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Gem Mining Vacations


One of the things I have always wanted to do is take a gem mining vacation. Now digging around in the dirt may not be you idea of an exciting vacation , but I happen to find the idea fascinating. The idea that I might find a rare stone or exquisite gem appeals to the gambler in me. I know that I will not find anything right away and it will take hours of work. It is kind of like writing hubs, it takes time and dedication to make it pay off. I have scoured the Internet for possible gem mining locations and reviews. I have put them together for you in case you would want to become a gem hunter too.


What will you find?

There are all sorts of gem mines throughout the United States. Ruby and sapphires are popular in North Carolina. If diamonds are your best friend than you might want to take a look at the crater of Diamonds in Arkansas. It is said to be the only active diamond mine in the United States. Opals are found in Oregon and jade and gold can be in discovered in California. If you look around you might find your state has a gem mine too!

Where are the Gem mines?

Gem Mining seems to be plentiful in the southern states. North Carolina's Macon County has Sapphires and Rubies. The claim is that they are the Gem Mining capital of the world. The Website boasts that they have uncovered a 2 and a half pound ruby. Below is a website that features many of the gem mines available in North Carolina.

Spruce Pine's Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine is well known for their aquamarine, garnet and moonstone. At this gem mine there are jewel cutters who can make your treasure into gems for jewelry! Admission is free however there is a cost of 25 dollars a bucket!

In Arizona you will find an abundance of copper and turquoise in their Gem mines.

If Diamonds are more your taste then 0ff to Arkansas you go to experience the best in Diamond mining. Diamond Crater state park has a 37 acre plowed field you can go and plunder for diamonds of any color. According to the website valuable diamonds are still being found on the property. The Website keeps an up to date listing of the most valuable diamonds found by the prospectors. This sounds like a great place to go. You can dig for your own treasure and you have the hope of finding a neat prize.

Below are some links to other gem mines in the United States. Not only will they tell you what you can find but how to prepare for the trip! Maybe you will find one that is near you!

How do You Mine?

Mining for Gems is an all day affair so wear you most comfortable clothing. You are going to get dirty so it may best to bring an old towel to wipe off with. A picnic lunch is advisable,  The gem mines provide places for you to eat out of the weather. Bring with you an old container with a lid such as a margarine container or a a zip lock bag to keep all of our valuables.Most of the time you will be given a bucket of dirt and you will have to use a screen to clean off your gems in the water. Some of the gem mines allow digging. I was surprised that a lot of the mines a lot do not..

What to Look for in Crystals

Just like diamonds you look for the color and clarity of the crystals. Some gem stones are clear and some gems are milky. Some gem stones have pearl like color and some crystals come in box like shapes. As you can see in the slides on the left there are many beautiful gem stones. But before you get excited and trudge out to the southern part of the USA , be wary that gem stones of this stature have been found in Gem Mines in Africa and Australia

Can you actually find Gems?

According to some blogging gem finders... yes. the two samples to the right are examples of gems that were located at the Rio Doce Gem Mine in Western North Carolina. Good luck on your search and have fun finding your treasure.

Larry Coleman Largest sapphire at 73.10

Larry Coleman Largest sapphire at 73.10

Yes You can find Gems!

You know sometimes you ask a question and somebody comes along and answers it! A reader Larry Coleman shared with me in the comments below that he had found the largest sapphire in the Ruby and Sapphire mine in Mason, NC. I have included his pic and the link to the site below. Way to go Larry and thanks for sharing!

Fragment of a meteorite


Mining for Meteorites

You may not exactly mine for meteorites but you can have a lot of fun looking for them. Meteorites that fall from the sky are being sought after by scientists. One article from the Smithsonian magazine states chunks of meteorites are going for $25,000 a gram. More recently meteorite hunters have found meteorite fragments in California that have gone for $1000 a gram! Meteorites are rare as they often burn up in the atmosphere. Meteorites are often found in the western part of the U.S in states such as New Mexico, Arizona and California. Why are meteorites so sought after? Scientists believe that these fragments have the building blocks of life. It is believed they hold the key on how life began on Earth.

