The 17 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Arkansas In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 17 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Arkansas In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Gem hunting is an exciting and rewarding activity, and we’ve proven that Arkansas is one of the best places to do it! The Natural State is home to various beautiful and valuable gems, and with its varied topography, there are plenty of places to look for them (even Diamonds!).

From the Ozark Mountains to the Ouachita Mountains, beginner gem miners and expert hunters can find stunning landscapes to explore and search for gems. So, prepare your tools and grab your friends! There are plenty of opportunities for gem mining in Arkansas just waiting for you to discover.

The parks, creeks, rivers, mines, caves, and mountains are the best places to look for gems in our state. We’ve covered in great detail below our favorite spots, including Crater of Diamonds State Park, Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines, Prairie Creek, Board Camp Crystal Mine, and Sweet Surrender Crystals.

How We Picked The Best Places For Gem Mining in Arkansas
In order to find the absolute best places in Arkansas for gem mining we had a lot of things to consider. 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 Arkansas You Can Mine

Raw diamond found in Arkansas

Fortunately, Arkansas is home to some magnificent gemstones. We’ve prepared many guides to help you locate gem mines near you because every state is diverse, and not everyone knows where to get this information. You can search for rare and more common gemstones in our state if you have the proper knowledge and good fortune.

Rare gemstones found in Arkansas

  • Diamonds
  • Dolomite
  • Quartz
  • Turquoise
  • Wavellite

More common gemstones found here

  • Agate
  • Amethyst
  • Apatite
  • Brookite
  • Calcite
  • Cinnabar
  • Diopside
  • Epidote
  • Fluorite
  • Garnet
  • Hematite
  • Jasper
  • Nepheline
  • Peridot
  • Pyrite
  • Serpentine
  • Smithsonite
  • Sphalerite
  • Sphene
  • Variscite

Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining in Arkansas

We’ve compiled our top recommendations for gem mining locations in this state. This can be used to find gemstones by adults who have already experienced mining for gems. We’ve also included suggestions for kids to try as they learn more about finding gems.

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

Crater Of Diamonds State Park

People mining gems at Crater of Diamonds State Park

209 State Park Rd, Murfreesboro, AR 71958, United States

Crater of Diamonds State Park, established in 1972, is the only diamond-producing site in the world that is open to the public. The park allows gem miners to search for diamonds and other precious stones. The park also offers geology and Arkansas diamonds educational programs for school groups and other organizations.

When we visited this area, we got the chance to explore its 37-acre plowed field, which is the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic crater.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Crater Of Diamonds State Park

This location is famous among expert gem miners and beginners because of the richness of gemstones present here. Other than diamonds, which are prevalent here, gem hunters may also find these:

  • Agate
  • Amethyst
  • Barite
  • Garnet
  • Hematite
  • Jasper
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Crater Of Diamonds State Park

The best time to visit Crater of Diamonds State Park is spring and summer. The park is open year-round and offers visitors the opportunity to search for diamonds from April through October.

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 rockhounding tools and kit 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 

Southwest Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Southwestern 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.

Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines

Gem hunters digging for gemstones at Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines

82 Wegner Crystal Ranch Rd, Mt Ida, AR 71957, United States

Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines is a quartz crystal mining operation located in the small town of Mt. Ida. Wegner has been mining quartz crystals since 1995. The mine is open to the public and offers a variety of guided tours and educational programs for gem hunters. It’s also a great site to find Arkansas crystals!

Gem miners can go on a self-guided tour of the mine, view a video about the history of quartz crystal mining, explore the gift shop, and even dig for their crystals. You can also participate in hands-on activities such as cutting and polishing quartz crystals.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines

This area is known for possessing quartz, but various gemstones may still be found, including the following:

  • Amethyst
  • Aquamarine
  • Citrine
  • Garnet
  • Rose Quartz
  • Smoky Citrine
  • Smoky Quartz
  • Tourmaline

The Best Time To Visit Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines

The best time to visit Wegner Quartz Crystal Mines is in April and October. The weather is milder during these times, allowing gem hunters to explore the crystal mines easily. Additionally, the mines are open year-round so gem miners can plan their trips accordingly.

