Raleigh Museum's New Research Center Gains 4 Large Emeralds
Parents and kids who like rocks-especially the expensive kind-will soon be able to view four of the largest emeralds discovered in North America at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in downtown Raleigh.
Museum officials announced Friday that the emeralds will be the centerpieces of a gem and minerals collection gifted to the museum by an anonymous donor. They will be housed in the museum's Nature Research Center, set to open April 20 in downtown Raleigh.
"We are preserving a natural treasure for the citizens of North Carolina. Finally, the people will be able to see these breathtaking emeralds that were found right here in our state, in our own state museum," museum director Dr. Betsy Bennett said in a statement. Discovered in a vein one year ago, in Alexander County, N.C., three of the emeralds are rare and brilliant uncut specimens weighing 1225 carats, 685.5 carats and 591.5 carats.
In addition, the collection includes the largest cut emerald in North America, the famed "Carolina Emperor." At 64 carats, it is four times larger than the previous largest cut emerald and is of higher quality than any other emerald ever found in North America, according to a museum press release. The gem, found in 2009, is styled after the emerald once owned by Catherine the Great of Russia.
I can't wait to see these gems with my kids, who are both rock collectors. In the past, my family has traveled to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C., to see gems of this size. Now we'll just be a few minutes away from viewing these treasures.