When you think of gem hunting and mining, thoughts of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires might jump to mind. These gems are usually mined in exotic locations all over the world, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find some beautiful gemstones right here in the USA too!
The United States is actually full of amazing open mines that allow gemstone and mineral enthusiasts to dig for their own specimens freely. Here are some of the best spots for gem hunters and rock hounds to check out in America.
#1: Emerald Hollow Mine – Hiddenite, North Carolina
Hiddenite is home to the stunning Emerald Hollow Mine, which as its name belies, is packed with glittering emeralds. This is the only emerald mine in the US that is open for public hunting, so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity!
You can discover findings from the mine at the sluiceways, or do your own digging and hunting for a modest entrance fee. The mine might be known for its emeralds, but it is also home to tourmaline, sapphire, topaz, garnet and aquamarine. It is even open all year around and boasts gorgeous scenery to match. The only entertainment better than emerald hunting is the thrill of winning a game of Roulette online, as they say!
#2: Crater of Diamonds State Park – Murfreesboro, Arkansas
Murfreesboro is the perfect spot for those who wish to mine authentic diamonds. The State Park is just 120 miles from Little Rock, AR, and is the only American mine in which visitors can dig for diamonds and keep their prizes.
You can stay at the park’s camp sites and marvel at wildlife and spectacular natural views, too. Equipment rental is available for serious diggers, and so far, visitors have found over 30,000 diamonds. One of them was a 16-carat rock, while the rare Esperanza diamond was also unearthed here!
#3: Gem Mountain – Spruce Pine, North Carolina
Aquamarines are very rare in the gem world, but there are a few spots in the US that house them. One of these spots is Gem Mountain, nestled up in the iconic Blue Ridge Mountains.
The region is home to rubies and moonstones too, and on-site gemologists can inspect and authenticate your findings for you. Lapidaries will also polish your stones and set them in jewellery for you before you head home.
#4: Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine – Franklin, North Carolina
The Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine in North Carolina is home to quality rubies, sapphires, garnets and rutile, among other stones and gems. Feel free to explore the sluice with a screen to hunt for precious rocks yourself!
#5: Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine – Philipsburg, Montana
Montana is one of America’s most beautiful states, making it an ideal destination for gem hunting. The Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine is best suited to hunters that have a soft spot for sapphires, but some other rare gems can also be prospected here. Some extremely valuable sapphires have been found at this mine, which makes it well worth the trip!