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Hiddenite is a variety of spodumene mineral which is mostly associated with pink mineral kunzite. Hiddenite varies in color from almost clear light-green to yellow-green, to green-yellow, and to emerald-green. The first specimens of the hiddenite were recovered about 1879 near the tiny settlement of White Plains in Alexander County, North Carolina. As the legend says, a young man named Lackey brought the samples of hiddenite to the attention of J.A.D. Stephenson, a local merchant who was also a collector of minerals.
Initially, the yellowish to greenish-yellow hiddenites were thought to be gemmy diopside. Stephenson showed the discovery to exploration geologist William Earl Hidden, who had been commissioned by Thomas Edison to search for any sources of platinum in North Carolina. Hidden sent the odd green crystals to J.L. Smith, a prominent mineralogist. Smith correctly identified the specimens as being a variety of spodumene, and named them "hiddenite" in honor of Hidden.
The mining area of North Carolina, USA, where hiddenite was discovered, has been named Hiddenite after the gem. Because of its vivid green color, hiddenite was also referred to as the "lithia emerald" when mining of it reached its peak in the 1800s. Strictly speaking, hiddenite comes from only one locality in the world in North Carolina. However, as newer deposits of green spodumene have been discovered in Afghanistan and Brazil, this term has been applied to all forms of transparent green spodumene worldwide.
Hiddenite is popular with collectors and museums. I has perfect cleavage and is difficult to cut. Hiddenite is ideal for rings, necklaces, bracelets and pendants. It can be fashioned into almost any shape. Hiddenite makes attractive faceted gemstones (usually emerald cut - also known as step cut), cabochons or sperical beads. As with diamond, hiddenite should be protected from hard knocks by protected settings in rings for daily wear.