The 21 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Connecticut In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

| Updated

The 21 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Connecticut In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Our beautiful state of Connecticut is the home of a lot of different gems and minerals. Whether you’re an expert gem hunter or are just beginning, there are many great locations to choose from! From shoreline coves to mountain ridges, these spots offer breathtaking views and a chance to find some of the rarest gems.

This article highlights our top locations where you can dig for gems in Connecticut and tips on making the most of your gem-seeking adventure. With various activities available for all ages, these are the perfect places to learn more about gem mining!

The best places to mine gems in Connecticut will be along lake beds and stream beds, loose along the shoreline, quarries, road cuts, and pay-to-dig mines. We will cover some great options below, like Walden Gem Quarry, Old Mine Park, and Plum Bank Beach.

How We Picked The Best Places For Gem Mining in Connecticut
In order to find the absolute best places in Connecticut 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 Connecticut You Can Mine

Some of the prettiest Danburites located while gem hunting in Connecticut

Although Connecticut is lucky to have access to some of the best gemstones, the conditions and accessibility of gem mining resources differ depending on where you are. After creating several tips and guides to help people find gem mines near them, we understand that very well! You can locate these rare and common gems with the proper knowledge and good fortune.

Rare gemstones found in Connecticut

  • Almandine Garnet
  • Barite
  • Danburite
  • Tourmaline

More common gemstones found here

  • Actinolite
  • Albite
  • Amethyst
  • Aquamarine
  • Aragonite
  • Beryl
  • Bornite
  • Calcite
  • Cerussite
  • Chrysocolla
  • Corundum
  • Datolite
  • Epidote
  • Feldspar
  • Fluorite
  • Malachite
  • Moonstone
  • Prehnite
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Siderite
  • Sphalerite
  • Spodumene
  • Staurolite
  • Talc

Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining in Connecticut

We’ve picked the five best areas to explore and seek gems in this state. These are just a few of the many beautiful locations available. Along with our recommendations for those experienced hunters looking where to mine for gems, we’ve also included great spots for those who wish to get started with their children.

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

Walden Gem Quarry

A gorgeous petalite discovered at Warden Gem Quarry

Portland, Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States

The Walden Gem Quarry is a unique geological site where amateur and professional geologists can explore and collect various gemstones found in the area. The quarry was discovered in the 1950s by a local boy and, since then, has become a popular destination for those interested in collecting gems.

The quarry also offers educational programs for adults and children, including geology lectures and hands-on activities such as rock polishing and gem identification.

The Types Of Gems Found At Walden Gem Quarry

This location is rich in precious gems. The following are some of the gems you may find here:

  • Albite
  • Aquamarine
  • Beryl
  • Garnet
  • Lepidolite
  • Petalite
  • Pollucite
  • Spodumene

It can be very hard to distinguish some of the more common gems that look so alike, so we’ve put together a few guides to help you tell specific gems apart:

The Best Time To Visit Walden Gem Quarry

The best time to visit Walden Gem Quarry is between May and September. These summer months offer longer daylight hours, allowing gem hunters more time to explore the area.

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.

Old Mine Park

A pretty blue topaz found at Old Mine Park

121 Old Mine Rd, Trumbull, CT 06611, United States

Old Mine Park is a historic mining site that was previously a tungsten mine. The mine was one of the first tungsten mines in the United States and produced high-grade tungsten ore for use in steel alloys and other products.

Today, the site is a popular destination for hikers, campers, gem miners, and geologists who come to see its unique geological features. You can explore the mine to seek gems, see old excavation sites, and learn about the area’s history as they wander around this fascinating site. This place is also a must-visit to find crystals in Connecticut.

The Types Of Gems Found At Old Mine Park

There are many unique gems in this area. Some of the gemstones you may discover here include the following:

  • Blue Topaz
  • Calcite
  • Fluorite
  • Pyrite
  • Scheelite

The Best Time To Visit Old Mine Park

The best time to visit Old Mine Park for searching gems is during the summer months of June, July, and August, when the weather is warmer and more comfortable for outdoor activities. Gem mining is especially popular when water levels are higher and the water is more transparent.

Plum Bank Beach

A handful of wonderful moonstones located at Plum Bank Beach

Old Saybrook, CT 06475, United States

When we visited Plum Bank Beach we found a perfect spot for an outdoor gem hunting adventure. Located on the shore of the Long Island Sound it had a surprising number of gems to collect and some truly beautiful scenery. If you prefer to collect along the beach instead of mining in the dirt you need to try this place!

