From their intricate patterns to their mesmerizing colors, crystals have captivated us for centuries. For many, finding these natural wonders is not only a fun hobby but also an exciting adventure. However, finding crystals in South Carolina will require the right guidance.
That’s why we travelled around to discover the best sites to find crystals in South Carolina. We found out that the Paris Mountain State Park, Bowens River, Henry’s Knob, Clearwater, and King’s Creek are the remarkable places for crystal hunting in our state. Get to know more about them here!
The Types of South Carolina Crystals You Can Find
South Carolina is home to some of the most stunning crystals in the country. Our state’s varied geology, ranging from the ancient Blue Ridge Mountains to the coastal plains, means that there’s an abundance of different types of crystals here, such as the following:
Rare crystals found in South Carolina
More common crystals found here
- Quartz (Clear, Smoky, and Rutilated)
The Best Locations For Crystal Mining in South Carolina
Here are the topmost remarkable places for crystal mining that you should visit here:
Paris Mountain State Park is Our Favorite Crystal Mine in South Carolina
2401 State Park Rd, Greenville, SC 29609
A truly remarkable place to find some stunning crystals— and even to mine high-quality gems in South Carolina is Paris Mountain State Park. This beautiful area was once home to the Cherokee tribe, who hunted and fished in the surrounding mountains. Later, the park was used as a source of water for the city of Greenville, and it wasn’t until the 1930s that it was officially designated as a state park.
Paris Mountain State Park is located in the Upstate region of our state, just a short drive from Greenville. The park is situated on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which means that it boasts stunning views and an abundance of natural resources. Its geology is also incredibly diverse, with rocks ranging from granite to mica schist to gneiss.
This park is among our top recommended crystal mining sites here because it’s home to an abundance of crystals. These crystals can be found all throughout the park, particularly in areas where there has been recent erosion. What’s more, the park is open year-round and is pretty easy to get to. And while there’s a small fee for admission, there are tons of outdoor activities you can do here aside from searching for crystals. Win-win!
Where we found crystals at Paris Mountain State Park
We had the best time exploring the Boling Prospect at Paris Mountain State Park and we highly recommend that you search here, too. You can find different crystals like Garnet, Quartz (clear and smoky), Tourmaline, and many others here.
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 equipment 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:
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.
Cherokee County, SC
If you’re looking for a unique and rewarding crystal mining experience in our state, you won’t want to miss out on exploring the Bowens River. Located in the Piedmont region, Bowens River was once a hub for gold mining in the mid-1800s. Today, it’s known for its beautiful scenery and abundance of crystals.
The river winds through the heart of the Piedmont, which means that there are plenty of opportunities for exploring and collecting along its banks. The area is rich in metamorphic rocks, including gneiss and schist, which are known for their beautiful patterns and colors. There are also plenty of granite formations, which are home to an abundance of crystals.
Bowens River is a remarkable place for crystal hunting because its location in the Piedmont region means that it’s home to an incredible variety of crystals. The river’s winding path also means that there are plenty of opportunities to explore and collect, whether you’re on foot or in a kayak.
Where we found crystals at Bowens River
You can find amazing samples of Amethyst, Garnet, Sapphire, Emerald, Quartz, Rutile, and Topaz crystals in the gravels and slate exposures of Bowens River and its tributaries. To know more about crystals’ value, read up on our guide on its prices, too.
State Highway 55, Clover Township, York County, SC
Another place you shouldn’t miss out on exploring is Henry’s Knob, located in the Piedmont region of South Carolina. It was once a hub for gold mining in the mid-1800s, but today, it’s known for its stunning scenery and abundance of crystals.
Henry’s Knob is specifically known for its large and high-quality crystals that are often clear and well-formed, making them a prized addition to any collection. Plus, its rugged terrain and remote location make this place a great spot for an adventure in the great outdoors.
If you want to visit here, there are a few things to keep in mind. The area is located on private property, so you’ll need to obtain permission from the landowner before exploring. It’s also important to note that the area can be quite rugged and remote, so it’s a good idea to bring along a map and compass, as well as plenty of water and snacks. And of course, don’t forget your rock hammer!
Where we found crystals at Henry’s Knob
You can explore the rocky exposures of Henry’s Knob to find the best samples of Kyanite, Tourmaline, and other crystals here.
Horse Creek Valley, SC
Clearwater, located in the western part of our state, is known for its stunning scenery and abundance of minerals. To begin with, it’s situated in the picturesque Savannah River Valley and was once a thriving hub for gold mining in the early 1800s.
The area is rich in various rocks and minerals, such as granite, mica schist, and pegmatite, all of which are known for their beautiful patterns and colors. This unique geological environment makes Clearwater an ideal place to hunt for different types of crystals.
With its unique geology and abundance of minerals, Clearwater is a must-visit location for anyone interested in exploring the natural beauty of our state as they go about finding crystals.
Where we found crystals at Clearwater
We recommend starting your search in the gravels and float of Clearwater. Here, you can find crystals of Amethyst, Chalcedony, Quartz (clear, smoky, rutilated), and Rutile, among others.
After going all over our state, we can attest that King’s Creek is a treasure trove of beautiful and rare minerals. This location has been a popular destination for rockhounds and mineral collectors since the early 1900s. It was once home to thriving mining communities, and today, visitors can still find remnants of old mining operations scattered throughout the site.
