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
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.
WILSON, W. E. (2014) Died, Terry Ledford, 56. Mineralogical Record, 45 (6), 612.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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||Terry Ledford autographing his chapter on the Jacksons Crossroads amethyst deposit in the American Mineral Treasures book (2008).|