Rockhounding Hotspots: Discovering Hidden Gems Across The US

Rockhounding Hotspots: Discovering Hidden Gems Across The US

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The US is blessed with both a wide variety of great vacation spots and an incredibly diverse geography. From beaches to mountains and from deserts to tundra you can find just about everything there.

Were going to share with you the best rockhounding spots in the US that we’ve found. These are places that have a fantastic array of rocks, crystals, and minerals and are also great for both beginners as well as experienced rockhounds.

If you’ve never experienced the joy of the hunt when looking for beautiful rocks and gems you are in for a treat. Try some of these spots first and find a few trophies!

The Top Rockhounding Locations In The US

These are the places where we think you will have great luck rockhounding some of these are easy to get to and some might be added to our list of the best adventure destinations:

Crater of Diamonds State Park is the best place for diamonds

Located in Arkansas, Crater of Diamonds is a unique and exciting place that rockhounds absolutely love. Why is it so special? Well, it’s the only public diamond-bearing site in the whole world. 

Regular folks like you and me can roll up our sleeves and search for real diamonds in the park’s 37.5-acre plowed field. The rule is “finders keepers,” so if you discover a diamond, it’s yours to keep!

People have found all sorts of diamonds here, in all sizes and colors. The diamonds from this park are usually white, brown, or yellow and come in many different shapes. The most thrilling part is that you never know what you might discover. 

Some pretty large diamonds have been found here. The largest one ever discovered in the United States, a white diamond with a pink cast weighing 40.23 carats, was found right here!

Diamonds State Park
Crater of Diamonds State Park

Topaz Mountain lives up to it’s name

Topaz Mountain in Utah is known for its abundance of topaz crystals. It is a beautiful gemstone that can be found in different colors, but the ones at Topaz Mountain are usually clear or sherry-colored. The truly amazing thing about the topaz from this area is that when it’s exposed to sunlight, it can turn a beautiful pinkish-purple color!

At Topaz Mountain you don’t just walk around and pick up topaz from the ground. Instead, you need to use tools like a rock hammer and chisel to carefully extract the topaz from the hard rock. This might sound like a lot of work, but the excitement of finding a gemstone you’ve dug out yourself makes it all worthwhile. If you’re newer to rockhounding you can find a great guide to the best rockhounding tools here.

Topaz Mountain is part of a vast and beautiful desert, making the journey there a real treat for nature lovers. The vast, open spaces and the stunning mountain vistas create a beautiful backdrop for the rockhounding adventure, making this a beloved destination for rockhounds. You are also fairly close to one of the largest canyons in the world. Plus, the opportunity to keep any topaz you find is a big bonus!

Topaz Mountain
Topaz Mountain

Gem Mountain is great for Sapphires

This spot is famous for its beautiful sapphires, and people come from all over just to try their luck at finding one. The staff provides bags of gravel that have been taken from the mine. These bags often contain sapphires, but you have to sift through the gravel to find them. 

It’s a lot like a treasure hunt, and it’s a thrill when you spot the gleam of a gem among the rocks.

The sapphires you can find at Gem Mountain come in different colors – from blue and pink, to yellow and green. Sometimes, people even find star sapphires, which are extremely rare! If you’re lucky enough to find a sapphire, the friendly staff at Gem Mountain can help you clean it and even turn it into jewelry.

Aside from the joy of discovery, rockhounds love the beautiful natural setting of Montana, which is nestled in the scenic Sapphire Mountain range. It’s a fun place to visit, offering a unique adventure that combines a love of nature and the thrill of finding your own gemstones.

Gem Mountain is great for Sapphires
Gem Mountain is great for Sapphires

Jackson’s Crossroads Amethyst Mine, Georgia is the best option for amethyst

Jackson’s Crossroads Amethyst Mine in Georgia is a favorite spot for rockhounds. This place is famous for its amethyst crystals, which are a beautiful deep purple color. This color is what makes these crystals stand out from others found in different parts of the world. The crystals at this mine are often big and have a nice, prism-like shape.

