The 37 Greatest Places To Find and Dig For Crystals In South Carolina In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

| Updated

The 37 Greatest Places To Find and Dig For Crystals In South Carolina In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


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!

How We Picked The Best Places To Find Crystals in South Carolina
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 South Carolina Crystals You Can Find

A bunch of translucent yellowish-brown Topaz crystals

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

  • Amazonite
  • Aquamarine
  • Emerald
  • Copper
  • Covellite
  • Kyanite
  • Sapphire
  • Topaz

More common crystals found here

  • Agate
  • Amethyst
  • Chalcedony
  • Chalcopyrite
  • Diamond
  • Epidote
  • Galena
  • Garnet
  • Hematite
  • Jasper
  • Malachite
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz (Clear, Smoky, and Rutilated)
  • Rutile
  • Serpentine
  • Tourmaline
  • Unakite

The Best Locations For Crystal Mining in South Carolina

A sample of candy blue Amazonite

Here are the topmost remarkable places for crystal mining that you should visit here:

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.

These requirements are subject to change without notice and may differ from what we state below.

Always get updated information directly from the source ahead of time to ensure responsible rockhounding.

Paris Mountain State Park is Our Favorite Crystal Mine in South Carolina

A scenic view of the waters, mountains, and forested areas of Paris Mountain State Park

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.

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 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:

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

Southeast Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Southeastern 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.

Bowens River

Waters and bridge atop the Bowens River

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.

Henry’s Knob

Aerial view of the rock formations and surrounding forests at Henry's Knob

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.


An aerial view of the waters and surrounding land at Clearwater

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.

King’s Creek

A stunning photo of King's Creek as the water flows down its rock formations

Cherokee, SC

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

An intricately-shaped orange-red Copper crystal

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.

County Location
Abbeville Countywide stream gravels, rock exposures, cut banks, and fields
Aiken Across the Savannah River bridge
Cherokee On Rte. 83 (the Buffalo Church road) and on the Andrew Moore farm
Edgefield In Turkey Creek within sight of Hwy. 25
Fairfield Lake Murray Dam, in rock exposures along river bank
Greenwood At Stockman’s Quarry and at Warren’s Place
Horry At area beach gravels of Myrtle Beach
Kershaw Tributary of the Catawba River, near the Wateree Reservoir
Laurens At Cross Hill area
Lexington At Lake Murray Dam area
Newberry Prosperity area
Pickens At the Head prospect and the Davus Prospect
Richland 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.

County Location
Anderson At the old Gaillard Mica Mine
Chesterfield Along the Lynches River in numerous old mines
Greenville At the Willimon Mine
Lancaster At the Haile Gold Mine and Blackmon Gold Mine
Oconee On the Middle Fork of Cheochee Creek old mine
Saluda Between the Big Creek and the Little Saluda River at the Culbreath Mine
Spartanburg At the abandoned Cowpens Mica Mine
Union On Fair Forest Creek at the Nott Mine
York At gold mines and Magnolia Mine of Hickory Grove area

How to find crystals in South Carolina

Close up look at shiny grayish Smoky Quartz crystals

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

A look at the front store window of Dixie Gem

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.

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.

Leave a Comment