Leland Blue Stone: Michigan's History & Where To Find One

polished leland blue stone

Are you a treasure hunter who's seeking some of Michigan's unique beach stones? Perhaps, you're walking along the lake with your head down, and you notice a distinctive blue colored rock. You pick it up, pull out your smartphone to help identify the stone, and low and behold you determine this treasure to be a Leland Blue Stone! Now you have a beautiful stone that can be added to your rock collection or used to create Leland Blue jewelry.

What is a Leland Blue Stone?

Leland Blue Stone is not a stone. It is slag, a by-product of smelting iron ore.  During a short period, time from 1870 to 1885, iron ore was mined in Northern Michigan, and shipped to a smelting plant near Leland, Michigan.

During the smelting process, the iron ore was heated in huge furnaces to separated iron from the by-products, poured into molds and shipped south to the steel mills in Pennsylvania and Ohio. 

The by-product was pushed into Lake Michigan. The wave action of the lake and the sand has polished the slag into beautiful stones. These stones occur in as many shades of blue as your imagination, or perhaps Crayola’s imagination could name. Arctic blue, cerulean blue, sapphire, or sky blue. Some are streaked with shades of greens and grays. Stunning!

Where does a rock hunter find Leland Blue Stone?

Leland, Michigan is the home of Leland Iron Company. The Iron company failed after because of the high costs of production and because the Leland harbor lacked in transportation facilities. After the smelting company failed the plant and the byproducts were pushed into the harbor.

A great place for treasure hunters to seek Leland Blue Stone is at Vans Beach near Leland. 

The beach is rocky, and treasure hunters there wear knee or thigh-high wading boots, and many carry a strainer and a bucket along with whatever other treasure hunting tools may be needed.

The reflection of the sunlight off on the rocks under the water seem to be the clue. Veteran Leland Blue Stone hunters have that keen knowledge of where to look.  The sunlight brings the rocks blue hues to the attention of the treasure hunter.

Leland Blue Stones vary greatly in size from fingernail size to the size of a fist.  Sometimes the size of a large fist. 

The Leland Blue is a porous stone, even though over a hundred years of polishing by the waves and sand of Lake Michigan brings out a beautiful sheen.  Because it is a porous stone it prefers to be mounted although you can find shops with stones drilled for necklaces.

What is Leland Blue Stone worth?

Leland Blue Stones vary in value from $10 to $60 or more depending on the perceived quality and color. Along with the cut and mounting.  http://www.interweave.com/article/jewelry/gemstone-month-leland-blue-stone/

When that itch hits to go treasure hunting, you may want to try finding Leland Blue Stone. Happy rock hunting!

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