If you are interested in finding your own meteorites the Farmers Almanac has a listing of meteor showers predicted for 2012!

Mining Asteroids

Now the latest talk is of mining asteroids. Investors are clamoring to drill in near space asteroids for precious platinum metals. It is the hopes of the investors to make a tidy profit as well as try to drive down some of the costs of most consumer goods here on Earth. The company, Planetary Resources hopes to send up mining robots in the asteroids nearest the Earth. They plan to send up robotic telescopes to scan out the best asteroids at the end of 2013.

The biggest crystal ever found

Finding Emeralds

The value of Gemstones


$300-$600 per carat heated

$1000 per carat unheated


$75-100 per carat




Gem Mining


sbodie29 on March 23, 2013:

I just want to add to all of this awesome information and advice. I first went mining with my father, who was very sick at the time, thinking it may be our last trip together. We drove (I drove) from Savannah, GA to Franklin, NC overnight, arriving around 6:30am. The motel (which is no longer there, unfortunately) let us check in at that time...6:30am. I've worked in Hospotality, Hotel Services, etc., and that is very rare. But back to the point, my father was so exhausted from our drive that he went straight to bed. But I began my quest by 8am. I did get lost about 5 times in the mountains, but it was simple to backtrack. point is that I was immediately addicted! My first bucket of dirt, and I was HOOKED! So, while the mining is great fun for everyone, beware, you may never want to go home. I have since been on 4 or 5 mining trips, alone mostly: no one else can/wants to hang with me. My first few experiences were at Sheffield Mine. The first 2 were awesome; however, the 3rd visit, when I brought my family, husband and stepdaughters, I was so highly offended by the OWNER! Yes it was getting late, but to have the owner SHOUT at me to "Get out! We are closed!" after dropping over $400 was enough for me to say DON'T GO! My favorite and best "mother-load" has been at Hiddenite Hollow Mine. Still trying to get to HOGG. ENJOY...Its worth every cent.

Tina (author) from Wv on July 09, 2012:

Thank you Smalltownlady.. I will have to look that clip up! Thanks for visiting and check back when you find your $40,000 gem!

smalltownlady from North Carolina on July 06, 2012:

I live in central NC and the gambler in me has always wanted to gem-hunt. Plus even the beach vacations get boring after a while. My interest was newly reignited when I caught a couple appearing on Anderson's talk show. They brought two of their raw finds from NC with them and a guest appraiser let them know that one of them was worth $40,000 to $50,000! I imagine you can locate the clip if you go to Anderson's website.

Richard Girard on June 10, 2012:

The Michigan Gemstone, Jewelry & Coin Show August 26 2012.

Ticket Price

Adult $5.00

Kids under 13 Free

Tickets Available At The Show

Includes Free Food, Cash Bar & Entertainment

All age show where you can find gemstones and jewelry.

You can find items that you will not find anywhere else.

Precious gemstones, fine jewelry, beads, crystals, minerals, coins, fossils, cutting rough, findings, and lapidary supplies, gem faceting, silversmithing, wire wrapping, lapidary tools, jewelry equipment, precious metals & jewelry making supplies.

August 26 2012

The International Banquet Center

400 Monroe Street

Detroit Michigan

Show Hours

Sunday 9 am - 6 pm

For more info call 248-390-7530 or visit

Thank you

Jean Coulombe on August 01, 2011:

Went to Arkansas. Arrowhead is closed. Went to Jim Coleman mine and had an excellent time. Lots of great white quartz specimens. Tailings are brought up every day or two. Certainly worth the trip.

Afterwards, went to Blue Point mine in Thunder Bay (Ontario, Canada). Lots of great specimens there as well. Brought back about 250 pounds of quartz in total. Border guard looked at me kind of funny, but that's fine :). I plan to go back to AR in about two years, Thunder Bay next spring.

If you like quartz, these places are certainly worth it.

Stopped in Diamond Crater as well. Didn't find any diamonds, but one couple found a real nice lemon colored transparent 3 point diamond that they showed us. So there are diamonds in there.

