Mason County News
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Mason is a Special "Gem"
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 • Posted March 21, 2012

Mason has a special quality that it may not be aware of. It is unique among counties in Texas. Mason is the only place in Texas where the state gem is found. Our topaz was designated the Texas state gem in 1969, and the Lone Star cut was designated the state cut in 1979. However, Mason County is the only place in Texas where topaz is found. Texans love our topaz, and have been coming here for 50 years to hunt for it, and buy our gems.Texans, and some other smart Americans, have treasured our topaz for many, many years. Rockhounders, geologists, gemologists, and gem faceters all have a special place in their hearts for our topaz. This is a special place to them. It is a treat to visit this place, with its unique geology.Our special resource created a skill for a few plucky residents. Gem cutters, or faceters, are rare in the general population. To have a tiny community with cutters in it for over 40 years is amazing. For a long time this town had three gem cutters, which has to be unique in the entire United States. Tom Zayko, Wibby Shearer, and Herbert Goff supplied the state with locally cut topaz for many years. Each of these men no longer cut gems, and Mr. Zayko and Shearer have passed away, but their influence was felt for many years. They helped make this little town special and unique.We still have a local gem faceter. Diane Eames, a professional fine jeweler, moved to Mason following family. As a Graduate Gemologist, her primary skill was gem and jewelry appraising. However, there is not much appraisal work in the Hill Country, as there is not much population. She saw the coming need for another gem cutter to be in place to continue the tradition of a local cutter, and added that skill to her toolkit. We now will have a local gem cutter for many years to come.Saturday, March 24, will exhibit how much the state loves our unique resource, as hundreds of rockhounders, gem cutters, gem dealers, gemologists and geologists descend on us for Texas Topaz Day. Join them at Gems of the Hill Country, and see gem cutting at work, and examples of our topaz cut into many gems.

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