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May-June 2010

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“Real” Hiddenite and Real Names

Central to the history of North Carolina geology and mineral production is the regional tradition that the mineral hiddenite is limited only to the vicinity of the town of Hiddenite, in Alexander County (figs. 2 and 3). The story is bolstered by some authoritative references (O'Donoghue 2006). Hiddenite is commonly considered to be gem-quality spodumene, with its green color resulting from the presence of chromium. Discussions can turn quite heated over the questions, “How green does it have to be to be called hiddenite?” and “Is hiddenite found anywhere else in the world?”

Dr. R. Chris Tacker, a mineralogist and geochemist, has been the curator of geology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences since 1996.

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