The 32 Incredible Places To Find And Dig For Crystals In Illinois In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 32 Incredible Places To Find And Dig For Crystals In Illinois In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


If you’re an avid crystal collector or just looking for a unique outdoor adventure, you’re in luck! Illinois is home to incredible places to find and dig for crystals. From shimmering calcite to vibrant fluorite, the state is full of hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. These crystals are not only beautiful, but they also have healing properties that can benefit your mind and body.

This guide will take you through the top spots for finding crystals in Illinois. Get ready to explore breathtaking landscapes, uncover stunning gems, and connect with nature. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, there’s something for everyone in Illinois’ crystal mines. So, grab your gear, and let’s start digging!

How We Picked The Best Places To Find Crystals in Illinois
We spent a lot of time determining which of the many options for digging and mining for crystals that we have available would be recommended. We wanted to have a good mix of locations for experienced and novice crystals hunters in a variety of settings. Here are the main factors we used when determining the recommendations we set out :

  • The extensive local experience and understanding of our team
  • Input from multiple local crystal hunters and crystal collecting groups
  • The accessibility of the crystal mining locations
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Private and public locations
  • A desire to include locations for both experienced crystal hunters and those who are just starting out

Using these weights we think we’ve put together the best list out there for those who love finding new crystals for our collections!

The Types of Illinois Crystals You Can Find

A tiny chalcopyrite with blue hues and gold streaks

Crystals come in all shapes and sizes, from the tiniest flecks to large formations, and have been around for ages, used for healing and decoration. They’ve even been said to help with energy balance and emotional well-being. People use crystals to express themselves, creating unique jewelry pieces or adding a special touch to their home decor. Whatever the purpose, it’s hard to deny the beauty of these unique rocks!

Rare crystals found in Illinois

  • Calcite
  • Chalcopyrite
  • Fluorite
  • Galena
  • Tourmaline

More common crystals found here

  • Agate
  • Jasper
  • Pyrite

The Best Locations For Crystal Mining in Illinois

An elegant calcite with different blue hues and white patches

Check out these locations if you can only visit a few places. We have the most success in these areas and anticipate that you will also.

Always Confirm Access and Collection Rules!

Before heading out to any of the locations on our list you need to confirm access requirements and collection rules for both public and private locations directly with the location. We haven’t personally verified every location and the access requirements and collection rules often change without notice.

Many of the locations we mention will not allow collecting but are still great places for those who love to find beautiful rocks and minerals in the wild without keeping them. We also can’t guarantee you will find anything in these locations since they are constantly changing. 

Always get updated information directly from the source ahead of time to ensure responsible rockhounding. If you want even more current options it’s always a good idea to contact local rock and mineral clubs and groups

Empire Mine

Three crystal hunters digging for crystals at the Empire Mine

Pope County, IL

If you’re looking for a good area in the state to find some stunning crystals, the Empire Mine might be worth the visit. It’s not hard to see why this old location has long been acclaimed as a favorite by crystal hunters. This is also among the best locations for gem mining in Illinois.

Located in the heart of the Midwest, the Empire Mine has a long history of providing a variety of gems and minerals to the public. Founded in 1872, it was originally used as an underground coal mine but was later converted into a gemstone and crystal mine. The mine offers visitors a chance to go on guided tours and try their hand at digging for some of the many stones available there.

Geologically speaking, Empire Mine is unique due to its limestone and shale deposits that provide an array of minerals like fluorite, galena, pyrite, and more. It’s also known for its wide variety of agates, with colors ranging from deep blues to vibrant pinks.

With such an abundance of gems and minerals available, the Empire Mine is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for something special. Plus, getting your hands dirty and taking part in some old-fashioned treasure hunting is always fun!

Where we found crystals at the Empire Mine

You can find fluorite, galena, and pyrite crystals at the Empire Mine in the Rosiclare area.

Rock pick being used

The tools every crystal hunter will need

When you're out looking for crystals having the right tools for the job is very important. You don't need a lot for most trips but there are a handful that are critical and will make your life a lot easier.

We get asked a lot about the equipment we use. Over the years we've found a handful of tools that we recommend to both new and experienced crystal miners which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhounding supplies guide. These are quality options that also happen to be relatively inexpensive.

Below are the basic tools that make your life so much easier and save you a ton of time. Check out the full guide to see everything we recommend bringing. One quick note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases but we try very hard to only recommend gear we would use ourselves and often recommend brands you can't find on Amazon.

