Maryland is endowed with a number of rare gems and minerals. Although not known to have a wide range of rich deposits of rare games as most of the western states, Maryland is home to a number of important gems that every gems collector would want to have.
Maryland also has an abundant variety of interesting fossils. In fact, the state is best known for its Miocene shark teeth. In addition, there have been numerous dinosaur finds in the state over the past years. Here are some of the some of the most important gems and fossils to look for in Maryland:
Patuxent River Stone
This is an important gem that you should for when in Maryland. In 2004, Maryland designated this gem as the official states gem. It is believed that Patuxent River stone is a form of a quartzite.
However, some people believe that it is an agatized dinosaur bone(although most geologist strongly disagree with this widely stated assumption). It is a fun gem that any one you should consider finding given the fact that it is quite unique. This unique stone is only found in Maryland and is quite popular among gemstone collectors. This gemstone is found along many of the rivers and in river basins throughout the state.
Beryl are important gems found in central Maryland. Beryls are hard silicate minerals that are quite valuable. The natural geography of central Maryland where beryls occur is part of the Piedmont/Appalachian region, which runs from New Hampshire, Southeastern New York, northern New Jersey, all the way to Pennsylvania.
Beryls found within the region are formed in pegmatites and granites that are in the form of a rough volcanic rock.
Maryland is a source of valuable hard shell Clam Pearl. Just like oysters, clams will also form pearls especially when grit gets inside of them. The clams act by coating the grit with their own shell material, which makes it smoother and comfortable, and thus creating a pearl.
The majority of clam pearls are of a mixture of white and purple colors. Although they are not harvested in large volumes, the clam pearls are not particularly rare but are quite valuable. The clam pearls found in Maryland are found in varying sizes and shapes.
Ecphora Quadricostate Fossils
The Ecphora quadricostate has been the official state fossil for Maryland since 1984. The Ecphora is a species of a small snail that for 12 to 5 million years ago inhabited the Chesapeake Bay of Maryland. Its first fossil was discovered in 1685 and was first illustrated in the Historiae Conchyliorum in 1770 by Martin Lister. When the scientific community changed the name of Ecphora quadricostate in 1994 to Ecophora gardnerae Gardner are the Maryland's general assembly again passed a legislation action to the effect.
Astrodon Johnston Fossil
This is Maryland's state dinosaur since 1998. This huge dinosaur lived in Maryland about 130 million to 95 million years ago. Its first fossil was discovered by Philip Tyson in 1858. Tyson discovered two dinosaur teeth in Prince George County. The tooth was dissected by dentist Johnston Christopher, who named the species Astrodons in his 1895 essay for the American Journal of Dental Science.
These huge dinosaurs weighed up to about 20 tons, had smaller heads, long tails, and necks. This means that the dinosaurs had stronger legs and where about 50 to 60 feet in length. They were herbivores and mostly feed on ferns, trees and other plants.