Hiddenite, NC


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Hiddenite is an unincorporated community in east-central Alexander County, North Carolina. It is part of the Hickory–Lenoir–Morganton Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town of Hiddenite was incorporated in 1913, but its charter was repealed in 1919. Hiddenite was named for William Earl Hidden (1853–1918), a mineralogist sent to North Carolina by Thomas Edison to look for platinum. Hidden discovered the gem that came to be known as "hiddenite" in 1879 in mines nearby. Hiddenite is a variety of spodumene and is the only precious gemstone that cannot be synthesized[citation needed]. Until recently it was found only in Alexander County, North Carolina, but in recent decades it has been subsequently found in Madagascar and Brazil. The area around Hiddenite also yields emeralds, sapphires, and many other precious stones. Sluicing and digging for precious gems is a popular recreational activity that draws many visitors to the area.
Prior to the arrival of W.E. Hidden, the community was known as White Plains; this is how the area appears on a map of 1871. Hiddenite was once noted as a health resort because of its sulfur springs.
Hiddenite's altitude is 1,140 feet (347 m) above sea level. The community is also a poultry producer. Native and life-long resident Raeford A. Thomas is generally considered to be the unofficial "mayor" of Hiddenite.