The 32 Great Ways To Find And Dig For Crystals In Virginia In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 32 Great Ways To Find And Dig For Crystals In Virginia In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Are you looking for a sparkling adventure that will leave you in awe? Look no further than the beautiful state of Virginia, where you can find an abundance of crystals that will take your breath away. This state is a treasure trove of crystal formations waiting to be discovered.

There’s no denying that crystals are incredible and mesmerizing. These natural formations have been around for millions of years, and their unique shapes, colors, and patterns are truly breathtaking. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a first-time explorer, there’s nothing like the thrill of finding crystals in Virginia.

With so many great options in the state, you will surely have a successful hunt! So grab your gear, put on your hiking boots, and get ready for an adventure that will take you deep into the heart of Virginia’s crystal country.

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

A gorgeous epidote with a rough surface and irregular shape

Virginia is a hot spot for crystal hunters, as the state is home to an array of crystal deposits waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re looking for something shiny and smooth or jagged and rough, you’re bound to find what you’re searching for! With some luck and perseverance, you might even uncover a rare crystal that will make all your friends green with envy.

Rare crystals found in Virginia

  • Agate
  • Chrysocolla
  • Jasper
  • Malachite
  • Muscovite
  • Serpentine
  • Smoky Quartz
  • Tremolite
  • Unakite

More common crystals found here

  • Amazonite
  • Amethyst
  • Apatite
  • Azurite
  • Beryl
  • Calcite
  • Chalcopyrite
  • Epidote
  • Fluorite
  • Galena
  • Garnet
  • Hematite
  • Kyanite
  • Moonstone
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Topaz
  • Tourmaline

The Best Locations For Crystal Mining in Virginia

A tiny pretty muscovite with brown hues and white minerals

We’ve selected our top 5 suggestions from among the many incredible locations in Virginia where you can find crystals, and we’re positive you’ll love exploring them!

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.

Betty Baker Mine is Our Favorite Crystal Mine in Virginia

An area surrounding the Betty Baker Mine where you can find crystals

Blue Ridge Province, Carroll County

The Betty Baker Mine is a must-see if you’re wondering where to discover crystals in Virginia. This mine has a rich history, dating back to the 19th century, when it was originally used for copper mining. In the 1960s, a group of rockhounds discovered the mine’s hidden treasure trove of crystals, and it has been a popular spot for crystal hunting ever since. It’s also one of the best places to mine gems in Virginia.

The Betty Baker Mine is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the town of Amelia. Its unique geology, which includes a combination of volcanic and sedimentary rocks, makes it an ideal location for crystal formation. The mine’s owners are friendly and welcoming, and they provide all the tools and equipment you need to dig for crystals. Plus, the mine has a reputation for producing high-quality crystals,

Where we found crystals at the Betty Baker Mine

We had the most success searching for azurite, chalcopyrite, chrysocolla, galena, and pyrite crystals at Betty Baker Mine.

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.

Contrary Creek

A quiet area at Contrary Creek with surrounding creek and rock beds

Louisa County, Virginia 23117

Contrary Creek was first discovered in the 1800s, and was mined for its copper and other minerals. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s that rockhounds discovered the creek’s rich crystal deposits. Today, Contrary Creek is a popular spot for crystal hunting, and attracts visitors from all over the country.

The creek is a little off the beaten path, so you won’t have to compete with as many other crystal hunters. Additionally, the creek’s unique geology makes it an ideal location for crystal formation. And with a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work, you just might uncover a real treasure.

Where we found crystals at Contrary Creek

There is an abundance of azurite, calcite, chalcopyrite, galena, garnet, kyanite, malachite, pyrite, quartz, and serpentine crystals upstream of Contrary Creek. We’ve created a detailed guide on how much are crystals worth for additional knowledge.

Hottinger Mine

A mountain area at Hottinger Mine filled with large rocks

Otter Hill in Bedford County

The Hottinger Mine has been around since the early 1800s, when it was first used for lead and zinc mining. In the 1950s, however, it was discovered that the mine was also rich in quartz crystals, and it became a popular spot for hunters looking to score some amazing specimens.

