By Annie Flanzraich
Nevada may be known as the Silver State. Still, along with all those precious minerals, there are also precious stones hiding in its austere earth.
“Most of the gemstones are agates and jaspers and turquoise,” says Webb Varnum of The Reno Gem and Mineral Society. “All of them can be found in Northern Nevada.” renorockhounds.com
Varnum, a geologist and a graduate of the University of Nevada Reno’s Mackay School of Mining, has spent his life rockhounding through the west coast, including California, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and Mexico. In addition to agates, jasper and turquoise, he also highlighted some less common stones, including dark red garnets from Ely, crystal beryl from Pershing County, and smooth dumortierite. Nevada’s state precious gemstone, the Black Fire Opal, comes from the Virgin Valley in Northern Nevada. It’s the only place in North America where the stone can be found in any significant quantity.