The Mississippi Opal


Only one precious gemstone has been found in the state of Mississippi. Based on the state’s geological setting, such a gem should likely not exist. However, volcanic ash deposited some 20 million years ago altered the landscape which resulted in the creation of a unique opal which Geologists with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality have named “The Mississippi Opal”. There is no rival to this stone in the state and our state’s leading Geologists through MDEQ are requesting that lawmakers give the Mississippi Opal the due distinction of being named the state’s official gemstone.


House Bill 772/Senate Bill 2138

ADVOCATES OF THIS LEGISLATION: Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s Office of Geology, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks’ Natural Science Museum, Mississippi’s entire geological community including the Mississippi Geological Society, the Mississippi State Board of Registered Professional Geologists, and the North Mississippi Gem and Mineral Society.

  • Opal is the only gemstone found in Mississippi to be considered a precious gem.
  • Precious opal was created from volcanic ash millions of years ago.
  • Opal has brilliant flashes of fire, ranging in color from green to red.

Discovering the Mississippi Opal

The Mississippi Opal was found in Claiborne County in the Catahoula Formation by MDEQ geologists in 2004 while doing routine mapping work for the State Geological Survey.

The Catahoula Formation (shown in PEACH) covers Claiborne, Copiah, Covington, Hinds, Jasper, Jones, Rankin Simpson, Smith, Warren, and Wayne Counties.