Tina (author) from Wv on June 07, 2011:

Thank You Nature Lover for your comment! Also thank you for sharing with us about your gem mining experiences. I am glad you found a lot of quartz crystals at Arrowhead! Maybe I will add that site to my hub!

nature lover on June 07, 2011:

I went to Murfreesboro, AR to Diamond of the Crater State Park over Memorial Day weekend. My sister and niece met me there. We enjoyed the day but didn't find anything. The next day we went to Arrowhead Quartz Mine in Mt Ida, AR and all three of us walked away with two 5 gallon buckets full of quartz crystals. I am still cleaning mine. Last batch is in the acid bath. They are beautiful. Many are clear as glass. I got a bunch of clusters. I fossil hunt all over Dallas, TX. I look for arrowheads, agate and petrified wood in central MS. I love treasure hunting. This is a great hub! Thank you!

Hunter Goodman from Texas on December 11, 2010:

Thank you for the great Hub. I would love to bring my daughters Gem Mining on vacation. Maybe I'll inspire a geologist in the family.....

Traci on August 21, 2010:

Some other notes: There are several mines right on the main roads of town...those are not true mining mines, just buckets of sand with "brought in gems" from other places. But because I had young kids and didn't know what I was looking for or even how to mine, it's good to pop into one of these places for one bucket to "practice" with. Besides, it's excited the kids to get a handful of gems each. They didn't care it wasn't from the mountains we were going to mine at the next day. So for kids...that's a good first "start" to help them learn a little bite before "digging" into the real thing!

Traci on August 21, 2010:

I took my kids on a week long trip gem mining in Franklin NC. It was amazing. Suitable for all ages. We went to four different mines, one full day for each mine. Drove around the mountains, saw many neat caves and waterfalls too. We found so many gems but be aware, the gems come in their RAW form, not the nice shiny gems you see in the stores or even here, online. The RAW forms look just like rocks and pebbles. Went to Mason's Sapphire and Ruby and they were good about showing you what to look for because we thought what were "rocks and pebbles" turned out to be sapphires and garnets! Once the gem is cut out of it's "rock" crust, then you see the gem that looks so familiar to us all! My favorite find was the tourmiline. Had one large piece turned into a ring, 5cts, value= $800, cost to have cut, $55 dollars. No lie! My daughter found a 25ct sapphire but her favorite was her star ruby she had made into a ring. My one son's favorite was his 15ct moonstone gem, another son, he loved the garnets he found, had one made into a necklace for his girlfriend. We went two years ago and will be doing another family vacation next summer. One note: The towns are small mountain towns and everything closes very early, like 6-7 pm, including FOOD places. Be prepared to either eat microwave foods from hotel room or rap up mining no later than 5pm so you can make it to an eatery to have some grub!!! Found this out the hard way. We stayed right in Franklin NC, base of the mountain and mines!!!

kefalonia holidays on August 21, 2010:

What a great idea for a vacation. I think there is so many ways you can have unusual vacations that it is great.

Tina (author) from Wv on June 29, 2010:

Hey happylawn,

Thanks for your comments. Tt is always helpful to hear about new places. I will def check out the burglens site!

happylawn on June 28, 2010:

by the way, I have also been to diamond crater in ark.....dident find a diamond, but had a great time and the water park nearby is great! Also, I would recommend the Rose Creek mine in NC,I found a lot of nice stones there and the owners are super nice! I have been to several of the mines in the area and Rose Creek is by far my favorite. Hope this helps

happylawn on June 28, 2010:

I love the gem mineing experience in NC! There is a gem cutter and store near the mines I have had him cut some of the stones I found there and they can make it in to jewrely for you and mailed to your home. the best way to do it is to check out burglens before you go to a mine (he can advise you to the hot spots) and then drop by his shop after you find some gems. He will tell you what you have and which of them are worth cutting, and it is fairly priced to have them cut if you want to.

applesuender on June 16, 2010:

Very interesting hub. Thanks!

Granny's House from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time on April 26, 2010:

My husband and I want to do this when he retires. We have so much in common. Great hub. There is a fire opal mine in Az. too I think.

