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Terry Ledford
(1956-2014)

Terry Lee Ledford, well-known Spruce Pine, North Carolina specimen miner and mineral dealer, was born in Mitchell County, North Carolina, on September 26, 1956, the son of Lora Aldridge and Ted Ledford, a mica miner and rock shop owner in Spruce Pine.

Terry had a life-long love of minerals; when he was a boy he used to operate a roadside gem stand on weekends. Under the name of Mountain Gems Gemshop he began selling minerals from his motel room at major shows in the 1990s, dealing in specimens from Graves Mountain, Georgia and Hiddenite, North Carolina, where beginning in 2001 he partnered with Renn Adams in mining for emeralds and the hiddenite variety of spodumene on the Adams Tract.

Beginning in 2005, Terry and Rodney Moore mined many superb specimens of amethyst from their property at Jacksons Crossroads, Wilkes County, Georgia and sold them at the Tucson Show. Terry made history in 2009 when he discovered the largest gem emerald crystal ever found in the United States, in Hiddenite, North Carolina; it weighed 310 carats and the 64.8-carat gem that was later cut from it was named the "Carolina Emperor"; it was purchased and donated anonymously to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science.

Terry was killed on September 17, 2014, when a 25-foot wall of dirt in an excavation where he was mining for emeralds collapsed on top of him.

References:
WILSON, W. E. (2014) Died, Terry Ledford, 56. Mineralogical Record, 45 (6), 612.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Terry Ledford Terry Ledford autographing his chapter on the Jacksons Crossroads amethyst deposit in the American Mineral Treasures book (2008).
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