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State Gems: Black Fire Opal & Turquoise

Two semi-precious gems, the Black Fire Opal and Turquoise were adopted as the state gems in 1987.  The Rainbow Ridge Mine produced the Roebling Opal, weighing 2,265 carats, in 1917.  The opal was donated to the Smithsonian and is displayed there in the gem gallery.  The world's largest opal, weighing 7 pounds, was also found at the Rainbow Ridge Mine.

Turquoise is also a Nevada symbol.  The semi-precious stone, often used in jewelry, has been mined in Nevada by Native Americans since at least 1200 A.D.  Turquoise is scattered throughout the state, with prominent mining operations in Clark County, Nye County, Esmeralda County and Lander County.  Most of the Native American jewelry made in the Southwest has used turquoise mined in Nevada.

Photo Credit:
Nevada State Museum