Gemstone mining in Mississippi is a fun and affordable way to experience our state’s natural beauty and rich history! It is home to some of the best spots where you can find an abundance of gemstones.
Whether you’re a seasoned gem miner or a beginner, you’ll have an unforgettable experience here. From private mines to public mineral parks, our state offers a variety of options for gem miners. So, grab your shovel and pickaxe and start your adventure today!
The best places to mine gems here are in the springs, rivers, creek, forests, and mines. We selected Mississippi River, Bell Creek, Homochitto River, Mississippi Petrified Forest, and Mini Gem Mine as our favorite places to look for gems here and we discussed below our reasons for each of them.
The Gemstones Found In Mississippi You Can Mine
Due to its interesting geology, our state has fewer gem mine sites compared to others, but searching for gemstones here is equally fun, rewarding, and exciting as in other states. In this article, we’ll share with you our favorite places to find these gems. But apart from Mississippi, we also created other guides to help you find gem mines near you if you’re eyeing to visit other states. Ready to find your next set of gemstones?
Rare gemstones found in Mississippi
More common gemstones found here
Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining In Mississippi
Below is a list of our favorite places to gem mines for anybody who is looking to explore our state. Specifically, we selected three places for adults, who’d love to have some real gem mining experience, and two places that are great for kids, who may be new to gem mining but are very much interested and excited to try it out.
Mississippi River, MS
The Mississippi River flows from its source in Lake Itasca, Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, making it a major river in the United States. Along its course, it passes through or borders 10 different states, including our state. The river has been a key part of its history, culture, and economy for centuries. And gem mining here has been an important part of our state’s economy since the 1800s. To this day, different kinds of gemstones are found in areas along the river and its tributaries.
The Types of Gems Found In The Mississippi River
This place is our favorite because, aside from its natural beauty, it also abounds in different gemstones. Most abundant among these are the following:
The Best Time To Visit Mississippi River
If you’re planning your visit here, the best time would be in the spring months. The warmer weather makes it easier to search for gems and the river’s water levels are usually lower than other times of year, making it easier to access areas where these can be found.
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 rockhounding tools 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.
Pearl River County, MS
Located in the DeSoto National Forest, just south of Hattiesburg, Bell Creek has been mined since the early 1900s. It features a variety of different types of rocks and minerals and is known for its abundance of gemstones, making it an ideal spot for gem hunting. When you visit here, you can use traditional panning methods or sluicing to search for gems in the creek’s gravel beds.
The Types of Gems Found In Bell Creek
This place is known for having rich deposits of Agate.
The Best Time To Visit Bell Creek
Visiting this place will be best done during the months of April and May. During these months, the weather is warm, but not too hot, and the creek is usually full enough to support gem mining activities. The summer months can be too hot and dry for successful gem mining.
The Homochitto River, a tributary of the Mississippi River, has been mined since the early 1900s. It was first discovered by Spanish explorers in 1541, who found it to be a valuable source of gold and silver for trading with Native Americans. Later, during the 19th century, settlers began to mine along the river for iron ore and other minerals. Since then, gem mining became popular along the river as prospectors discovered an abundance of Quartz and Agates in its waters. Today, the activity remains popular among rockhounds and tourists alike who come to search for gems along its banks.
The Types of Gems Found In The Homochitto River
This location has plenty of different kinds of gemstones, but most abundant of these are the following:
The Best Time To Visit Homochitto River
Planning to visit here? The best time to do so would be during the months of May through August. During this time, the river is at its highest and the water is warm enough for swimming. The weather is also warm and sunny, making it an ideal time to search for gems along the banks of the river.
Mississippi Petrified Forest – Great for kids
124 Forest Park Road P.O. Box 37, Flora, MS 39071
The Mississippi Petrified Forest, home to a wide variety of minerals and gems, was formed over millions of years when volcanic ash and lava covered the area, preserving the organic matter inside. The first gem mining activity here dates back to the early 1800s when local Native Americans collected colorful stones from nearby streams. In the late 1800s, professional gem miners began to explore the forest and found an abundance of gemstones. Today, you can take part in gem mining here by purchasing buckets of mine roughs from local vendors or ready-made bags filled with stones for panning. You can also choose to search for your own gems by exploring shallow streams and creeks around the park.
The Types of Gems Found In The Mississippi Petrified Forest
Kids will enjoy this place because there are different kinds of gemstones that can be found here. Some of these are:
The Best Time To Visit Mississippi Petrified Forest
If you want to visit here, do so in the spring months. The weather is milder during this time and the ground is softer, making it easier to search for gems. However, if you’re not available during these months, just know that the park is open year-round and you can still find gems during the cooler months.
Mini Gem Mine – Great for kids
Mini Gem Mine has been offering its services since the late 1990s when it first opened its doors. Aside from offering the chance to gem mines, this place also features an on-site gift shop where visitors can purchase jewelry featuring some of their favorite gems found at the mine. When you visit here, you can purchase a bag of mining rough and use provided tools to search for precious gemstones. After your search is complete, you can trade in your finds for an array of beautiful stones or take them home as souvenirs.
The Types of Gems Found In The Mine Gem Mine
This place offers visitors a chance to discover different kinds of gemstones, particularly those that are naturally found in our region.
The Best Time To Visit Mini Gem Mine
If you want to visit here, do so during the spring months, when the weather is not too warm and not too cold. The days are relatively longer during this time, too, allowing you to spend more time outdoors exploring and mining for gems.
Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in Mississippi
Aside from our favorite places, our state also has other great locations where you can discover more gemstones of different kinds. These locations have been visited by beginners and more experienced gem hunters alike.
- Wesson – Agate, Chalcedony
- Paden – Amber
- Adams County – Agate, Chalcedony, Quartz
- Clairborne – Opal
- Twenty Mile Springs – Amber
The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in Mississippi
If you’re searching for more family-friendly places here, below are some more great locations. These are perfect for families who’d love to expose their kids to the thrill and excitement of finding gems.
- Big Play Entertainment Center – 1842 Beach Blvd. Biloxi, MS 39531
- Landrum’s Homestead & Village – 1356 Highway 15 S Laurel, MS 39443
Mississippi Gem Mining Laws And Regulations
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has authority over activities that could potentially cause environmental damage, including gem mining and the discharge of pollutants into surface water or groundwater, or the disturbance of wetlands or other critical habitat areas. Depending on the scope of the gem hunt, you may be required to acquire a permit from the MDEQ.
Also note that collecting gems on private property requires permission from the landowner and would likely be subject to local ordinances and regulations as well as any contractual agreements between the landowner and recreational miner.
For more information on the state’s gem mining laws and regulations, visit the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s link above.
Additional Places To Mine For Gems 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!