Tina (author) from Wv on April 23, 2010:

Email on the way MyWebs. Thank You for stoppin by

Anthony Goodley from Sheridan, WY on April 23, 2010:

I have always loved the thought of treasure hunting. I'm happy to see you list a mine here in Nevada.

I have a great free eBook on Gemstones I bet you would love. Site email if interested and I'll forward it to you. I really enjoyed reading your hub.

Daddy Paul from Michigan on April 22, 2010:

I never would have thought of doing this. Thanks.

Kay Creates from Ohio on April 22, 2010:

Sounds like fun to me.

frogyfish from Central United States of America on February 10, 2010:

Intriguing and fun hub. I have been to Diamond Crater area and found nothing but mud! Did get some beautiful fire agate in Arizona. The emerald video was beautifully musical too. Thanks for sharing and ...tempting!

MagicStarER from Western Kentucky on January 18, 2010:

:) I share your fascination with gems - I would love to go to NC and look for some. I was recently reading about a farm down there that you can visit, and part of the attraction there was digging for gems, wish I could remember the name of it - maybe it is on the link you mentioned above. They also have heirloom vegetables and heritage animals there at that farm. I have been studying the use of crystals and gem stones for healing and etc, and it is very interesting. Thanks for a great read!

ciidoctor on December 03, 2009:

so funny.good hub

Tina (author) from Wv on November 14, 2009:

BL Tween, What a great way to look at things! Loved your comment!

BL Tween on November 13, 2009:

Cool! I see Larry's pic!

God is so amazing! He buries beautiful things deep inside, even inside us! I believe God knows something about us that we ourselves don't know. It sometimes takes a while to dig it out, but when we do . . . its something beautiful.

Loved your hub!

Tina (author) from Wv on November 04, 2009:

Larry thank you so much for your input.. I will have to go there some time! ( and I will look up your pic too :) and maybe post it here )

Larry Coleman on November 04, 2009:

Hi everyone,I'm gonna put in my two cents and say that N.C. has some very good treasure hunts.Last year my wife and i went to Mason's Ruby and sapphire mine and had a blast.It was the first time we ever did anything like that,and if you look up the mine you'll see me holding the largest sapphire found since they've been open to the public.[73.10ct]We live in northern Mich.and plan on going back real soon.I had the stone cut up for my wife,ear rings ect. The folks there were really nice and alot of people found plenty of sapphires.It's one of the only true digs down there where you pick ehere you want to dig so if you have time you should try to make it there.Have Fun Larry Coleman

jimmyred from Brisbane on September 30, 2009:

Looks like it could be a lot of fun.

Webby1 from Ohio on September 29, 2009:

My three boys have always enjoyed gemstone hunting locally, but North Carolina sounds like it would be great. Maybe we'll take a summer trip down there.


Smwoody from Burlington, NC on September 03, 2009:

I have always wanted to do this too!! My hubby and I just moved to North Carolina, it would be so fun to do this with my parents or my kids when they come visit. I will definitely check it out! Thanks for the great hub!

BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on August 27, 2009:

I sooooo want to do this! And I have family all over NC - maybe it is time to dig up their backyards.

So this goes on my list of '100 Things I Desire to Do' - thanks for a great idea and a great hub!

Sarah m Marie on August 26, 2009:

Beautiful crystal pictures and a wonderful adventure.

Lgali on August 25, 2009:

looks nice adventure for the family nice hub

ralwus on August 20, 2009:

I would love to do it but health will not allow it. I wish I would have known of this when I was younger. I do have a neat fossil I found along with some very nice arrow heads too.

jim10 from ma on August 20, 2009:

This sounds like a great adventure for the family when my youngest boy gets a little older. Hopefully I can find someplace a little closer. I'm in MA.

Treasured Pasts from Commerce, Texas on August 19, 2009:

I highly recommend the Spokane Bar Sapphire mine in Montana. See my hub on Sapphires and Fireworks. Looking forward to hitting the mines in NC soon. Thanks for the hub. PS- I struck out at the diamond mine but 4 were found that day.

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