Prairie Creek Campground

A few pieces of beautiful Epidotes located at Prairie Creek Campground

9300 N Park Rd, Rogers, AR 72756, United States

Prairie Creek Campground is a great way to explore the area’s natural beauty while searching for precious gems and minerals. We had the opportunity to participate in various educational programs offered at the campground, such as geology classes and gem identification workshops. Because of its beautiful scenery, excellent facilities, and educational opportunities, Prairie Creek Campground is among our list of great gem hunting destinations.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Prairie Creek

This location is visited by gem hunters who want to seek different types of gems. The typical gemstones found here are the following:

  • Amethyst
  • Diopside
  • Epidote
  • Garnet
  • Hematite
  • Peridot
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Prairie Creek

The summer months of June, July, and August are more conducive for activities like gemstone hunting. Various special events are also hosted in the campground during the summer, such as mining gems workshops where you can learn more about gems and find even more gemstones.

Board Camp Crystal Mine – Great for kids

Children searching for gems at Board Camp Crystal Mine

110 Polk Rd 62, Mena, AR 71953, United States

Board Camp Crystal Mine offers gem miners the opportunity to explore and search for various rare crystals, gems, and minerals. You can either hand-pick stones from the mine or purchase them from the shop. Board Camp Crystal Mine is also great for learning about geology, finding beautiful stones, and creating lasting memories with your friends and family.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Board Camp Crystal Mine

This is one of our state’s most excellent places to dig for gems. The following are often present in the area:

  • Amethyst
  • Calcite
  • Dolomite
  • Fluorite
  • Garnet
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Tourmaline

The Best Time To Visit Board Camp Crystal Mine

The weather is usually dry during June, July, and August, making navigating the mines easier while looking for gemstones.

Sweet Surrender Crystals – Great for kids

Three kids digging gems at Sweet Surrender Crystals

288 Horseshoe Bend Rd, Story, AR 71970, United States

Just north of Mount Ida in the stunning Ouachita Mountains is where you’ll find the Sweet Surrender Crystal Mine. The quartz capital of the world is located in this area and these mountains. Here, you have the chance to uncover some magnificent crystals in an active commercial mine.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Sweet Surrender Crystals

This spot has both rare and more common gems of different kinds. These are the ones frequently discovered here:

  • Agate
  • Amethyst
  • Fluorite
  • Jasper
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Sweet Surrender Crystals

They are open all year round, but the best time to visit is in the spring or fall when there are fewer crowds and a better chance to enjoy the natural beauty of this area.

Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in Arkansas

Three adults doing real gem mining in Arkansas

After exploring our favorite locations to dig for gems, we will also share some other great places in our state where you will enjoy real gem mining. If you’re an adult who has already tried searching for gems beforehand, these places will undoubtedly give you additional motivation to continue your gem hunting journey.

Some of the more common gems that are found here are easy to confuse among each other, that’s why we’ve put together a few guides to telling them apart:

The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in Arkansas

A girl doing public gem mining in Arkansas

Our state has many family-friendly public gem mining locations, so if you’re seeking more, you’re in luck. Your children will have a blast exploring and finding all sorts of gemstones in these places.

Arkansas Gem Mining Laws And Regulations

Arkansas allows recreational gem hunting on public lands designated as a state park or state-owned wildlife management area. Any person wishing to collect gems or minerals must obtain a permit from the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism.

All collected materials must be for personal use and cannot be sold or traded. Collecting is prohibited in areas posted “No Collecting” or any areas where it could cause damage to the environment. All tools used for collecting must be hand tools only, and no explosives can be used.

For more information about Arkansas’s gem mining laws and regulations, click on the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism website link.

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!

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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