At a minimum you should have:

1 - Sturdy rock hammer: The Estwing Rock Pick is our standard

2 - Rugged chisels: Try Kendo' 3-piece Chisel Set

3 - Compact shovel: The Koleiya 28-inch shovel works well

4 - Rock screen pan: The Wazakura Soil Sieve Set fits the bill

5 - Eye protection: DeWalt Safety Glasses are cheap and comfortable

6 - Head protection: Malta's Safety Helmet has been our go-to

7 - Jewelers lens with at least 20x magnification: Jarlink's Jewelers Loop is perfect

The crystal-finding books that we use most

There are also a few books that have been extremely helpful in the search for gems. These books have great recommendations and tips:

National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: North America 

Northeast Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Northeastern Quadrant 

We provide links to find these tools on Amazon but some can also be found at your local hardware stores. For more recommendations check out the link to our full tool guide above.

Fairview Mine

A clear triangular shaped fluorite found at the Fairview Mine

Blue Diggings Fault in Hardin County

The Fairview Mine in Illinois is a great spot for crystal hunters. Located in the rolling hills of southern Illinois, this mine has been around since the late 1800s and has produced some of the most beautiful crystals in the region.

The geology here is quite fascinating, too – it’s made up of sedimentary rock formed millions of years ago when the area was underwater. This means there are plenty of cracks and crevices where minerals can be found. Plus, there’s plenty of open space to explore, so you can take your time searching for just the right crystal.

So if you’re looking for some good ol’ fashioned crystal hunting, the Fairview Mine is definitely worth checking out!

Where we found crystals at the Fairview Mine

Crystals of pyrite, galena, and fluorite can be found at the Fairview Mine in the Rosiclare region of Hardin County. Current crystal prices may be found in this detailed guide we’ve created for crystal hunters.

Mississippi River

A picturesque view of the Mississippi River and it's lush and vibrant surroundings

The Mississippi River is a great place to find crystals. It’s a beautiful, winding river that runs through the state, and its winding banks are full of natural wonders. The unique geography and geology of the area make it an excellent place to search for crystals. The river has been around for centuries, with Native Americans inhabiting the area before European settlers arrived in the 1600s.

In modern times, many people come to the river to boat or fish and find crystals on its banks. The unique geological features make it a prime spot for finding quartz and other gems near rivers. There’s no better way to spend an afternoon than searching for crystals along the banks of the Mississippi!

Where we found crystals in the Mississippi River

We mostly found agate and jasper crystals in the Mississippi River’s pits, bars, and gravel deposits.

Ozark Mahoning Mine

Two people searching for crystals at the Ozark Mahoning Mine

Hardin County, IL

The Ozark Mahoning Mine is a special place for crystal seekers. Located in the middle of the state, it has become a popular destination for those looking to find quartz crystals. The mine was discovered in the late 1800s by miners searching for coal. They soon found the area rich in quartz deposits, which they mined and sold as gemstones.

The mine is on a hillside that overlooks the Mississippi River Valley and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. It’s an ideal spot for finding crystals, as its geology is composed of layers of quartz and sandstone which are perfect for uncovering those elusive gems.

It’s also easy to access – take a short drive from St Louis or Chicago, and you’ll be there in no time! Whether you’re an experienced crystal hunter or looking to try your luck, the Ozark Mahoning Mine is an ideal spot to find these precious stones.

Where we found crystals at the Ozark Mahoning Mine

Calcite and fluorite crystals are abundant in the area of the Ozark Mahoning Mine at Rosiclare.

Pope County

An area at Pope County where you can locate crystals

Pope County is located in the southern region of Illinois. It’s bordered to the north by Hardin County and to the south by Massac and Johnson Counties. The land in this area is mostly flat, with a few rolling hills here and there. The soil is mainly made up of clay and loam, which makes it a great place for growing crops.

Regarding geology, Pope County has plenty of limestones, quartz, and other minerals that can be abundant if you know where to look. This makes it an ideal spot for rockhounds looking for crystals! Some of the most beautiful crystals in the state can be found right here in Pope County. If you’re interested in finding some unique rocks or crystals, Pope County should definitely be on your list of places to explore!

Where we found crystals at Pope County

Pope County is abundant in chalcopyrite, fluorite, galena, and pyrite crystals, which you can locate at the area mines, including Pittsburg and McClellan.

Our Other Favorite Places For Crystal Hunting

An enormous pyrite with an irregular shape and rough surface

Following our favorite locations for finding crystals in the state we discussed above, we wanted to give you a wide range of options. In a state with such geological diversity, there are more incredible options to go crystal hunting and find Illinois geodes. More recommended areas that you should visit are listed below:

Where you can find crystals for free in Illinois

We’ll begin by discussing a few areas where you may hunt crystals for free. Even though many of the most incredible locations require a fee, certain places won’t cost you a dime!

County Location
Alexander Area stream gravels in Fayville area for agates and jaspers
Hancock Glacial drift deposits and area gravels for agates and jaspers
Hancock Local gravel pits in Warsaw for agates
Henry On the banks of Mississippi River at the Cordova area for agates
Henry Galva area at the north of Bishop Hill for agates and jaspers
Jo Da Viess Area gravel pits of East Dubuque for agate
Kane Old digs and dumps of the Road Fill Corporation and gravel pit on the north side of the road at Dundee area for agate and tourmaline

Other great places to dig for crystals

Here are some additional locations to look for crystals if you’re ready to spend cash. The price will vary depending on the season; it may be free occasionally, so contact them in advance.

