Finding large, beautiful crystals in Tennessee is quite an adventure. The thrill of the hunt and the joy of displaying your finds for years to come is tough to beat!
Crystals are one of the most incredible and beautiful creations of nature, so it’s no wonder that people find so much joy in seeking them out. Truth be told, the thrill of crystal hunting is something that many get to experience because they just don’t know where to look. However, identifying the right places to look, especially in states like Tennessee where crystals are plentiful but often hidden, can be easy with the right guidance.
That’s why we have done the legwork for you! We traveled to some of the most sought-after spots to find crystals in Tennessee: Horse Mountain in Silvertooth Agate Fields, Little Tennessee River, Ben Lomond Mountain, Copperhill, and Cannon County.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, this guide will surely come in handy for you!
The Types of Tennessee Crystals You Can Find
Crystals are renowned for their beauty, with a dazzling array of colors and shapes that can range from delicate and intricate to bold and striking. Tennessee boasts of a diverse variety of crystals that make it an ideal destination for anyone looking to experience the joy of finding them.
Rare crystals found in Tennessee
More common crystals found here
The Best Locations For Crystal Mining in Tennessee
We’ll share with you first our top recommended places to find crystals in Tennessee. Our criterion for selecting them: fun and success at getting our hands on crystals!
Horse Mountain in Silvertooth Agate Fields is Our Favorite Crystal Mine in Pennsylvania
Bedford County, AZ
Horse Mountain in the Silvertooth Agate Fields is a real gem for crystal hunters, it’s even a great place to find gems in Tennesse. The fields were discovered in the 1960s and have been a popular destination for rockhounds ever since. In fact, it was once owned by a famous rockhound named Herschel Silvertooth, hence the name.
The mountain is located in the central part of our stte, near the small town of Altamont. It’s known for its rugged terrain with steep hills and rocky outcrops. The geology of the area is also quite interesting, with layers of sedimentary rock that have been exposed by erosion over time.
Why is this a good place to find crystals? Well, the Horse Mountain in particular is known for its Agates. But don’t be fooled, because Agates are not the only crystals you can find here. There are plenty others! So if you’re planning a trip here, make sure to come prepared because you’ll be in for some adventure.
Where we found crystals at Horse Mountain
If you’re in this place, there’s a high chance you are near crystals already! That’s because you can find them in the different nooks and crannies of this location.
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.
Lenoir City, TN
Little Tennessee River has been an important location for native peoples for thousands of years. The Cherokee, in particular, relied on the river for food, transportation, and trade. Today, it’s still an important part of the local economy and culture.
The river runs through the western part of North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, and is known for its clear, cold water and rocky bottom. The area is quite unique with a mix of ancient rock formations and more recent deposits from the last ice age.
The rocky bottom of the river is a great place to search for a variety of crystals. Many of these have been washed down from the surrounding mountains and deposited here. You can find them by sifting through the sand and gravel on the river bottom or by using a snorkel and mask to search for them underwater.
Where we found crystals at the Little Tennessee River
We had the best luck finding Quartz crystals and other crystals in the red clays of the Little Tennessee River, so we recommend you explore it too. Read more about crystals’ prices in this article.
Cannon County, TN
Cannon County was once home to the Native American tribes, including the Cherokee, who used the land for hunting and farming. Located in the central part of our state, it is known for its rolling hills and dense forests.
The county has a mix of limestone, shale, and sandstone formations that have been exposed over time by erosion and weathering. Because of this, it has been known to be rich with different types of crystals that come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes.
If you’re planning a trip to Cannon County, you’ll need a rock hammer, chisels, and safety glasses, as well as sturdy shoes and plenty of water. And as always, be respectful of the environment and follow any rules or regulations of the county.
Where we found crystals in Cannon County
If you’re here, then you’re in luck because pretty much the entire county is loaded with crystals! If you want to focus your efforts to find crystals here, you can search in all regional gravels, streams, fields, cliffs and bluffs, road cuts, and quarries for beautiful specimens of crystals like Calcite, Fluorite, Pyrite, and Celestite.
Ben Lomond Mountain
Shellsford Rd. McMinnville TN 37110
Ben Lomond Mountain has been an important location for people in our state for centuries. It was once home to the Cherokee tribe, who used the mountain for hunting and gathering resources. Today, it’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, including crystal hunters like ourselves!
As part of the Cumberland Plateau, the mountain is known for its rugged terrain, dense forests, and stunning views. Its interesting geology is a mix of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rock formations.
When visiting here, make sure to come prepared with the right equipment and tools. This is not to only ensure your success at finding crystals here, but to also help ensure the sustainability of responsible collecting in this area.
Where we found crystals at Ben Lomond Mountain
If you explore the West slope of Ben Lomond Mountain, you can find stunning samples of Calcite, Celestite, Marcasite, and Pyrite crystals.
Nestled in the southern part of our state, Copperhill is home to some of the best crystal hunting grounds you’ll ever come across. Copper mining was the main industry in this place for many years, and it’s no surprise that this activity led to the discovery of numerous minerals and crystals in the area. The copper mining operations have since closed down, but the abundance of crystals and minerals remains.
This area is located at the base of the Appalachian Mountains, which have been known to produce some of the most stunning crystals in the world. The mountains themselves are composed of a wide range of minerals.
