Experts: N.C. emerald largest in U.S.

Aug. 27, 2010 at 9:10 PM
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HIDDENITE, N.C., Aug. 27 (UPI) -- Experts said a 64-carat emerald discovered by a gem miner in North Carolina is the largest cut emerald ever found in the United States.

Terry Ledford, 53, who dug up the gem in August 2009 in Hiddenite, said the rock -- 310 carats uncut -- "looked like an empty 7 Up bottle" when he discovered it, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported Friday.

Ledford, who named the stone The Carolina Emperor, said he expects selling the emerald to be "completely life-changing."

C.R. "Cap" Beesley, a New York gemologist, said Ledford is likely correct, as the emerald is "by far the largest cut gem ever recovered from North America and North Carolina." He said an emerald of similar size sold for $1.6 million earlier this year.

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