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the Latest Discoveries

North America's Premier Emerald Mine!
NAEM Emerald Mine
Hiddenite District
Hiddenite, Alexander County, North Carolina

NAEM Mine History

Previously known as the Rist mine

NAEM Inc. photos
Carolina Prince (top, 7.85 cts)
Carolina Queen (bottom, 18.8 cts)
Most valuable North American Emeralds known
Both gems were cut from same 71 carat Emerald
crystal found in 1998
Carolina Prince sold in diamond setting for $500,000!
Carolina Queen in diamond setting valued at +$2,000,000!

71 ct Emerald Crystal found in 1998 by Jamie Hill. This is the crystal that produced the two most valuable cut Emeralds in North America--the Carolina Prince and the Carolina Queen!

NAEM Inc photo
NAEM Emerald 1,869 cts found in 2003
by Jamie Hill
Largest North American Emerald known
Valued over $1 million!

c1968 Several Emeralds & other vein minerals found

1969-1982 Operated by American Gems, Inc
Open to prospectors

1969 Finger Emerald 1,438 cts found. Largest North American emerald found to date. Named the Stephenson Emerald in honor of John A. D. Stephenson, a late 19th century collector instrumental in discovery of first North Carolina emerald and the first world discovery of hiddenite

1969 Tiffany Emerald found 13.14 cts cut gem
now valued over $456,000! aka Carolina Emerald

1970 1,215 ct Emerald twin found

c1970 two +300 ct Emerald twins found

1971 817.5 ct Emerald twin found

1971 107 ct & 180 ct Emeralds found

1973 2,700 cts of Emeralds found in single vein pocket

1974 3,507 cts of Emeralds found in single vein pocket
Produced cut gems: Marie (2.685 cts) &
June Culp Zeitner (15.465 cts)

c1974 260 Emeralds (+1,000 cts) found in single ven pocket

1977 126.6 ct Emerald found

1982-1995 Operated by LKA International, Inc

1982 16.3 ct cut Emerald found; now worth $28,000

1985 1,686.3 ct LKA Emerald found
Largest North American Emerald known to date

1995-current Operated by North American Emerald Mines, Inc

1998 Aladdin's Cave found by Jamie Hill, owner of NAEM
3,300 cts of Emeralds found in 3 close spaced vein pockets. Produced uncut 858 ct Empress Caroline Emerald & the Carolina Royal Family of cut gems: Carolina Queen (18.8 cts, valued at +$2,000,000);
Carolina Prince (7.85 cts, sold for $500,000--highest price ever paid for a North American Emerald); Carolina Princess (3.37 cts); Heart of Carolina (3.4 cts); & Carolina Duchess (8.85 cts)

2002 The Twins found, 35 ct & 100 ct Emerald crystals with deep color

2003 1,869 ct Emerald crystal found
Largest North American emerald known to date

2005 387 ct Emerald crystal found

2006 591.0, 157.5, c40, 33.5, & 18 ct Emerald crystals found. At 10" long, the 591 is North America's Longest Emerald Crystal! (the previous record was the 8.5" crystal found c1882 at the Adams Farm, Hiddenite District & stolen from the American Museum of Natural History, NY in 1950 & never recovered)

Check Out
The Latest

Richard Freeman photo
1,400 cts found 30Mar07


33.5 cts & 18 cts
found 24May06!
The NAEM Emerald Mine is still in Active Production!

W.E. Speer photo
James K. Hill, Jr.
w/ 1,400 ct emerald!

W.E. Speer photo
591.0 cts found 23Aug06!
10" North America's
Longest Emerald Crystal!

NAEM photo

591.0 cts found 23Aug06!
James K. Hill, Jr.
NAEM President


NAEM Inc photo
157.5 cts found 8Mar06


W.E. Speer photo
965 ct Crystal!
found 29Dec06

W.E. Speer photo
c40 cts found 23Aug06!
Emerald w/ Muscovite

W.E. Speer photo
150 cts & 142.5 cts found 8Nov06!

James K Hill, Jr.

W.E. Speer photo

Lapidary Journal photo
722.70 cts (4.7") found in 1974

W.E. Speer photo
15 cts found 8Aug08

Lapidary Journal photo
Part of a 3,507-carat find from
a single vein pocket in 1974!

