Virginia State is situated on the east coast of the United States and has an extended Atlantic coastline that includes the Chesapeake Bay at one end and the Appalachian Mountains on the other. A number of gemstones and minerals can be found in the state. The most popular minerals in Virginia are listed in succeeding paragraphs.
Quartz in Virginia occurs in metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rock formations. The most popular one is the Blue Quartz which can be found in the region around the Piedmont Mountains and the Blue Ridge complex situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains which lies between Loudoun and Grayson Counties.
Quartz in the form of amethyst can be found in Charlotte County, Amelia County and Prince Edward County.
The metamorphic rocks present in the regions of the Piedmont and the Blue Ridge Mountains are a source for reddish brown garnets in Virginia.
Amazonite is a type of microcline feldspar which forms in igneous rocks called pegmatites. The mineral is generally used as a gemstone and is found in green and greenish - blue colors owing to the presence of lead. The mineral is mined in Amelia County of Virginia in the Rutherford and Morefield mines.
Feldspar is a commonly occurring mineral in Virginia in the igneous and metamorphic rocks. Feldspar is generally found in a milky white hue and might show some other colors due to the presence of other minerals. Central Virginia has many locations where the mineral is mined especially in the Blue Ridge and the Piedmont Province.
Kyanite is a pale blue colored mineral which is normally found in metamorphic rock structures. It is occasionally found with pyrite and sometimes with quartz. Kyanite is extensively used in the refractory and ceramic industry. The Kyanite Mining Corporation is the largest producer of Kyanite in the world and owns mines and processing plants at East Ridge in Willis Mountain. Another facility is located near Dillwyn in Buckingham County. The mineral is also found in Piedmont Mountains in Carroll County and Baker Mountain in Prince Edward County. Kyanite with pyrite has been found in Cullen in Charlotte County.
Apart from the commercial uses, kyanite produces nice crystals that are popular with collectors.
Staurolite is a brownish black mineral found in crystalline form in metamorphic rocks. The mineral is also locally referred to as fairy stones, which naturally have formations that look like crosses. They are quite interesting minerals that are fun to collect.
The best known place to look for fairy stones is at Fairy Stone State Park. Here you can collect the mineral right on this surface of the ground and they are quite abundant.
It can be found in Bassette in Henry County and also at a few places in Patrick County. It is used in the geological field to assess the temperature and pressure conditions of rock formation.
Hematite is basically iron oxide and is generally found in red, brown, gray, rust and silver colors. The mineral is the primary ore for extraction of iron and is also used in its crystalline form for making jewelry. Although the mineral is not found in the state of Virginia in quantities large enough for extraction as an iron ore, but it has been mined for ornamental and jewelry purposes.
The mineral is found in Peters Mountain in Alleghany County. The Bath and Highland counties of Virginia have also seen occurrences of hematite.
Mica appears as thin flaky crystal sheets and is found in rocks such as metamorphic, sedimentary as well as igneous. The Blue Ridge Mountain area and the Piedmont Mountain area in Virginia are known to have mica deposits.
Chesapecten Jeffersonius Fossil
This is the official state fossil of Virginia.. It has been named after Thomas Jefferson who was the President of The United States because of his great interest of such historical objects. These species belonged to the scallops that existed around three to eight million years ago and had nine to twelve ribs with a rounded shell. These fossils can be found in the streams flowing through the valleys and on the river shores of Southeast Virginia.