The 22 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Maryland In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

| Updated

The 22 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Maryland In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Updated

Maryland has some of the best gem mining spots in the United States. With its rich soils, it is a great place to find a variety of gemstones.

Our state also offers a variety of educational experiences related to gems, such as identification courses as well as carving classes. Whether you’re seasoned, new to the hobby, or just looking for a unique and fun experience, gem hunting here has something for everyone. So pack your bags, grab your tools, and get ready to explore the best spots here!

The best places to mine gems in Maryland are in the rivers, hills, coves, springs, mines, and creeks. Among the best places for gem mining in this region are the Bare Hills, Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area, Chrome Hill, Sacred Ground, and Geologic Times Corporation, which we have all covered in more depth below.

How We Picked The Best Places For Gem Mining in Maryland
In order to find the absolute best places in Maryland for gem mining, we had to consider a lot of things. It can be really tough to find good information, so it took us a long time to put together a solid list like the one below. The main inputs to our recommendations are as follows:

  • The extensive local experience and understanding of our team
  • Input from several gem hunting groups and organizations
  • The accessibility of the mining locations
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Private and public locations
  • A desire to include locations for both experienced gem hunters and those who are just starting out

Overall, we’ve been able to put together a great list that anyone can use to locate a lot of beautiful gems.

The Gemstones Found In Maryland You Can Mine

Beryl is among the rare gems found in Maryland

Maryland is incredibly blessed to have remarkable gemstones. We put together a few guides to help you find gem mines near you, as we know that each state is uniquely endowed and not everyone knows how to access this information. With the correct knowledge and a little bit of luck, you can uncover both rare and more common gems in our region.

Rare gemstones found in Maryland

  • Agate (Patuxent River Stone)
  • Beryl
  • Pearl

More common gemstones found here

  • Actinolite
  • Amber
  • Amethyst
  • Aquamarine
  • Azurite
  • Bornite
  • Brucite
  • Calcite
  • Chrysocolla
  • Citrine
  • Covellite
  • Diopside
  • Epidote
  • Feldspar
  • Garnet
  • Jasper
  • Magnesite
  • Malachite
  • Opal
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Serpentine
  • Smithsonite
  • Sphalerite
  • Sphene
  • Tremolite
  • Zircon
  • Zoisite

Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining In Maryland

We made a list of our favorite places that both adults and kids can refer to if they want to experience the joy of gem mining. For adults, these places can offer the chance to experience real gem hunting, while for kids, these places will help provide the best start to their journey.

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 directly with the location. We haven’t personally verified every location and the access requirements and collection rules often change without notice.

Many of the locations we mention will not allow collecting but are still great places for those who love to find beautiful rocks and minerals in the wild without keeping them. We also can’t guarantee you will find anything in these locations since they are constantly changing. 

Always get updated information directly from the source ahead of time to ensure responsible rockhounding. If you want even more current options it’s always a good idea to contact local rock and mineral clubs and groups

Bare Hills

In Bare Hills, a Serpentine is among the gems that one can find

Bare Hills, Baltimore Co., MD, United States

Bare Hills is a popular destination for rockhounds and amateur geologists alike. The area has been mined since the 1800s, as it is known for its wide variety of gems and minerals. The area also features several historic sites, including abandoned mines and the ruins of an old mill. You can pan for gems or purchase bags of ore to take home with you.

The Types of Gems Found In The Bare Hills

This place is well-known for being endowed with different kinds of gems, such as the following:

  • Actinolite
  • Agate
  • Epidote
  • Feldspar
  • Garnet
  • Malachite
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Serpentine
  • Tremolite
  • Zoisite

The Best Time To Visit Bare Hills

If you want to visit this location, the best time to do it is between late spring and early fall. The weather is mild during these months and the ground is not frozen, making it easier to dig and sift through the soil for gems. Additionally, many of the mining sites are open during these months.

Rock pick being used

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:

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

Northeast Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Northeastern 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.

Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area

A Magnesite is among the gems that can be found at the Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area.

5100 Deer Park Road, Owings Mills MD 21117

Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area, a place that includes a mix of meadows, wetlands, forests, and rock outcroppings, is known for its unique geology. Gem mining has been an activity in this area since the 19th century, when it was first discovered that deposits of gems were present here.When you visit this place, you can search for gems in the park’s streams and creeks. You can also get your hands on Maryland crystals here.

The Types of Gems Found In The Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area

This place belongs in our favorite list because it abounds in a wide variety of gemstones, such as:

  • Chromite
  • Feldspar
  • Magnesite
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area

The Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area’s best time for visitors is during the summer months. While it is open year-round, the warmer months provide the best conditions for gem mining. That is also why the park offers gem mining classes throughout the summer months.