Geographically, Hottinger Mine is situated in the rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains, surrounded by lush forests and bubbling streams. The mine’s unique geology has made it a prime spot for crystal hunting, with a variety of quartz crystals and other minerals waiting to be unearthed. The mine’s mineral-rich soil and underground water sources create the perfect environment for crystal growth, resulting in an abundance of beautiful specimens.

Where we found crystals at Hottinger Mine

We mostly found amazonite, garnet, and smoky quartz crystals in the whole area of Hottinger Mine at Bedford.

Morefield Mine

Morefield Mine signage where you can locate different types of crystals

13400 Butlers Rd, Amelia Court House, VA 23002, United States

If you’re a crystal lover, you gotta check out Morefield Mine in Virginia! It’s been around since the 1920s, and it’s become a real hotspot for rockhounds and mineral collectors. This place has a rich history of mining, and it’s been churning out some serious crystal treasure for decades. It’s an absolute gem of a destination for anyone who loves digging for treasures.

Located in Amelia County, Morefield Mine is situated on ancient ocean floor land. That means there’s a lot of cool stuff to be found there and you won’t be disappointed! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced collector, there’s something for everyone. The guided tours are great for people who want to get the most out of their experience and find some hidden gems.

Where we found crystals at Morefield Mine

Amazonite, amethyst, apatite, aquamarine, beryl, chalcopyrite, fluorite, galena, and quartz crystals are what we mostly found at the surrounding area of Morefield Mine at Amelia Court House.

Willis Mountain Mine

A huge pit at Willis Mountain Mine surrounded by grass and trees

30 Willis Mountain Plant Ln, Dillwyn, VA 23936, United States

Willis Mountain Mine has been around since the late 1800s and has gone through several owners and periods of activity. These days, it’s run by a company called American Kyanite, and they offer tours and opportunities for crystal enthusiasts to come and dig for crystals.

Willis Mountain is made up of a type of rock called kyanite, which is known for its crystal-forming properties. The area around the mine is also rich in other minerals like mica and quartz, which can add some variety to your finds.

And if you’re looking to find some crystals, this is definitely the place to go. The mine has produced some absolutely stunning specimens over the years, including massive kyanite crystals that can be several feet long. Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll strike it rich on your first visit, but that’s just part of the fun!

Where we found crystals at Willis Mountain Mine

We had the best luck locating apatite, garnet, hematite, kyanite, pyrite, and topaz crystals while going through the whole area of Willis Mountain Mine.

Our Other Favorite Places For Crystal Hunting

A stunning orange topaz with a smooth surface and uneven cut

As we previously stated, the top five locations above are not the only ones where you can look for crystals in this area. We have an exceptionally wealthy state, therefore there are tons of different places where you can dig for crystals, as well as locate geodes in Virginia. Here are a few examples:

Where you can find crystals for free in Virginia

While many of the best areas to look for crystals in this state need payment before digging, there are other locations where you won’t need to spend any money looking for these marvels of nature.

County Location
Ablemarle At the Charlottesville area, you can find epidotes and unakites at the Red Hill Quarry
Ablemarle Buck Mountain Creek and Moorman River for agate, amethyst, epidote, and jasper
Amherst Fancy Hill Ridge for amethyst and quartz
Grayson In area cut banks, quarries, and gravels of Hanks Knob for garnet, pyrite, and quartz
Loudoun Arlington Quarry for calcite, epidote, fluorite, and quartz

Other great places to dig for crystals

We’ve also collected a list of some of the locations you may visit if you don’t mind paying to dig for magnificent crystals. Keep in mind that depending on the season, the prices may vary, so be sure to check it out first before going.