June Culp Zeitner 15.46 cts
Cut from 142.25 ct crystal found in 1974
(aka Kite Emerald) centerpiece necklace
The dark green uncut crystal is the 71 ct Emerald which produced the Carolina Prince
and the Carolina Queen (see above)

W.E. Speer photo
387 cts (2.00" x 1.18") found in 2005

American Gems Inc. postcard
Finger Emerald 1,438 cts
aka Stephenson Emerald
+30,000 cts Emerald
worth over $9,000,000
documented from this mine alone!

The Mineralogical Record photo
Emerald crystal
Wooten-Rutledge mine 1997

Lapidary Journal photo
June Culp Zeitner (largest gem) 15.46 cts
Cut from 142.25 ct crystal, same gem in necklace
pictured above

Rockhound magazine photo 1972
Michael (Butch) Finger and his 1,438 ct Emerald found in 1969; at the time, the largest emerald ever found in North America

Empress Caroline
858 cts found in 1998
LKA International, Inc photo
13.14 carat Tiffnay Emerald (aka Carolina Emerald), cut from 59 ct crystal found by Wayne Anthony in 1969. Considered one of the finest cut emeralds in existance. Valued at $100,000 in 1970 ($456,000 in 2005 dollars)

LKA International, Inc photo
Left: 1,438 ct Finger Emerald (aka Stephenson Emerald) found 1969 at Rist mine, largest North American emerald to that date
Right: 1,686 ct LKA Emerald found 1985, largest North American emerald to that date
NAEM Inc. photo
Rockhound Magazine photo 1972
Warren Baltzley holds the 1,438 ct Finger Emerald and the 59 ct Carolina Emerald from which the 13.14 ct Tiffney Emerald
was cut

World renown emerald designer Marcial de Gomar
Heart of Carolina Emerald
3.40 ct; found 1998


Rockhound Magazine photo
Warren Baltzley's 6 1/8" x 1/2" 250 ct Emerald Crystal found in 1969

Rockhound Magazine photo 1972
300 ct & 350 ct Emerald twins found by Jerry Ropbinson in 1970

Natural Science Center of Greensboro, NC
Lewis Ormand Twin
emerald xl 3.5" x 9/16"; found 1969
Complex Emerald twin penetrating goethite pseudomorph after siderite

The Mineralogical Record photo
3.3" Emerald crystal Wooten-Rutledge mine 1997


W.E. Speer photo
100 cts found 2004

American Gems Inc. postcard
Some of the emerads found by American Gems, Inc
W.E. Speer photo
James K. Hill, Jr., founder of North American Emerald Mines Inc., holds 387 ct Emerald crystal found in 2005

W.E. Speer photo
The June Culp Zeitner emerald (15.47 cts) is set in an 18k gold and diamond necklace with matching ring and ear rings. The Zeitner was cut perpendicular to the long (c) axis from the dark-green end termination of the original crystal and the outer edges of the faceted gemstone mimic the edges of the natural crystal. The necklace contains fourteen 3mm diamonds and fifty-two 1-cm-diameter gold lace disks. The ring & each ear ring contain an approximately 2.2 ct emerald and six 3mm diamonds. All of the emeralds were found on the NAEM property in 1974.      
North American Emerald Mines Pit W.E. Speer photos
Emerald Bearing Quartz Veins in NAEM Pit W.E. Speer photos

8Jun10 Quartz Vein & Pocket

Vein & Quartz Crystals

Soccor ball size Quart Crystals!


Mineralds from Emerald bearing Quartz Veins in NAEM Pit W.E. Speer photos


Please note that all of the emerald mine properties in North Carolina are privately owned and potential visitors should arrange permission before arriving on the property. The NAEM mine at Hiddenite is NOT open to the public. Only two mines are open to the public for mineral collecting:
1) The Crabtree Emerald Mine near Little Switzerland, NC
2) The
Emerald Hollow Mine at Hiddenite, NC

For information on other mineral collecting sites in North Carolina, see: and

            This web site is constantly under construction
If you have any corrections or additions, please contact
Ed Speer at