What makes this mine even more exciting is that it has special days when anyone can come and dig for these crystals. Imagine the fun and excitement of digging up your very own beautiful amethyst! 

There are many other places to find amethyst around the US but Jackson’s tends to be the best.

Amethyst Mine
Amethyst Mine

Currently, Jackson’s Crossroads Amethyst Mine is closed for public visiting. It is uncertain when or if it will be opened again. 

Royal Peacock Opal Mine is famous for it’s black opal

The Royal Peacock Opal Minein Northwestern Nevada and is a real treat for rockhounds.It’s one of the best places in the world to find opals, especially black opals, which are some of the rarest and most valuable. 

A black opal has a dark background color, but when the light hits it just right, you’ll see a dazzling play of colors. They are some of the most beautiful stone on earth.

What makes the Royal Peacock Opal Mine extra special is the chance to dig for these precious gems yourself. You can rent tools at the mine, and then spend the day searching for opals in a designated digging area. Imagine the excitement of cracking open a piece of rock to reveal an opal’s shimmering colors!

If you enjoy deserts scenery this is also a fantastic place to get your fill of that! It’s hot but it’s beautiful. If you get tired of the dry heat you can always take a trip south for few hours to Tahoe and see one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

Opal stone

Emerald Hollow Mine is the only option for emeralds

The only emerald mine in the United States that’s open to the public, the Emerald Hollow Mine in North Carolina is like a dream come true for rockhounds. This means anyone can try their hand at finding these precious green gemstones!

You can experience the thrill of hunting for emeralds and other gemstones in three different ways. First, you can try “sluicing,” which involves washing dirt and gravel through a water trough to reveal any hidden gems. Second, you can try “creeking,” or searching for gems in the mine’s creek bed. Third, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can “dig” in designated areas to find your own treasure.

But emeralds aren’t the only gems you can find here. This mine is home to over 60 different types of gems and minerals, including garnet, topaz, and amethyst. Each discovery is a thrilling moment, like a mini treasure hunt ending with your very own precious stone.

Emerald Stone
Emerald stone

Oregon Sunstone Collection Area is ideal for Sunstone searching

The spot in Oregon is the only place on earth where you can find Oregon Sunstones. These gems come in various colors, ranging from golden to peachy to a captivating shimmering red. They have tiny copper inclusions that create a dazzling effect when they catch the sunlight. It’s like holding a piece of the sun in your hand!

What makes this place even more exciting for rockhounds is the sense of adventure and discovery. Imagine exploring the open collection area, combing through the rocks and soil, and stumbling upon a precious Sunstone. The joy and satisfaction of finding your very own gemstone are truly unparalleled.

This is an absolutely beautiful part of the country with one of the longest beaches in the world. It’s very different from most rockhounding spots which tend to be in desserts or mines!

Sun stone

Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine is worth the trip for opal

Another incredible rockhounding spot in Nevada is the Rainbow Ridge Opal Mine. It’s especially popular for those of us who love opals. This mine extra special because you have a chance to find precious opals with a whole spectrum of colors, just like a rainbow.

Here, you can purchase chunks of wood, known as “virgin valley bank material,” which might contain hidden opals. The thrill comes from breaking open these chunks and discovering the breathtaking colors within. It’s like uncovering a secret rainbow!

Another Opal stone

The opals found at Rainbow Ridge can display an array of colors, including fiery reds, brilliant blues, and vibrant greens. Each opal is unique and mesmerizing in its own way, making it a true gemstone treasure.

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This is a guide to the best rockhounding hotspots in the US- where are these spots and what gems can be found there. This is a guide to the best rockhounding hotspots in the US- where are these spots and what gems can be found there. This is a guide to the best rockhounding hotspots in the US- where are these spots and what gems can be found there.

2 thoughts on “Rockhounding Hotspots: Discovering Hidden Gems Across The US”

  1. Christina Pavone

    Hi there,
    Great piece on rock hounding, however you have listed Jackson’s Crossroads Amethyst Mine, Georgia is the best option for amethyst – This mine is now permanently closed for some time and not open to public digs any longer. Just thought you may want to revise your suggestions.

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