When it comes to geography and geology, King’s Creek is situated in the heart of the Piedmont region of South Carolina, a region known for its rich and diverse geological environment.
We included King’s Creek in our top recommendations because it’s home to some of the most beautiful and unique specimens of crystals in the state. Additionally, the natural scenery in and around the creek is breathtaking, making it an ideal spot for a day of adventure and exploration.
Where we found crystals at King’s Creek
The area mines of King’s Creek abounds in different kinds of crystals, like Chalcopyrite, Galena, Kyanite, Quartz, Pyrite, and many others.
Our Other Favorite Places For Crystal Hunting
Luckily, South Carolina doesn’t easily run short of crystal hunting places. In fact, we have plenty more to suggest to you, in case you’ve already visited the top 5 that we shared above. A number of these places are also great sites to find South Carolina geodes.
Where you can find crystals for free in South Carolina
Here are some of the best free-to-search places here. We thought of separating these from the ones where you’ll have to pay a fee, just in case you want to find your crystals without much cost.
|Countywide stream gravels, rock exposures, cut banks, and fields
|Across the Savannah River bridge
|On Rte. 83 (the Buffalo Church road) and on the Andrew Moore farm
|In Turkey Creek within sight of Hwy. 25
|Lake Murray Dam, in rock exposures along river bank
|At Stockman’s Quarry and at Warren’s Place
|At area beach gravels of Myrtle Beach
|Tributary of the Catawba River, near the Wateree Reservoir
|At Cross Hill area
|At Lake Murray Dam area
|At the Head prospect and the Davus Prospect
|Along the east shore of Lake Murray
If you find yourself struggling to differentiate between crystals, our handy guides are here to save the day. With clear explanations and helpful tips, you’ll soon become an expert at telling similar crystals apart:
Other great places to dig for crystals
The following places are the crystal mining site here where you’d have to pay a certain fee to explore. Take note that the fees may vary depending on the season (or sometimes, it can be free, too) so make sure to reach out to these places before heading out.
|At the old Gaillard Mica Mine
|Along the Lynches River in numerous old mines
|At the Willimon Mine
|At the Haile Gold Mine and Blackmon Gold Mine
|On the Middle Fork of Cheochee Creek old mine
|Between the Big Creek and the Little Saluda River at the Culbreath Mine
|At the abandoned Cowpens Mica Mine
|On Fair Forest Creek at the Nott Mine
|At gold mines and Magnolia Mine of Hickory Grove area
How to find crystals in South Carolina
Many of the places we recommended above cover generally big areas, so to help you narrow down your search, here are some of the specific locations where you can usually find crystals. You can start your journey here:
Mines and Mine Dumps
Mines and mine dumps contain rocks and minerals that have been dug up from deep within the earth. As miners extract valuable minerals from the ground, they often discard the leftover rock, known as mine dumps. These dumps can contain a wide variety of crystals, which also often come in large clusters. This is because these locations have been untouched for years, allowing the crystals to grow undisturbed. Plus, the crystals here are typically in their natural state, which means that they haven’t been polished or altered in any way.
Streams and Creeks
Streams and creeks are waterways that offer a rich variety of crystals. They often contain rocks and minerals that have been eroded away from nearby geological formations. Over time, these rocks are carried downstream by the water and can accumulate along the streambed. Searching for crystals here spark a sense of adventure because you just never know what you might find. The excitement of discovering a beautiful crystal in the water is truly unmatched!
A quarry is a type of open-pit mine where rock, stone, and minerals are extracted. In South Carolina, there are many quarries that produce a variety of minerals and crystals. Since large amounts of rock and minerals are exposed here, crystals have greater visibility and accessibility here. Quarries are also known for producing high-quality specimens due to the unique geological processes that occur in the area. However, it’s important to note that these places are often private property and require permission from the owner before accessing.
South Carolina Crystal Mining Laws And Regulations
Crystal hunting is legal in South Carolina if you comply with the local laws of our state, especially the ones imposed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) who regulates the activity here. First and foremost, make sure you obtain any necessary permits from concerned government agencies or permission from the owner of any private land you’ll explore. Secondly, familiarize yourself with any environmental guidelines in the area. And last but not the least, make sure you respect any crystal mining restrictions that exists in the location. By doing this, you are helping ensure that this activity remains sustainable and legal for years to come.
The Best Crystal Shops In South Carolina
If you only have limited time to spend looking for crystals in our state, your best and surest bet is to visit the local crystals shops here. Don’t worry, because these stores has some of the most diverse options when it comes to available crystals.
- A&A Rockshop – 1614, 1624 W Main St, Lexington, SC 29072
- Gifu Crystal Xchange – 510 U.S. 17 Business South Frontage Rd, Surfside Beach, SC 29575
- Artesian Springs Day Spa & Crystal Shop – Artesian Springs Day Spa, 505 N Hickory St, Summerville, SC 29483
- Beckham’s Barn – 1751 Kennerly Rd, Irmo, SC 29063
- Wild Alabaster – 2000 Reynolds Ave Unit 103, North Charleston, SC 29405
- Pennies & Feathers Gemstones – 566 N Anderson Rd, Rock Hill, SC 29730
- Hill Rock Shop – 140 E Main St Suite 100, Rock Hill, SC 29730
- Dixie Gem – 2517 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville, SC 29609
- Black Market Minerals – 4892 Hwy 17, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
- The Gem Store – 509 ByPass 123 Suite E, Seneca, SC 29678
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!