settlers of Ohio also used flint for various objects, including millstones and rifle flints.
Today, artists use flint to make attractive pieces of jewelry. The gem's surfaces will take a high polish. Small amounts of impurities commonly give a wide variety of colors to flint. These colors include red, pink, green, blue, yellow, gray, white, and black. Some combinations of these colors in a piece of flint are considered to be very attractive and are highly prized by collectors.
- Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
- Pough, Frederick H. A Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1976.
- Sorrell, Charles A. Rocks and Minerals: Field Guide Identification. Golden Press, New York, NY: Golden Press, 1973.