County Location
Ablemarle Faber Mine for azurite, chalcopyrite, fluorite, and galena
Amelia Rutherford Mine for amazonite, amethyst, muscovite, quartz, and topaz
Amelia Richeson Mica Mine for amazonite and muscovite
Amelia Jefferson, Berry, Winston, Pinchback, and Schlegal Mines for apatite, beryl, fluorite, muscovite, quartz, and tourmaline
Bedford Bells Mine for amazonite, garnet, and smoky quartz
Franklin Franklin Mine and between Chestnut and Snow Creeks for apatite, beryl, garnet, quartz, and tourmaline
Grayson Hampton mine for garnet, kyanite, and tourmaline
Hanover Mica Mine Farm for garnet, kyanite, and tourmaline
Henry Ridgeway Mines for garnet and quartz
Prince Edward Baker Mountain Kyanite Mine and Briery Mine for garnet, kyanite, and topaz
Prince William Cabin Branch Mine for chalcopyrite, garnet, and galena
Rockingham Nearby Lead-Zinc Mine for calcite, chalcopyrite, galena, hematite, pyrite, and tremolie/td>

How to find crystals in Virginia

A large tremolite with a unique and wood-like surface

A number of our recommendations encompass broad or extensive areas, therefore to help you narrow down where exactly you should start your hunt on these places, below are some of the usual spots where you might locate crystals.

Mines and mine dumps

Searching in mines and mine dumps can be a real goldmine when it comes to finding some crystal gems. These locations offer a unique opportunity to get your hands on some rare and valuable crystals that you won’t find just lying around on the surface.

But let’s not overlook the fact that searching in mines and mine dumps comes with its own set of risks and challenges. Safety should always be a top priority, as mines can be unstable and dangerous. It’s essential to have the right equipment, including hard hats, gloves, and sturdy footwear.

One thing to keep in mind is that crystals can be found in a variety of different minerals, so it’s crucial to know what to look for. Familiarizing yourself with the different types of rocks and minerals that are commonly found in mines can give you an edge in your search.


If you’re looking for a rock-solid way to find some crystal gems, you might want to try your luck searching in quarries. Quarries are man-made sites that are typically used for mining rocks and minerals, and they can be a fantastic source of crystals.

One of the benefits of searching in quarries is that they’re often quite accessible and easy to get to. Unlike natural outcroppings or underground mines, quarries are usually located at ground level and don’t require any special equipment to access.

However, it’s important to keep safety in mind when searching in quarries, as the walls can be steep and unstable. Make sure you have proper footwear and clothing, and avoid areas that look particularly hazardous.

Streams and creeks

Streams and creeks are flowing bodies of water can be a great source of crystals, as they naturally erode rocks and minerals and carry them downstream. One of the benefits of searching in streams and creeks is that you don’t need any special equipment to get started. Just roll up your sleeves, put on some sturdy shoes, and start wading through the water.

However, it’s important to keep safety in mind when searching in streams and creeks. The water can be swift and unpredictable, and there may be hidden hazards like sharp rocks or submerged tree branches. Be sure to watch your step and stay alert.

Virginia Crystal Mining Laws And Regulations

Virginia has a number of regulations in place when it comes to recreational crystal mining. These regulations are designed to protect both the environment and the safety of those who are searching for crystals. A permit is required for all recreational mineral collecting. This permit can be obtained through the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. Certain areas in Virginia may be off-limits to recreational crystal mining. For example, some state parks and wildlife management areas prohibit mineral collecting.

Recreational crystal mining is only allowed in areas where it will not damage the environment or wildlife. It’s important to avoid disrupting natural habitats or damaging streams or other water sources. Mining can be dangerous, so it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself. This may include wearing appropriate safety gear, such as hard hats and gloves, and avoiding steep or unstable areas.

By following these regulations and taking appropriate safety precautions, recreational crystal mining can be a fun and rewarding activity in Virginia. However, it’s important to always be mindful of the impact you are having on the environment and to follow all regulations to ensure the continued availability of this resource for future generations.

The Best Crystal Shops In Virginia

Purchase different crystal specimens at Crystal Cottage in Virginia

If you lack the time or the desire to embark on a crystal hunting adventure, you might want to think about purchasing crystals from some of Virginia’s best crystal shops. You can choose from various crystals at each of the shops we’ve listed 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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