Gem mining in Indiana can be quite an adventure if you know where to go. From panning for gems at a nearby creek to digging for precious ones at an old mine, our state has plenty of options for aspiring gem miners. With so many different locations to explore, it can be difficult to decide which spot is the best for you. So read on to learn about these places and select the one (or two, we won’t judge you!) that perfectly suits you.
The best places to mine gems here are in the creeks and rivers, mountains and caves, quarries and mines that are spread out throughout our state. We discussed in depth below our favorite places here, namely, Maumee River, Huntington Quarry, Big Pine Creek, Copperhead Creek Gem Mine, and Metamora Gem Mine.
The Gemstones Found In Indiana You Can Mine
Our state is home to different kinds of gems that are ready to be discovered. And you can use this article as your guide as you go about this journey. But aside from Indiana, we also created guides that can help you find gem mines near you, no matter where you are. So ready your gears and prepare yourself for the exciting and rewarding thrills of gem mining!
Rare gemstones found in Indiana
More common gemstones found here
Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining In Indiana
We carefully selected our 5 favorite gem mining sites in our state. Adults who have been into gem mining for quite long can use this to uncover the bountiful gemstones of our state. For kids, these places can be good starting points to their discovery of the wonders of gem mining.
Fort Wayne, Northern IN
The Maumee River river is home to many different types of gems, that’s why it’s been popular for this activity since 1900’s. That time, settlers have already been panning for gold along the riverbanks. Later, miners discovered that certain areas along the river produced valuable gemstones. As more people moved into the area and began exploring, they uncovered a wealth of gems that could be collected from the riverbed. Today, it remains an ideal spot for anyone looking to find unique gemstones or start their own collection.
The Types of Gems Found In The Maumee River
This is a popular place for both amateur and professional collectors because it has an abundance of different kinds of gemstones, specially of the following:
The Best Time To Visit Maumee River
During the summer months of June, July, and August, the water levels are higher and the temperatures are warmer, making it the ideal time to visit here. However, if you don’t have the time during summer, gem mining can still be done year-round.
The tools every gem hunter will need
When you're out looking for gems it's very important that you bring the right tools with you. 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 gem miners which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhound 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 gem-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.
The quarry was first discovered in the mid-1800s and has been a popular destination for rockhounds and gem miners ever since. When you visit here, you can dig for different kinds of gemstones, enjoy guided tours of the area, and learn from the quarry’s educational programs about geology and gemstone identification.
The Types of Gems Found In The Huntington Quarry
This place is known for having different kinds of gems, such as the following:
The Best Time To Visit Huntington Quarry
If you are planning to visit here to search for gems, the best time to do so is during the summer months, from May through August. The summer months provide warmer weather and longer days, making it ideal for the activity.
Pine Village, IN
Big Pine Creek is nestled in the Sycamore State Forest and runs through the small town of Pine Village. The area has been a source of gems and minerals since the late 1800s, when miners first discovered deposits here. Since then, many individuals have come to the creek to search for valuable gems. In recent years, many people come to this place solely to look for gems.
The Types of Gems Found In The Big Pine Creek
This place is visited by people who want to search for different kinds of gems that are unique to the region. The following are the most frequently found here:
The Best Time To Visit Big Pine Creek
If you are interested in trying your luck looking for gems here, the best time to do so is in the summer months. The creek is usually at its fullest during this time, making your search easier. However, it is important to note that the creek can be dangerous during high water levels, so take ample safety precautions when visiting.
Copperhead Creek Gem Mine – Great for kids
79 North Van Buren Street, Nashville, IN 47448
Copperhead Creek Mine was established in the mid-1990s by two local residents, who have a passion for geology and wanted to share their knowledge with the public. When you visit here, you can search for different gems and attend classes on geology and gem identification. The mine also offers an educational tour of the property that includes information about the history of mining in our state, which is a great lesson for kids to take.
The Types of Gems Found In The Copperhead Creek Gem Mine
If you want to introduce kids to gem mining and to the different kinds of gemstones in our state, this is one of the best places to do it in. This location is rich in the following:
The Best Time To Visit Copperhead Creek Gem Mine
If you’re planning to go here with your kids, the best time to visit would be during summer months, between June and August. The weather is warm, but not too hot, and the days are long which allows for plenty of time to explore. The mine is open year-round, however, so you can also visit in other seasons.
Metamora Gem Mine – Great for kids
19055 South Main St. Metamora, IN 47030
Since 1991, Metamora Gem Mine has been in operation to provide quality gemstones. Today, it continues to offer unique gem mining experiences for all ages. You can purchase a bucket of ore or an individual gem bag and search for your own gems when you visit this place. You can also choose to buy jewelry made with the gems you will find or have these gems cut into beautiful stones.
The Types of Gems Found In The Metamora Gem Mine
Different kinds of rare and more common gems can be found at this place. Specifically, these gems are the ones naturally found in our state. You may check the list above to know what these gems are.
The Best Time To Visit Metamora Gem Mine
If you are visiting with kids, the best time to come here would be in the summer months, from May through September. The weather is usually mild and comfortable, making it a great time for outdoor activities such as searching for gems.
Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in Indiana
Now that we’ve discussed our favorite places for gem mining, we will also share with you some of the other great places in our state where you will enjoy gem mining, too. If you’re an adult who’s had an experience searching for gems elsewhere, these places will surely add more reason for you to keep doing gem hunting.
- Logansport – Apatite, Calcite, Pyrite, Quartz
- Bluffton – Dolomite, Pyrite
- Coal Hollow – Siderite
- Elizabethtown – Calcite, Fluorite
- Indianapolis – Moonstone
- Williams Creek – Amethyst, Quartz
- Highland Creek – Sapphire
- Marengo Cave – Aragonite, Calcite
- Norristown – Calcite, Fluorite, Marcasite
- Bloomington – Aragonite, Barite, Calcite, Fluorite
- Wyandotte Caves – Calcite
- Salt Creek Gravels – Quartz
- Morgan – Corundum, Quartz, Topaz
The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in Indiana
If you are looking for more family-friendly gem mining places in our state, you are in luck because our region have tons of these places. Your kids will have the time of their lives exploring and discovering different kinds of gemstones on these sites:
- Indiana Caverns – 1267 Green Acres Drive SW Corydon, IN 47112
- Rustic Rebels Geode and Crystal Mine – 1708 W University Ave. Muncie, IN 47303
- Geodes and Gemstones – 300 Hwy 35 N Knox, IN 46534
- Hinshaw Rock ‘N’ Gems – 1232 South County Road 650 West French Lick, IN 47432
Indiana Gem Mining Laws And Regulations
While our state law does not specifically regulate recreational gem mining, there are a number of local ordinances which may affect recreational gem mining activities.
It is important to research these local regulations before engaging in gem mining activity, such as those related to health and safety, environmental protection, and land use. Additionally, you should be aware of the property rights of the landowner. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) also offers guidance on responsible mineral collecting practices.
For more information on the state’s gem mining laws and regulations, visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’s link above.
Additional places to mine for gems in nearby states
After visiting all of the locations mentioned above, you can check the list of guides we’ve compiled below to find more gems in bordering states:
If you have any recommendations we haven’t covered, please leave them in the comments below!