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Idaho - A Gem of a State

Posted by Maryanne Fender on

 

The star garnet was designated the official state gem of Idaho.  Rarer than star sapphire, the Idaho garnet is usually dark purple with four rays in the star.  The asterism is caused by rutile inclusion. 

You can dig, for a fee, at the Emerald Creek area in the Panhandle National Forest.  The area is currently closed due to Covid-19 but should open again soon.

Collect Star Garnets in Idaho

Forest Service Emerald Creek Area

Idaho is called the Gem State for good reasons and hobby collecting is encouraged.   The Idaho Department of Lands provides a Bonanza of Rockhounding locations:

Rockhounding Idaho

 

Idaho is also acclaimed for its state fossil the Hagerman Horse.   Did you know that horses evolved in North America? The Hagerman horse, Equus simplicidens, is the first true one-toed horse. It's the park's most famous fossil, but there are also fossils from over two hundred other species too!.  From the saber-toothed cat, mastodon, bear, camel, and ground sloth, to smaller animals like rodents and frogs, the scientific study of Pliocene fossils is the key to Hagerman.

If you can’t get to Idaho to visit the fossil beds: Hagerman Fossil Beds then the state of Idaho provides a virtual exhibit.  Hagerman Virtual Exhibit