The seerstone was apparently found when Joseph and his brother Alvin were digging a well on the Mason Chase property in 1822. It was "about the size of a small hen's egg, in the shape of a high instepped shoe. It was composed of layers of different colors passing diagonally through it. It was very hard and smooth, perhaps from being carried in the pocket." See Eber D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (Painesville, OH: Eber D. Howe, 1834), 241-42; cf. Martin Harris' account in Tiffany's Monthly (June 1859), 163. W. D. Purple's account in The Chenango Union, 3 May 1877, cited in Francis W. Kirkham, A New Witness for Christ in America, 2 vols. (Independence, MO: Zion's Printing and Publishing Company, 1951), 2:365. David Whitmer in an interview in the Kansas City Journal, 5 June 1881: Omaha Herald, reprinted in the Chicago Inter-Ocean October 17, 1886 and in the Saints' Herald 33 (November 13, 1886), 706. "The Book of Mormon" in The Chicago Tribune 17 December 1885, p. 3. Saints' Herald 26 (November 15 1879), 341. "Journey About Ended," The Chicago Times January 24, 1888, p. 8. Emma Smith Bidamon describes it briefly in an unpublished letter to Mrs. George W. (Emma) Pilgrim, March 27, 1870, RLDS Archives P 4 F 20.
Interestingly, the seer stone came (through a series of events detailed by Richard van Wagoner and Steven Walker--"Joseph Smith: 'The Gift of Seeing'," Dialogue 15:2 (1982), 57) into the hands of Brigham Young and has remained--with only a brief lacuna--in the possession of the First Presidency since that time.