The B1G List: Ranking the State Gemstones/Rocks of the Big Ten

By Johnny Ginter on July 15, 2013 at 4:00p
31 Comments
The B1G List: Ranking the State Gemstones/Rocks of the Big Ten

Rocks. And gemstones!

Doing these lists have really got me thinking about the motivation for various official state whatevers. Like, on a certain level, most of them make sense. A state bird, sure. State animal, okay. State fish should be a given (LOOKING AT YOU, BUCKEYE STATE). And really, what kind of state doesn't have some sort of official drink or broth that lets outsiders know what kind of swill we like to chug to cleanse our palates?

An official state rock or gemstone kind of baffles me, though. Rocks are pretty cool, I guess, and gemstones are probably valuable, but I think at this point in the summer we're getting to the point where a governor had a five year old kid that they were trying to humor for a week.

With that said, it is kind of interesting how specific certain rocks and gemstones can be to a state. There are one or two states that have picked notable exceptions, which I will be mocking mercilessly, but for the most part the selections make sense. And as always, if a state has multiple rocks/gemstones/beads mistaken for rocks, I'll just pick whichever one I like better.

11./10. Pennsylvania and New Jersey- NONE

Way to go, Pennsylvania. You are literally the Keystone State and you can't come up with a stone to represent your state. How about a keystone? That might fit the bill, I dunno, just spitballing here. No it doesn't refer to a specific type of rock, but would anyone really care? Probably not.

New Jersey gets a pass because I feel like just being New Jersey is enough to worry about in general.

9. Indiana- Salem Limestone

Word? Limestone? You mean the rock that makes up literally 10% of all sedimentary rocks ON THE PLANET?? No, that's perfect for you, Indiana. You picked the most boring, common rock in the world. It's kismet.

Oh but noooo, this is SALEM limestone, the best limestone ever! As Wikipedia notes, "New Yankee Stadium in The Bronx, New York, opened in 2009, extensively uses Indiana limestone paneling on its exterior facade." Wow! "Extensively uses?!" "Paneling?!!" "Exterior facade????"

Great. Amazing.

8. Iowa- Quartz Geode

"Well, okay Iowa, mom said that if you were well behaved and did your chores that we'd get you something at the Children's Muesum, so go ahead and pick something out. And it has to be under 15 dollars. And nothing sticky. And make sure that your sister can play with it, too.

What, a geode? How much is it? $7.95? Perfect, ask that nice lady at the counter if she can ring you up and we'll have a nice new state gemstone when we get back home"

EPILOGUE, 6 DAYS LATER

Iowa lost its geode because they're dumb and he got bored with it.

don't touch me, you might cut yourselfDang those are cool!

7. Illinois- Fluorite

A key component in hydrogen fluoride (duh), fluorite is otherwise a pretty non-remarkable stone with no really special properties or anything. Which leads me to believe that the selection of fluorite is really a thinly veiled threat from the state of Illinois that they will attack you with acid. Acid made from fluorite.

6. Wisconsin- Galena

Shiny poop. NEXT.

5. Nebraska- Prairie Agate

We have not moved on to the agate part of our competition, where individual states attempt to be special unique snowflakes by making a local agate their state gemstone. Cool on them, I guess, except for the fact that the agate comes in just ahead of "boring geode" in the Children's Museum giftshop sweepstakes.

Anyway, Nebraska went with the prairie agate, which is appropriate because Nebraska is basically just a giant, boring prairie and the prairie agate is a boring gemstone.

4. Maryland- Patuxent River Agate

Google image search "Patuxent River Agate." It's okay, I'll still be here when you get back.

3. Minnesota- Lake Superior Agate

Have fun? Okay, now that you've done that, look at this image.

THEY ARE SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT! But that's basically it. You reach into some water. You grab a handful of stones. You polish some of them, maybe, and then you sell them to kids by the pound. Or, if you're particularly enterprising, you go whole hog and sell a rock polisher instead and kids can make their own. I'm not sure why I'm so angry at the commercial agate industry today, but let's be honest here: they pale in comparison to the authentic freeze dried Braxton Miller ice cream we'll soon be selling in the 11W Dry Goods store. Just saying.

2. Michigan- Chlorastrolite

Okay, maybe it's time to give Michigan some props. This is a solid gemstone. Unique to the UP, it's basically useless but does look like a turtle shell, so in that sense I think it wins. There's a specimen in the Smithsonian that is 1.5 inches by 3 inches, and that makes it one of the larger ones ever found. So, to recap: small, cool looking, impossible to find, localized in a very specific area. Not bad. Not bad at all.

1. Ohio- FLint

Of course, everything on this list pales in comparison to flint. Useful, sharp, cool as hell when polished, it's pretty much the perfect choice for a state rock or gemstone.

Flint plays a huge part in the history of Ohio, dating back to the time when Buckeye natives fashioned them into the tips of their spears, as they forced Michigan fans out of Toledo in the early 1800s as they sought asylum from the horrors of southern Michigan. Luckily it worked, and today flint is recognized as both an impressive state symbol and one of the cooler names that you can give your child (boy or girl).


And that will do it! Next time we will take a look at state quarters, because as was suggested, that is certainly a field ripe for mockery. Thanks to CPLUNK for the ideas, and he was right: it was time to take these lists financial. So give him some dap, and see you next time.

