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Gemstone History: The Early Americans Part 1

Posted on December 22 2015

At the young age of 23 years old, George Frederick Kunz became vice president of Tiffany and Co. The year was 1879 and the place was New York City. Kunz may have been young and new to the industry, but he already possessed such a vast knowledge and passion for minerals and gemstones that his career was catapulted past that of many of his peers. Completely self-educated, he had already garnered a collection of over four thousand minerals by his teen years. (Voynick) His studies and discoveries greatly contributed to our modern knowledge of the beauty and the history of these precious little stones, born out of the earth.

George Frederick Kunz

(George Frederick Kunz)

Gemstones have been utilized in many facets of American life, dating back for centuries. Whether it was for protection in this life or the next, their powers were highly regarded across a myriad of different cultures and belief-systems. In 1890, Kunz wrote in his book Gems and Precious Stones of North America, “It is known that the Indians worked the turquoise mines of New Mexico more than two centuries ago; that they made arrow and spear points of rock crystal, smoky quartz, agatized and opalized woods, agates, jaspers, and obsidian, and buried crystals of quartz with their dead.”


(Late Archaic Spearheads)

Though we may not need the exact same kind of protections in 2015 as the original Americans did centuries ago, we have found renewed ways to enjoy and cherish our precious gems and stones in our modern day lives. The green crystal quartz necklace pictured below is primarily a decorative piece for women, but also contains energies that work beyond the merely ornamental sphere.

Green crystal quartz necklace

The energy in green quartz is aligned with the heart chakra by opening and stabilizing it. For those creative minds out there on the constant search for inspiration, it is green quartz that transmutes negative energy, balances the endocrine system, while simultaneously inspiring creativity. Quartz crystals in general are the most powerful of the healing stones and amplify more energy than any others. (Hall)

1. Voynick, Stephen M. (1985). Yogo: The Great American Sapphire (March 1995 printing, 1987 ed.). Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing. pp. 3–4
2. Kunz, George Frederick. Gems and Precious Stones of North America; a Popular Description of Their Occurrence, Value, History, Archaeology, and of the Collections in Which They Exist. Also a Chapter on Pearls and on Remarkable Foreign Gems Owned in the United States. New York: Scientific, 1890. Print. (pp. 8)
3. Hall, J. and Gallagher, A. M. (2003) The crystal bible: A definitive guide to crystals. United States: Writer’s Digest Books. Inline citations: (Hall and Gallagher, 2003, pp. 225 – 226)


WBrittany Curran Writer Blogger Actorritten by Brittany Curran for Cheryl Saban Designs
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