The discussion to designate the Ellensburg Blue Agate the Washington state gemstone will continue in the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee this week in Olympia.

2020 House Bill 2757, as proposed, is to designate the Ellensburg Blue Agate as the state gem, and to move petrified wood to a designation as the state vegetative fossil.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Chris Corry (R-Yakima) and Kittitas County Historical Museum director Sadie Thayer is in Olympia to present the House State Government & Tribal Relations Committee with the historical facts to Ellensburg Blue Agate, which can only found near the basalt beds around Ellensburg.

“We’re in the early stages and I don’t know if it will get out of committee. But my presentation will be centered around historical background of the Ellensburg Blue Agate,” Thayer said. “The current state gemstone is actually a fossil, so I think it’s important the committee be presented with the right information to make its decision.”

New Section.Sec. 1 in the bill reads, “The Ellensburg Blue Agate is a gem unique to the state of Washington. It is proposed, to designate the Ellensburg Blue Agate as the state gem, and to move petrified wood to a designation as the state vegetative fossil..

“Ellensburg Blue Agates were originally formed by mineral-dense fluid in the small cavities of the Teanaway basalt, which are more than 40 million years old, and were carried by an ancient river to the Ellensburg region where they are found today.

“The Ellensburg Blue Agate is known for its rarity and color, which ranges from a light sky-blue to an almost royal-blue, and is the only agate to be considered a semiprecious gem.”

Washington designated petrified wood as its official gemstone in 1975. Most of the petrified wood in Washington grew during the Miocene Epoch, some 12 to 5 million years ago and played host to vast forests of cypress, oak, elm, and ginkgo trees.

House Bill 2757 proposes not to eliminate petrified wood, but simply change its designation to the state vegetative fossil.


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