Ledford Minerals is the current specimen mining and retail company specializing in Southeastern USA minerals, most of which are obtained directly from their source localities. Ledford Minerals is owned and managed by fourth generation miner Christopher Ryan Ledford and his spouse Rachel following on in the same tradition as his great grandfather Albert, grandfather Ted and father Terry.
Albert Ledford, Christopher’s great-grandfather was born in June 1883. Albert and his spouse Hattie Patrick raised eleven children at Grassy Creek, a village just southeast of Spruce Pine, Mitchell County, North Carolina. With the rise in mica and feldspar mining in the Spruce Pine area, along the crest of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Albert became an experienced miner, especially in the Chalk Mountain area. Only his son, Ted Davis, born February 1925, chose to follow his father’s career, also learning to drill and blast at the Chalk mountain mine. With his soon developed expertise, he was asked to work at other southern Appalachian mines.
In 1984, Ted had the opportunity to mine for himself and partners at the Crabtree Emerald mine just west of Grassy Creek. With the emeralds and specimens produced at the Crabtree mine, Ted taught himself to facet and also polish gemstones. He soon opened Ledford’s Rock and Gem at Grassy Creek that sold local gemstones and minerals, as well as doing custom faceting.
Ted and his spouse, Lora, had three sons: Gary Dale, Terry Lee and Teddy. Both Gary and Terry continued with gemstone and specimen mining and also learned to facet and polish, specializing in gem beryls from the Crabtree emerald, Wiseman, Henson Creek and other local mines. They also open a gem and mineral shop in Spruce Pine, named Emerald City. For years both Gary and Terry worked separate mining properties as well as joint properties for gemstones and minerals.
Since 1998, Terry has been a well established dealer at the Tucson Gem and Mineral ShowTM, selling his best material from localities in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina on the main floor. For many years Christopher Ryan had helped his father both in mining and in selling specimens.
With both the father and uncle passing, the energy and excitement of specimen and gemstone mining was passed to Terry’s son, Christopher Ryan. He and his wife, Rachael, now operate the same properties, continuing the tradition of gemstone and specimen mineral sales.
PO Box 271
Rutherfordton, NC 28139