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Fossil Coral

West Virginia State Gem

Fossil coral Lithostrotionella; alive during the Mississippian Period (about 350 - ­325 million years ago). Photo by Wampa-One on Flickr (all rights reserved; used by permission).

Official State Gem of West Virginia

West Virginia fossil coral was designated the official state gem of West Virginia in 1990. All State Gems - All State Fossils

Fossil coral is not technically a gemstone, but rather the silicified Mississippian fossil coral Lithostrotionella, preserved as the siliceous mineral chalcedony (chalcedony is found in Hillsdale Limestone in portions of Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties of West Virginia). Chalcedony is often cut and polished for jewelry display.

Lithostrotionella coral lived in the warm, shallow waters covering much of North America during the Mississippian Period - about 350 - ­325 million years ago.