State Gem of Alaska - Jade
Alaska designated jade as the official state gem in 1968
Alaska has large deposits of this gemstone, including an entire mountain of jade on the Seward Peninsula which has been mined since pre-Columbian times.
The quality of Alaskan nephrite varies greatly; the finest material is usually found in smooth, stream-rolled boulders. The color of jade ranges from shades of green, yellow, red, black, white to the rarest and most valuable - lavender.
State Mineral of Alaska - Gold
Gold was officially designated the state mineral of Alaska in 1968.
Gold focused world attention on Alaska. After the California gold rush in 1848, prospectors began working north along the Rocky Mountains, eventually reaching Alaska. They found gold near Sitka in 1872 and at the present site of Juneau in 1880 – sixteen years before the famous Klondike strike.
Gold mining is still important in Alaska. To date, more than 32 million ounces of it have been mined. At today’s prices, that much gold would have been worth $12.5 billion, making it Alaska’s most valuable non-energy commodity, according to statistics compiled by the State of Alaska.
Panning for Gold
The US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have sites designated for recreational gold panning. Here is one site, check their websites for additional information and if you go - watch out for the bears!