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Rist Mine (North America Emerald Mine; American Gems Mine; LKA International Emerald Mine), Hiddenite, Alexander Co., North Carolina, USA

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 35° 54' 39'' North , 81° 5' 3'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 35.91089,-81.08421
Köppen climate type:Cfa : Humid subtropical climate

A gemstone occurrence/mine located 1.2 km (0.8 mile) N of Hiddenite, on private land. Operated by Emerald Valley Mines (ID: 3101636) (1978). MRDS database stated accuracy for this location is 100 meters.

Originally known as the Rist Mine, but also known as American Gems Mine, LKA International Emerald Mine, and recently (since 1995), the North American Emerald Mine. (specimen labels may be abbreviated NAEM = North American Emerald Mine). This locality is the type location for the chromian spodumene called hiddenite named for William E. Hidden and the town is named for the variety. This location is the most important North American emerald locality.

An Alpine-cleft emerald deposit. Local rocks include biotite gneiss and schist.

Workings include unspecified surface openings.

Mineral List

33 valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

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Regional Geology

This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.

Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on

Cambrian - Neoproterozoic
485.4 - 1000 Ma

ID: 2939765
Biotite Gneiss and Schist

Age: Neoproterozoic to Cambrian (485.4 - 1000 Ma)

Description: Inequigranular, locally abundant potassic feldspar and garnet; interlayered and gradational with calc-silicate rock, sillimanite-mica schist, mica schist, and amphibolite. Contains small masses of granitic rock.

Lithology: Major:{biotite gneiss,mica schist,calc silicate rock}, Minor:{amphibolite}, Incidental:{granitic}

Reference: Horton, J.D., C.A. San Juan, and D.B. Stoeser. The State Geologic Map Compilation (SGMC) geodatabase of the conterminous United States. doi: 10.3133/ds1052. U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1052. [133]

Data and map coding provided by, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

This page contains all mineral locality references listed on This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.


Mertie, Jr., John Beaver (1959, Quartz crystal deposits of southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina. USGS Bulletin 1072-D.

USGS crib list (1981): (12/81).

Rocks & Minerals (1985): 60: 65.

Mineralogical Record (2001): 32(2): 129-140.

Wise, M.A (2003), Parageneiss of hiddenite and emerald bearing veins at the Rist Property, North Carolina, Department of Mineral Science, Smithsonian Institution.

Rocks & Minerals (2004): 79(5): 344.

Mineralogical Record (2005): 36(3): 288.

USGS (2005), Mineral Resources Data System (MRDS): U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, loc. file ID #10297202.

Wise, Michael A. and Alan J.Anderson (2006), The Emerald and Spodumene-bearing Quartz Veins of the Rist Emerald Mine, Hiddenite, North Carolina,The Canandian Mineralogist: volume: 44(6): 1529-1541.

Rocks & Minerals (2007): 82: 243.

Speer, Wade Edward (2008), Emerald Crystal Pockets of the Hiddenite District Alexander County, North Carolina: The Geological Society of America.

Wise, M. A. (2009): Chabazite in Spodumene-bearing Alpine-type Fissure Veins from Hiddenite, North Carolina, USA. Mineralogy and Petrology: 96: 213-220.

U.S. Bureau of Mines, Minerals Availability System (MAS) file #0370030002.

Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) file No. 3101636.

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