That being said, Copperhill is undoubtedly a crystal hunter’s paradise!
Where we found crystals at Copperhill
We had the best luck finding beautiful Tennessee crystals at the area stream gravels of this place. When you’re here, you have the chance to get your hands on Azurite, Chalcopyrite, Galena, Garnet, Pyrite, Malachite, and Quartz crystals.
Our Other Favorite Places For Crystal Hunting
If you’re in for more crystal mining adventure, we have many other recommended places for you. After all, a state as bountiful in natural wonders as ours will not easily run out of areas to explore. In fact, some of these areas are also great for finding Tennessee geodes.
Where you can find crystals for free in Tennessee
In most cases, the best places to search for crystals require some fee. But this is NOT the case always. There are actually a ton of areas that are free to search through. Here are some of them:
|6 miles east on SR-64 at the Velmer Curvow Farm
|In road cuts and stream gravels of Townsend
|Regional road cuts along US 25W to La Follette
|North side of Boles Creek and 1 mile from the church
|South of city in road cuts of Monteagle area
|County wide in all road, railroad, stream cuts, and also in quarries
|A quarry northwest 4 miles near Allons and west of Rte. 52
|2 miles on US-70N at abandoned quarry
|Area road cuts and stream gravels
|At Richardson’s landing, area dredging operations, stream gravels and banks
|At the Boone Tree Quarry of Johnson City
|At the White Company limestone quarry
Other great places to dig for crystals
If you have no qualms paying for certain fees to dig for crystals, then here are the great areas that you can visit here. Take note that fees may vary (or may even be waived) depending on the season, so reach out first before heading out to these places.
|Area mines of Cleveland and Mineral Park
|Lead mine on Lake Norris and area mines of Straight Creek district
|Area mines of Del Rio and at the Gulf Fork Mines
|To the Haysborough lead mine
|North 3 miles to ½ miles north of the Moshein-Albany crossroads, then W on gravel road to Gethsemane School, north ½ mile on dirt road to the Brown-Tipton Mine
|East 5 miles, near village of Rocky on road to Vonore, the Bullard Barite Mine
|Area mines of Copperhill and Ducktown
|3.5 miles east at the Nuns Cove mines
|At the Elmwood Mine, Foley Mine, and area mines of Trousdale
|Bumpus Cove area mines
|Nolensville area mines
How to find crystals in Tennessee
Our recommendations above may not all be very specific, so if you need a little more guidance on where exactly to look, here are the areas that are most-rich in crystals:
Streams and Creeks
The water from streams and creeks is an amazing natural force that can move rocks and minerals from one place to another. Over time, this movement can concentrate certain types of crystals in specific areas, creating excellent opportunities for collectors. Streams and creeks also offer a chance to find specimens that have been freshly exposed by the flowing water. This means you may be able to find crystals that are in excellent condition, without having to dig or excavate.
Road cuts can be an excellent spot to search for crystals, too. They are sections of rock that have been exposed when a road is cut through a hillside. These sections of rock can reveal valuable minerals and crystals that are otherwise hidden underground.
Mines and Mine Dumps
While these locations might not be as easy to access as streams or road cuts, mines and mine dumps can yield some truly spectacular finds. Mines are underground tunnels or pits that are dug to extract minerals from the earth. Mine dumps, on the other hand, are piles of rock and soil that have been excavated from the mines and discarded on the surface. These piles can contain valuable minerals and crystals that were missed during the mining process.
Tennessee Crystal Mining Laws And Regulations
Collecting crystals in Tennessee is legal for as long as you comply with all local laws related to it, especially those implemented by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. As a general rule, you need to obtain necessary permits and permission from concerned government offices as well. For private lands, make sure you get the permission of the owner before doing any serious search. By following these local rules and regulations, you are helping make crystal hunting a sustainable activity in our state.
The Best Crystal Shops In Tennessee
Finding crystals in their natural environment takes time, energy, and effort that not everybody has. If you’re one of them, your best chance of taking home a crystal from our state is to visit the local crystal shops here. Here are our top recommended stores with an array of beautiful crystals for you to choose from:
- East Nashville Crystal Store – 804 Meridian St, Nashville, TN 37207
- Stonekeepers – 215 Robert Rose Dr e, Murfreesboro, TN 37129
- Cosmic Connections – 2117 8th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204
- Jae’s Gem Mine – 2416 Music Valley Dr Suite 102, Nashville, TN 37214
- Chattanooga Crystal Store – 1155 E Main St, Chattanooga, TN 37408
- Stone Harmony – 101 E Main St Suite 101, Gallatin, TN 37066
- Southern Crystal Company – 2215b Old Hickory Blvd, Old Hickory, TN 37138
- Sapphire & Sage – 3249 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216
- Crystals & Curiosities – 114 Nashville Hwy, Columbia, TN 38401
- Nashville Crystal Store – 2819 Columbine Pl #7, Nashville, TN 37204
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:
- Crystals in Kentucky
- Crystals in Virginia
- Crystals in North Carolina
- Crystals in Georgia
- Crystals in Alabama
- Crystals in Mississippi
- Crystals in Arkansas
- Crystals in Missouri
If you have any recommendations we haven’t covered, please leave them in the comments below!