The B1G List: State Birds | State Mottos | State FlowersState Songs | State Fossils | State Flags | TV Shows | State Trees | State Capitals | State Fish | Highest Points

31 Comments

Comments

Johnny Ginter's picture

okay, i tried to work this into the post, but if you want to watch a 25 minute video of a kid looking for maryland's state stone (which he calls embarrassing, I AGREE), here you go:

also note that he says that the patuxent river stone is NOT an agate, which wikipedia disagrees with, but hell I dunno. this kid seems pretty on the ball.

harleymanjax's picture

BREAKING NEWS............That kid just signed on to star in The 40 Year Old Virgin Part 2!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

Johnny Ginter's picture

don't be mean, he's a kid with a passion, dang.

boojtastic's picture

CURSE YOU, AGATE-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

harleymanjax's picture

I asked you to rank the B1G's hottest chearleaders and you give me this?
DAMN YOU JOHNNY......DAMN YOU TO HELL!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

Johnny Ginter's picture

i actually want to do this

but you know, be careful what you wish for...

Earle's picture

Flint:  the Ohio State Gemstone.  If the other B1G states don't like it, we will use it to burn their states down. 

Italics are for emphasis.

cajunbuckeye's picture

We're number 1! We're number 1!

An angry fan...rooting for an angry team...led by angry coaches

Denny's picture

A key component in hydrogen fluoride (duh), fluorite is otherwise a pretty non-remarkable stone with no really special properties or anything. Which leads me to believe that the selection of fluorite is really a thinly veiled threat from the state of Illinois that they will attack you with acid. Acid made from fluorite.

Glad you're not a science teacher, Ginter.

Taquitos.

Johnny Ginter's picture

im pretty sure that is 100% scientrifically accural

Doc's picture

Hydrogen Fluoride. Isn't that the stuff Walt and Jesse dissolve all of their bodies in?

"Say my name."

Earle's picture

Wait--and I put that stuff on my teeth??

Italics are for emphasis.

Doc's picture

Earle you are thinking of potassium fluoride or even sodium fluoride. 

"Say my name."

Earle's picture

Thanks, Doc. I knew there was a reason that I dropped out of ChemE. That, and the giant beaker of potassium permanganate that I accidentally sprayed all over the chem lab.

Italics are for emphasis.

Idaho Helga's picture

Somebody here has to have a .gif of my man, Beaker, from the Muppets!

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

Walter and Jesse use hydrofluoric acid (HF); i.e. hydrogen fluoride dissolved in water.  I have to use it for etching niobium.  It is not fun stuff as it can make your bones brittle and cause cardiac arrest just by getting it on your skin.

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!

BuckeyeSki's picture


But which one's let you travel back in time???!!!

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

James F's picture

I had never heard that Flint was the official rock of Ohio.  I think thats pretty badass.

LadyBuck's picture

Flint is a girls best friend.... No? That didn't work? Hmm... At least I use it to play with fire.

Hovenaut's picture

This article, uh, rocks.

You're a real, uh, gem, Johnny.

(Not sure where I put that sarcasm font....)

I am not the Last Dragon, therefore I do not possess the power of the Glow.

captain obvious's picture

Don't know Ohio's state rock but the state tree makes me believe it is a stone(d)
cmon Football season
 
 

I'm a friend of thunder is it any wonder lightning strikes me

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Flint Rules!! Go Bucks!!

Idaho Helga's picture

What a great topic for me, someone who lives in "the Gem State"*.  We are pretty mineral rich here (my son works for a silver mint).  
Gotta brag, I think Idaho has the coolest state gem there is. 
http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/Idaho/nickname.html
If you haven't been to Flint Ridge state park near Newark, OH it's worth the trip.  You at times are walking all over flint rock on a trail that Indians from over 150 miles away came to and used to harvest and trade.   The huge (overgrown now, but still  cool) pits the Indians dug are impressive.  Not too far from there is Dawes Arboretum so you can make it a fun package outing.
 
*A few years ago the PC governor here got Idaho changed from "the Gem State" to the "The Human Rights State".  Since mining and timber were THE economy here for like, 100 years, and are still strong, this has not gone over well.  There are bumper stickers that say "Idaho: the GEM state".

bukyze's picture

Flint plays a huge part in the history of Ohio, dating back to the time when Buckeye natives fashioned them into the tips of their spears, as they forced Michigan fans out of Toledo in the early 1800s as they sought asylum from the horrors of southern Michigan

 
I think flint probably also made an excellent shank against our northern neighbors, drastically reducing their population.
 
Flint is also so badass, that they had to go ahead and name one of their cities after it.  Jealous bastards!

harleymanjax's picture


Another idea for the next B1G list!................lol
 
 

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

harleymanjax's picture

3 downvotes for the Maryland official sex position?
COME ON MAN!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

painterlad's picture

Our flint is way better than the one Michigan has, because our flint doesn't come with a high crime rate and crushing unemployment.

To err is human. Really sucking requires having yellow stripes on your helmet.

RBuck's picture

"It's just another case of there you are". ~ Doc (1918-2012)

Michibuck's picture

Great read, Johnny.

741's picture

Okay, this has officially taken the "Ranking of B1G State [Insert Random Subject Here]" theme too far. Is it football season yet?

bukyze's picture

Keep 'em coming, Johnny.  I love the stuff!