Ohio's State Gemstone - Flint

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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. Native Americans, both prehistoric and historic, 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 Indians. The Hopewell people traded flint with other Native Americans 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 Historical Society 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.

See Also

References

  1. Hurt, R. Douglas. The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720-1830. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1996.
  2. Pough, Frederick H. A Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1976.
  3. Sorrell, Charles A. Rocks and Minerals: Field Guide Identification. Golden Press, New York, NY: Golden Press, 1973.