HIDDENITE - William Earl Hidden is one of the rare Americans who can say that a mineral and a town are named after him. Hidden was a mineralogist from New York State. Thomas Edison recruited Hidden to travel to North Carolina in search of an alternative to tungsten within light bulbs. Instead, he found a gem that bears his name.
In 1879, Hidden, while prospecting for platinum, came across a pale emerald-green mineral. After review by various chemists and mineralogists, it was determined that it was indeed a new mineral - named 'hiddenite' in Hidden's honor. For nearly a century, the hiddenite gem was found solely in Alexander County; however, the mineral has recently been mined in Africa, Brazil, and China.
|The Hiddenite Center Educational Complex promotes local artists and craftsmen.
When Hidden discovered his gem, he made the discovery near what was known as the town of White Plains. As a result of his discovery and the notoriety it gave to the area, White Plains was renamed Hiddenite in his honor. The town was incorporated in 1913, but six years later, revoked its charter.
Today, hiddenite can still be found in Hiddenite. The Emerald Hollow Mine is located just north of Hiddenite and is the only emerald mine open for public prospecting.
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