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gem hunt usa
September 10, 2007 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Where are good places to hunt for gems in the USA? Opals are a current interest, but I'm flexible.

I have some spare weekends (thursday after noon through sunday) time, and am considering making a 'day trip' to hunt gems. I know opals can be found in western USA, and those are the ones I am currently most curious about, but like I said, any other options that are more fascinating may be a choice. So,
1) Where and what should I hunt for? Some considerations- I'll most likely be driving, and driving solo, and would prefer to keep costs down as much as possible. Camping, probably.
1B) I know North Carolina has some good gem mines, but I've been there before.

2) Now that I know what to hunt, (probably opals) what are some good places? Personal experiances, recomendations, tips on striking it 'rich', costs of various places, camping grounds nearby?

3) What should I bring? Aside from water and camping gear.

4) What other road-trip type options are along the route. IE, if I'm going west from Texas, would it be worthwhile to also stop in at the Grand Canyon?

Thanks!
posted by Jacen to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you'd like to stick to Texas, you can always hunt for Topaz in Mason County.
posted by sanka at 10:54 AM on September 10, 2007


Crater of Diamonds State Park, Arkansas.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:10 AM on September 10, 2007


Pick up some of those rock & gem or lapidary magazines. They're full of ads for "u-dig" places. My geologist friend tells me that Arkansas is especially good for this stuff.
posted by solongxenon at 11:17 AM on September 10, 2007


Came in to mention Crater of Diamonds - for good and bad, it's probably one of the most tourist-friendly gem-hunting sites out there. (i.e., it's probably been dug through more than most other sites). Still it's in the Ozarks, and the Ozarks are pretty.

Had a family trip out there when I was small - I don't really remember any details except for my dad venturing out of the designated digging area and getting his pockets turned out by a guy with a rifle.
posted by ormondsacker at 11:21 AM on September 10, 2007


I've been hunting for beryl before in New Hampshire, but that's probably not in the day-trip range for you...
posted by rmless at 11:23 AM on September 10, 2007


They aren't gems, but how about hunting for geodes?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:51 AM on September 10, 2007


Tecopa Ca. the opals are mostly on top so you don't have to dig much .
posted by hortense at 12:32 PM on September 10, 2007


Magdalena, in the state of Jalisco, is where fire opals are found.
posted by hortense at 1:30 PM on September 10, 2007


So the travel channel has a show about treasure hunting on vacation, with the primary idea being that you can go to these places and gem/gold hunt and make enough to fund your trip.

I can't remember what the show's called though. Anyway, look it up on the travelchannel's website.

This one they did was some gemstone in Washington or Oregon, but it's FREE to go there, FREE to dig, and you take what you want. It's also FREE to camp. If you want to use their sifting screens and crap it costs some money, but whatever. They found enough of X stones to fund their trip there, home, the gem cutting, and a flight to and from NY to the appraiser and auction...FOR THE WHOLE CREW.

Don't remember what the place was called. Aren't I helpful?
posted by TomMelee at 1:39 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Not really a gemstone, but how about Herkimer Diamonds in New York?
posted by DarkForest at 4:01 PM on September 10, 2007


So the travel channel has a show about treasure hunting on vacation, with the primary idea being that you can go to these places and gem/gold hunt and make enough to fund your trip.

I can't remember what the show's called though. Anyway, look it up on the travelchannel's website.


was it Best Places To Find Cash & Treasures?

Sounds like a cool show.
posted by fishfucker at 4:29 PM on September 10, 2007


Get a metal detector and head down to the nearest beach. You might find a diamond ring.
posted by wsg at 4:30 PM on September 10, 2007


YEa...indeed. They were sunstones, here you go:
sunstones on the travel channel

Send me an email if anyone goes, it intrigues the heck outta me. Sorry I wasn't more help earlier, didn't really have time to dig up the link.
posted by TomMelee at 8:15 PM on September 10, 2007


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