Chrome Hill

An Actinolite is one only of the different gems that can be mined at Chrome Hill

Chrome Hill, Harford County, MD 21084

Chrome Hill was first discovered in 1875 by a prospector who found an abundance of gems and minerals in the soil. The site was quickly developed into a commercial mining operation and became one of the largest gem and mineral producers on the east coast. Today, Chrome Hill is still a popular destination for rockhounds and amateur geologists. The area is also known for its rich history, with many old buildings still standing from its heyday as a bustling mining community.

The Types of Gems Found In The Chrome Hill

The following gemstones, both rare and more common ones, can be found abundantly in this area:

  • Actinolite
  • Bronzite
  • Chromite
  • Garnet
  • Quartz
  • Serpentine

The Best Time To Visit Chrome Hill

The gem mines of Chrome Hill are open year-round, so visitors can enjoy a trip there during any season. But the best time to visit this location is during the summer months of June, July, and August. During these months, the weather is warm and dry, making it the ideal time to explore the area and mine gems.

Sacred Ground Mining Company – Great for kids

Adults and kids alike enjoy gem mining at the Sacred Ground Mining Company

20294 Garrett Highway, Oakland, MD 21550

Established in 2008, Sacred Ground Mining Company has become one of the most popular attractions in Maryland’s Appalachian Mountains. It offers a range of services, including gem mining parties, gemstone jewelry making classes, and custom jewelry design services. Their staff are available to help you learn about the history of gem mining in the area, as well as how to identify different types of gems.

The Types of Gems Found In The Sacred Ground Mining Company

This location is a great place to teach children all about gems, specially since each bag of mining rough contains different kinds of gemstones that can be found, not only in the region, but in different parts of the world.

The Best Time To Visit Sacred Ground Mining Company

The best time to visit Sacred Ground Mining Company is during the summer months when the weather is warmer. The place offers gem mining activities from May through September, and most people, especially families with kids, prefer to mine in the warmer months when they can enjoy being outdoors.

Geologic Times Corporation – Great for kids

Small kids enjoying gem mining at the Geologic Times Corporation

5500 Buckeystown Pike, Frederick, MD 21703

Over the past 30 years since it was founded, Geologic Times Corporation has grown to become one of the premier gem mining operations in the country. They offer an array of products and services, including custom jewelry design, mineral specimens for sale, educational programs for schools and organizations, and a wide selection of gems to mine at their on-site facility. Aside from offering high-quality gems and minerals, this location is also known as an excellent place to learn about gems and geology in general.

The Types of Gems Found In The Geologic Times Corporation

This place features a wide-range of different gemstones that can be found in the region, making it a great spot for kids to start their hobby.

The Best Time To Visit Geologic Times Corporation

Summer months are the best time to visit this place. The warm weather makes it easier to spend time outdoors and enjoy the experience. Additionally, the company offers gem mining events and activities during the summer months that families with kids can enjoy.

Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in Maryland

One of the more common gemstones that can be found in the region is Azurite.

Since Maryland is blessed with different kinds of gems, there are plenty other great spots for mining aside from the ones we selected above. Below are some of the other places where adults can experience real gem mining.

  • Baltimore County – Aquamarine, Beryl, Garnet, Quartz, Tourmaline
  • Reed Mine and Walken Mine – Brucite, Chromite, Quartz, Serpentine
  • Magothy River – Pyrite
  • New Windsor – Azurite, Bornite, Malachite, Smithsonite, Sphalerite
  • Flintville – Feldspar, Garnet, Quartz
  • Funks Pond Recreational Area – Serpentine, Chromite, Brucite, Magnesite
  • North Perry Point – Amber
  • Sullivan Cove – Amber
  • Elk Mills – Beryl, Garnet
  • White Marsh – Amethyst
  • Middlesburge – Chrysocolla
  • Rock Springs – Serpentine, Chromite, Brucite, Magnesite
  • Dollyhyde Creek – Bornite, Calcite, Covellite, Malachite, Quartz
  • Hunting Hill – Calcite, Diopside, Garnet, Opal, Serpentine

The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in Maryland

A kid enjoying gem mining at Tim's Gems Mobile Gold & Gem Mine

For families who are wanting to introduce their children to gem mining, here are more great suggestions of places that are family-friendly.

Maryland Gem Mining Laws And Regulations

Maryland state recreational gem hunting regulations are designed to ensure that any gems found in the state’s public lands are collected responsibly and sustainably. Collecting of gems from state parks, forests, and other public lands is strictly prohibited unless authorized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

A permit is required for recreational gem hunting on private land with permission from the landowner. If you plan on collecting them, you are limited to a quantity of 25 pounds or less per day, and all specimens must be labeled with your name, address, date, and location of collection. All specimens must be properly identified before leaving the collecting area. Any gems found must be reported to the Maryland DNR within 30 days of collection. It is illegal to sell or trade any gem taken from state lands without a permit from the department.

For more information on the state’s gem mining laws and regulations, visit the Maryland Department of Natural Resources link above.

Additional places to mine for gems in nearby states

Once you’ve been to each location on the above list, you may use the guides we’ve prepared below to explore even more rare gems in 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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