The Types Of Gems Found At Plum Bank Beach

Here are a few of the gems you might locate here:

  • Agates
  • Moonstone

The Best Time To Visit Plum Bank Beach

The beach typically opens in late May and remains open through mid-September. The peak season for digging for gemstones at Plum Bank Beach is usually from June to August, when the water is warmest and the days are the longest.

Lucky 33 Gemstone Flume Mine – Great for kids

Kids looking for gems at Lucky 33 Gemstone Flume Mine

1353 Boston Post Rd # C, Old Saybrook, CT 06475, United States

The Lucky 33 Gemstone Flume Mine is a unique mine that is the only one of its kind in the country. The mine features a flume that carries gemstones from the depths of the earth to its surface. You can explore the flume and collect all colors, sizes, shapes, and types of gemstones.

The Lucky 33 Gemstone Flume Mine also offers educational programs for children and adults alike, as well as a variety of activities, such as panning for gems.

The Types Of Gems Found At Lucky 33 Gemstone Flume Mine

Some of the gems you could dig for here are as follows:

  • Amethyst
  • Calcite
  • Fluorite
  • Garnet
  • Labradorite
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Topaz
  • Tourmaline

The Best Time To Visit Lucky 33 Gemstone Flume Mine

The flume mine is open from 9 AM – 5 PM daily, and gem hunters can pay a fee to search for gems.

Nature’s Art Village – Great for kids

Children digging for gemstone at Nature's Art Village

1650 Hartford-New London Turnpike, Oakdale, CT 06370, United States

Nature’s Art Village is a family-friendly destination located in Oakdale. The park offers a variety of outdoor activities to enjoy, including a jackpot mine where you can dig for gemstones, a geode center, and an area to pan for gold.

Nature’s Art Village also has a museum dedicated to the history and culture of the area, as well as a nature center with interactive exhibits about the environment.

The Types Of Gems Found At Nature’s Art Village

Here are a couple of gemstones that you may discover in this location:

  • Amethyst
  • Aquamarine
  • Citrine
  • Garnet
  • Peridot
  • Quartz
  • Topaz
  • Tourmaline

The Best Time To Visit Nature’s Art Village

Nature’s Art Village accepts visitors on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 PM – 5 PM. Make sure to visit their website to purchase tickets before you explore the area.

Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in Connecticut

An elegant Sphalerite found while real gem mining in Connecticut

After you’ve had a chance to explore the suggested locations we listed above, Connecticut has many more fantastic sites for real gem mining. Below, we’ve highlighted locations with specific details where experienced gem miners can find more active mines.

  • Bantam Lake – Quartz
  • Bolton Notch State Park – Garnet, Quartz, Staurolite
  • Bristol Copper Mine – Bornite, Calcite, Chrysocolla, Malachite
  • Clinque Quarry – Amethyst, Smoky Quartz
  • Collins Hill – Apatite, Aquamarine, Beryl Citrine, Feldspar, Quartz, Tourmaline
  • East Gransby Quarry – Aragonite, Calcite, Celestine, Epidote, Fluorite, Prehnite, Quartz
  • Gillette Quarry – Amazonite, Aquamarine, Beryl, Chrysoberyl, Garnet, Quartz, Tourmaline
  • Hammonasset Beach State Park – Garnet
  • Hubbard Park – Quartz
  • Lane’s Mine – Pyrite, Sphalerite
  • New Haven Traprock Quarry – Amethyst
  • Old Iron Mine at Mine Hill – Chalcopyrite, Feldspar, Garnet, Quartz, Siderite, Sphalerite
  • Pelton’s Quarry – Citrine, Quartz
  • Pine Rock Quarry – Calcite, Prehnite, Serpentine
  • Quartzite Hill – Garnet
  • Riverside Quarry – Beryl, Tourmaline
  • Salmon River State Forest – Garnet

The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in Connecticut

Kids searching for gems

Below is our list of the state’s top family-friendly public gem mining locations. Although these are not typical mining areas, they offer fantastic activities to learn about gems and minerals.

Connecticut Gem Mining Laws And Regulations

Connecticut doesn’t have any official gem mining regulations or laws. However, any activity that disturbs the ground or vegetation may require a permit from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). It’s also important to note that all recreational activities, such as gem hunting, rock collecting, and prospecting, must comply with state and federal laws. These laws protect archaeological sites, historic sites, and the environment. Collecting gems from state parks is also prohibited.

For more information about the state’s gem mining laws and regulations, visit the Department of Energy and Environment Protection (DEEP) through the 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!

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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