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Continent's Largest Amethyst At Home In Grandfather's Nature Museum

amethystNorth America's finest amethyst is the centerpeice of Grandfather Mountain's North Carolina gemstone exhibit.

On November 4, 1972, Lester Sigmon discovered a massive amethyst crystal in the Reel Mine of Iron Station, N.C. The deep purple shade of the stone was inconsistent with the color of other amethysts discovered in the same Lincoln County location, leading Mr. Sigmon to believe that the presence of Manganese dust, thick on the mine floor, had given the crystal its remarkable color.

Two feet long, two feet wide and one foot high -- 165 pounds

The intense purple pigment of the jewel (which can be compared to sunlight through a glass of grape juice) is as remarkable a feature as its size. Two feet long, two feet wide and one foot high, at 165 pounds this is the largest amethyst ever discovered in North America.

Grandfather acquired the stone from James McKinney, Jr. of Spruce Pine, who had it on display in his custom jewelry shop for 25 years.

John White, former curator of Minerals and Gemstones for the Smithsonian, said that the crystal is definitely the finest amethyst cluster ever discovered in North America.

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