Nephrite Jade, "the Stone of Heaven," is Alaska's state gemstone.
Mr. Stewart purchased a number of placer gold claims in Kobuk Valley in Northwestern Alaska, many of the claims were years old by the time Mr. Stewart purchased them. Indeed, they were so old, there was no gold left on the claims. But there were lots of large jade boulders. Mr. Stewart spent his summers on the claims. He constructed a large saw which slowly cut the boulders into 70 pound chunks. In those days, mail from the bush was subsidized, so Mr. Stewart was able to have the 70 pound boulders delivered to Anchorage relatively inexpensively. In Anchorage, the jade was fashioned into book-ends, clocks, jewelry, slabs, spoons and tombstones, all of which is currently on display. Oro Stewart successfully persuaded the state legislature to designate Nephrite Jade as Alaska's state gemstone.
Til this day, rough and finished jade from the mine can be purchased by the pound or ton, including jade that has been carved into pendants, copy links, bracelets, and ear rings.