1.Emerald Hollow Mine, Hiddenite, North Carolina
Find glittering, gorgeous emeralds in Hiddenite, only about an hour’s drive from Winston-Salem, NC. The Emerald Hollow Mine is home to the only emerald mine in the United States open for public treasure hunting. You can check out findings from the mine at sluiceways or do your own prospecting, digging, and hunting for a small fee.
Although known mostly for its emeralds, the 70-acre site can also yield sapphire, tourmaline, garnet, topaz, and aquamarine. (The town of Hiddenite was named in 1913 after the gemstone hiddenite, a rare variety of spodumene discovered in the area). Open year-round, the mine boasts gorgeous scenery, too.
2. Crater of Diamonds State Park, Murfreesboro, Arkansas
Want to mine for diamonds? Murfreesboro is the place to go. The Crater of Diamonds State Park, 120 miles from Little Rock, AR, is the only existing mine where visitors can prospect for diamonds and keep their findings. Stay at the park campsite and enjoy wildlife and natural scenery as well as some sparkling stones.
You’ll see diamonds everywhere, even laying in the dirt, but you can rent equipment at the park for deeper digging. Once you have a pan of stones, head over to the office so an appraiser can check your stash to see how much your sparklers are worth. So far, visitors to the park have found well over 30,000 diamonds, including a 16-carat beauty in 1975, so your chances of landing a stone are high. As with other diamond deposits, most of the stones are small and included, but some fine gems have been found here.
3. Gem Mountain, Spruce Pine, North Carolina
Looking for aquamarines? Head to Spruce Pine’s own Gem Mountain. The Blue Ridge Mountains are the perfect place to prospect for the beautiful blue stones as well as rubies and moonstones. Onsite gemologists can inspect your findings to see if they’re the real deal, and lapidaries can spruce up and turn your gems into pieces of jewelry before you head home.
4. Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine, Franklin, North Carolina
Search for rubies inside the Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine. You can sluice through rocks and dirt with a screen and look for precious treasures, including sapphires, garnets, and rutile. The price of admission is low, and the fun level is high, so make it a family outing. The mine is open for gem hunting to the public from April through October. The backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains will make it a beautiful summer vacation.
5. Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine, Philipsburg, Montana
One of the most beautiful states in the country, Montana also makes a great destination for gem hunting. Check out Gem Mountain Sapphire Mine for some stellar prospecting. What will you find when you sift through the dirt and gravel at Gem Mountain? Sapphires - and lots of them.
The staff will help you clean your gems and assess them, so you’ll know which stones are worth saving and possibly turning into wearable pieces. You can also purchase sapphire gravel to take home or ready-made jewelry designs featuring the gorgeous Montana sapphires.
According to gemsociety.org