Hall of Fame: William Earl Hidden

| 2 min read

William Earl Hidden was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1853 and spent his early years at the public schools of New York and Washington. His initial career was as a draughtsman at a bank, but Hidden's true passion was his growing collection of stamps, coins and minerals, and he moved full-time into this field in 1884.


  • Name: William Earl Hidden
  • Date of Birth: 1853
  • Country of Birth: Rhode Island, USA
  • Date of Death: 1919 (age 66)


Hidden's passion for his field and memberships of the Rocky Mountain Club and the Royal Geological Society of London brought Hidden to the attention of Thomas Edison. Edison promptly sent Hidden to the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina to search for platinum to use in light bulbs. While platinum remained elusive, Hidden found other minerals and made the acquaintance of J. Adlai Stephenson, a local mineral collector who had recently found Emerald in the area. While searching for Emerald himself, Hidden came across a chrome-green mineral he believed to be Diopside. He sent samples to a colleague to be formally classified, and they were instead found to be a variety of spodumene, which was then named Hiddenite in his honour. Hidden purchased land adjacent to the existing mine and set up the Emerald and Hiddenite Mineral Company. The area was also renamed Hiddenite and is still called so today.

William Earl Hidden

Hidden was also credited with discovering a purple-red variety of Garnet known as Rhodolite, though Rhodolite was probably known about in Sri Lanka long before Hidden found it in the USA.


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