5 Best Places to Go Gem Hunting in the US

Close-up of a large amethyst mineral rock
Photo from unsplash.com

Eager to find a variety of real gemstones that can take the total worth of your collection to the next level? 

Roll up your sleeves and hold on to your digging tools for you are in for a real adventure!

From sunstones and emerald to sapphire and even diamonds, there is a wide range of treasure hunting possibilities. Here, we have listed down some designated public dig sites that are considered the best spots for gem hunting in the US.

Emerald Hollow Mine, North Carolina

Emerald Hollow Mine is one of the most interesting geological locations in North America. While it is located in Hiddenite, North Carolina, it is anything but concealed from the public. In fact, this is the only emerald mine in the world that is open for public mining.

Here, you can not only hunt for gems but even turn them into a stunning piece of jewelry via the help of local artisans right there on site. 

At the sluiceway, every visitor is given their own bucket of ore that comes down the line straight from Hiddenite’s emerald mine. However, gorgeous green gems are not the only thing you will find here. 

The place is also rich in other natural stone formations including amethysts, aquamarine, topaz, and more. So, keep an eye out for them as well.

This gem hunting site also consists of a family campground along with a RV park with modern amenities.

All in all, Emerald Hollow Mine is a must-visit for every gem collector. However, if you wish to avoid crowds, consider visiting later during the day as this is often the destination of choice for local school field trips.

Jade Cove, California

If you are hunting for jade, the Big Sur mountain in California is the place to be. Although its rocky and rugged terrain is praised for its dramatic scenery, what makes it all the more attractive is the treasures hiding beneath it.

Jade in Jewelry
Beautiful Jade in Jewelry

Jade is one of the most precious gems in the world – and this place holds lots of it. Whether you dive in for a swim or take a stroll along the beach, you are sure to find some precious gems at Jade Cove located at the South corner of the Big Sur.

For the best results, try to visit this place during the winter season. This is because the rough undercurrent naturally brings many gemstones to the shore. Make sure to look between the boulders as well as in small piles of gravel along the coastline.

Keep in mind though that Jade Cove is part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Therefore, compared to typical gemstones dig sites, this place has a relatively strict guideline for the do’s and don’ts of jade hunting. 

Research and read them carefully before you book a trip to the Cove.

Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas

A supplement to the Nashville News of nearby Nashville, Arkansas, advertising diamonds mining in the early 1900s (public domain)

Fancy taking a trip where you return with free (yet 100% real) diamonds rather than just some nice photos and your average run-of-the-mill souvenirs?

Well, this is exactly what a trip to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas has to offer! 

This aptly named place is basically a volcanic crater. Billions of years ago, it saw some serious volcanic activity which resulted in magnificent rock formations and crystallization of buried carbon. Today, it is a hotbed of diamonds hidden deep under the surface. But still, not so deep that an average person with no or little experience in mining won’t have a hard time finding some. 

The Park features a total of 37 acres of plowed field. Visitors can dig right in for a variety of rocks, minerals, and gemstones. 

Whatever you find is completely yours to keep. But you will have to really work for it because the park does not allow the use of battery-operated or motor-driven mining tools. 

Nonetheless, a shiny diamond glistening in the soil makes every drop of sweat completely worth it.

Morefield Mine, Virginia

Morefield Mine is located in Amelia County on the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia.  Not so long ago, the place was populated by military suppliers looking for minor metals and strategic minerals such as tantalum and mica, respectively. 

After the end of World War II, the mine was bought by a private investor who turned it into a field for gem hunting. 

Morefield Mine is rich in amazonite, but it is known to contain a total of over 80 different types of mineral rocks and gemstones. 

The mine is around 2,000 feet long and is located more than 300 feet beneath the ground. The owners periodically open up new excavation sites by blasting the cave. So, visitors can rest assured that their trip will be quite fruitful.

Royal Peacock Opal Mine, Nevada

If you are more interested in collecting one-of-a-kind gemstones regardless of what their true value may be, a trip to the Royal Peacock Mine won’t disappoint.

Located in Virgin Valley in Nevada, this region is touted for its exceptionally large and unique black fire opals that are unlike any other found in the world. The place holds the record for one of the largest opals ever found. The ‘Gingko Log,’ as it came to be known, weighed around 130 pounds and measured almost 16 inches at its widest.

A black fire opal is generally not very expensive. But with extraordinary colorations featuring green, yellow, blue, orange, red, and even purple hues, it surely makes a fine addition to any gem collection. 

End Note

There are many places to go gem hunting in the US. But the ones mentioned above are the most popular among avid collectors due to the high turnover. They are the top gem hunting hotspots where you most probably won’t be returning empty-handed from.

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