County Location
Fulton Midland Coal Company Rapatee No. 5 Strip Mine in Farmington area for pyrite
Grundy Area coal mine dumps in East Brooklyn for pyrite
Hardin Cave-in-rock and Fluorspar mines area for calcite, chalcopyrite, galena, and pyrite crystals
Hardin The area mines in Fairview Landing at Rosiclare for chalcopyrite, galena, pyrite
Hardin Mahoning Mine for fluorite
Henderson Area gravel pits and mine dumps of Terre Haute for pyrite
Jo Da Viess At the area mine dumps of Apple River for galena and pyrite
Jo Da Viess At the regional mine dumps of Galena for calcite
Kane Conco Mine for calcite, chalcopyrite, and pyrite
Will On the dumps of regional mines in the coal formations at Wilmington area for pyrite

How to find crystals in Illinois

A stunning black tourmaline found at Illinois

Here are some more detailed tips on making the most of your time in an area you’re searching for. A few of the greatest locations to look for crystals are as follows:

Mines and mine dumps

Mines offer the opportunity to find crystals in their natural environment, which can be a thrilling experience. However, this type of searching should only be done by experienced miners with proper safety equipment and training, as mines can be dangerous places.

Mine dumps are also great sources for collecting crystals. These are piles of mining debris left behind from previous mining operations, often containing valuable gems and minerals. The advantage of searching in mine dumps is that they are much safer than actual mines and don’t require any special equipment or training. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the danger of cave-ins or other hazards found in underground mines.

Collecting from mine dumps requires patience as it can be difficult to distinguish between useful gems and minerals and other rocks or debris present in the dump. You may also need specialized tools such as a sifting screen or pickaxe to help separate the valuable materials from the rest. With the right safety equipment, knowledge, and patience, searching in mines and mine dumps can be a rewarding experience that yields beautiful crystals and gems!

Rivers and riverbanks

Searching in rivers and riverbanks is an exciting and rewarding way to find crystals. Not only are these locations rich in gems and minerals, but they also provide a unique opportunity to connect with nature. Keeping safety first is important when searching for crystals in rivers and riverbanks. Wear appropriate footwear, bring a buddy, and don’t take unnecessary risks when wading into the water.

It’s also important to remember that some of the most beautiful crystals can be found in plain sight along the shoreline. With your eyes peeled, you’ll be sure to spot some sparkling gems among the rocks and pebbles. Plus, with the ebb and flow of river currents, you never know what treasure could wash up along the banks!

All in all, searching for crystals in rivers and riverbanks is a great way to get out into nature while still having a chance at finding something special.

Sedimentary deposits

Sedimentary deposits are areas where rocks and sediment have been deposited over time, often by water. This can create beautiful crystal formations that are easy to spot. When looking for crystals in these areas, it’s important to pay attention to the surrounding rocks and sediment as they can provide clues as to the type of crystals that might be present.

It’s also important to be aware of any local regulations regarding rock collecting, as some areas may restrict it due to environmental concerns. Furthermore, using appropriate tools such as a hammer, chisel, or metal detector can make the process easier and more efficient. With careful observation and some luck, you could stumble upon some amazing finds in these sedimentary deposits!

Illinois Crystal Mining Laws And Regulations

Crystal hunting is a popular hobby that many people enjoy in Illinois. However, it’s important to be aware of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources regulations before engaging in this activity. Crystal hunting is allowed on public lands, but collecting on private lands requires permission from the landowner.

In addition, rock collecting is limited to 10 pounds per person per day and no more than 25 pounds per group per day. The collection of fossils and artifacts is prohibited, as they are protected under state law. It’s also important to note that any specimens collected must remain in their natural state; they may not be altered or modified.

The Best Crystal Shops In Illinois

High Ho Gems is a rock shop at Illinois where you can find and buy a variety of crystals.

The state offers many crystals spread out throughout such a vast area that many of us like making small purchases to complete our collections. If you’re seeking unique and stunning pieces for your collection, these are the best crystal shops in the state we’ve located:

Additional places to find crystals in nearby states

If you’ve already tried all of our recommendations above or are planning a trip out of the state, you should check out our guides for neighboring states:

If you have any recommendations we haven’t covered please leave them in the comments below!

Additional places to find crystals in nearby states

If you’ve already tried all of our recommendations above or are planning a trip out of the state, you should check out our guides for neighboring states:

If you have any recommendations we haven’t covered please leave them in the comments below!

About Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He has worked as a professional Geologist for over 20 years and holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters Degree in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Bachelors Degree in Geology from the University of Connecticut.

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