Most months, I try to write about the gemstone or gemstones associated with that particular month, depending, of course, on whether or not I have any of those gemstones to show in photographs. The matching up of gemstones and months was first officially published in 1912 by the American National Jewellers Association, although there have been unofficial lists and historic matchings of gemstones undertaken earlier. Recently, I began to wonder if there was a similar list that matched countries and gemstones, a National Gemstone list, and I started to look. Well, I can tell you that no such list appears to exist.
I thought I had found it when I came across the Global Heritage Stone Resource (GHSR ). In 2008, a proposal was considered by the International Geological Congress to create a national register to recognise not only stones used in building or construction, but also stones of historical importance such as millstones as well as ornamental stones. As at 2019, the GHSR contains 22 stones, such as Carrara marble (Italy), Portland stone (UK) and Lioz stone (Portugual). However, gemstones are not included in this national register.
The problem with identifying a national gemstone is that I needed to find an official statement or determination that confirmed the status of the gem and that proved very difficult. There are lists of official national emblems and symbols but most do not contain gemstones. There are also a number of stones claimed as national gemstones. For instance, there are claims that Cairngorm, a form of smoky quartz, is the official gemstone of Scotland, or that the pearl is the national gemstone of France but I couldn’t found any official statements to this effect. Connemara marble is said to be the national gemstone of Ireland but again, I couldn’t find any official proclamation of this.
I found only three officially recognised gemstones. The opal and the pearl and the blue sapphire. On 27 July 1993, the Australian Governor General issued a proclamation that the opal was Australia’s national gemstone and on 15 October 1996, Proclamation No 905 declared that the Philippine Pearl, known as South Sea Pearl, was to be the national gemstone of the Philippines. Sri Lanka officially proclaimed the blue sapphire as its national gemstone on 2 October 2003. There is also a gemstone recognised by a national organisation. In September 2016, Itoigawa jadeite was chosen as Japan’s national stone by the Japan Association of Mineralogical Sciences.
Interestingly, a number of the Australian states have formally recognised gemstones as state emblems. The black opal is also a recognised emblem for the state of New South Wales, while the state of South Australia recognised all forms of the opal. Queensland’s gemstone is the sapphire.
Thirty five US states have officially recognised gemstones as national emblems and one has recognised a gem cut. Minerals and rocks have also been recognised by many states. Five Canadian provinces have nationally recognised gemstones.
I am sure that there are more officially recognised national gemstones out there so please tell me if you know of any and give me the details of when it was proclaimed a national gemstone.