The 22 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Georgia In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 22 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Georgia In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Georgia is a great state to go gem mining in! With a rich history and diverse landscape, it is no wonder that many people flock to the Peach State to find the perfect spot to go gem hunting. Whether you’re looking for jasper, quartz, and even gold, Georgia has it all.

Its abundance of crystal-clear rivers, hidden creeks, and mountainside mines make it the ideal state for gem mining. From the secluded mines of the Appalachian Mountains to the rocky creeks of the Piedmont plateau, you’ll be sure to find some of the finest gems Georgia has to offer. So grab your pickaxe and get ready to go gem hunting in the great state of Georgia!

The best places to mine gems in Georgia are going to be along creeks and rivers, loose along the coastal beaches, in quarries, in gravel deposits, and in pay-to-dig mines. There are some especially great options like Graves Mountain Mine, Hogg Mine, and Cedar Ridge that we will cover in more depth below.

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

Amethyst found in Georgia

We are incredibly lucky to have some amazing gemstones that can be found around Georgia! We’ve put together a lot of guides to help people find gem mines near them so we know that it’s not the same everywhere and not everyone has this opportunity. If you have the right knowledge and a little bit of luck, you can find both the rare and more common gems here.

Rare gemstones found here

  • Amethyst (quartz)
  • Garnets
  • Tourmaline

More common gemstones found here

  • Beryl
  • Geodes
  • Jasper
  • Kyanite
  • Quartz
  • Rutile

Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining in Georgia

If we had to choose just a few places to try gem mining it would be those ones listed below. I’ve included recommendations for adults as well as young children that want to get started and have denoted which is which:

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.

These requirements are subject to change without notice and may differ from what we state below.

Always get updated information directly from the source ahead of time to ensure responsible rockhounding.

Hogg Mine

Some gems that were discovered at Hogg mine

4098 Whitesville Rd, LaGrange, GA 30240

Hogg Mine is a historic gem mine located in the Appalachian Mountains. It is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and has been used for mining since the late 1800s. The area surrounding Hogg Mine was once home to a thriving mining and logging community, which has since been abandoned and left to nature.

Visitors can explore the old mining tunnels, view gem displays from around the world, and even hunt for their own gems. With its rich history and stunning scenery, Hogg Mine is a great place for visitors to explore and experience nature up close.

What To Expect When You Visit the Hogg Mine

When you visit the Hogg Mine in Georgia, you can expect to have a unique and exciting experience. You will be able to explore the old mining tunnels, view gem displays from around the world, and even hunt for your own gems.

The mine is open from April through October and visitors are welcome to bring their own tools for mining. Visitors should also be aware that there is no electricity or running water in the area so visitors should plan accordingly.

Finally, it is important to note that all visitors must sign a waiver before entering the mine and must follow all safety guidelines provided by the staff.

The Types of Gems Found in Hogg Mine

There are a wide variety of rocks and gems including:

  • Amethyst
  • Aquamarine
  • Beryl
  • Garnet
  • Mica
  • Quartz
  • Tourmaline

The Best Time to Visit Hogg Mine

The best time to visit is during the summer months, from April through October. During this time, the mine is open and visitors can explore the tunnels and search for gems. The weather is also typically warmer during this time of year, making it a more pleasant experience for visitors.

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 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 

Southeast Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Southeastern 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.

Graves Mountain Mine

People looking for gems at the Graves Mountain Mine

Hwy. 378, Lincolnton GA 30817

Graves Mountain Mine, located in Lincoln County, is an area rich in history and natural beauty. The area is home to some of the oldest mountain ranges in the United States and was once a popular site for gem mining. It even proves to be a great spot to find Georgia crystals. Today, visitors to Graves Mountain Mine can experience the thrill of mining as well as explore the surrounding area and take in its stunning views.

The mine itself was originally discovered in 1797 by Thomas Graves and includes several areas where visitors can search for gems such as quartz, garnet, amethyst, and tourmaline. There are also several hiking trails throughout the area that offer breathtaking views of nature.

What To Expect When You Visit the Graves Mountain Mine

When visiting Graves Mountain visitors should expect to get dirty! Gem mining is an outdoor activity that requires you to dig and sift through dirt and gravel in search of gems. You can purchase a bucket of material from the mine that contains a variety of different gemstones. After you have purchased the material, you will need to sift it carefully in order to find any gems hidden within it.

In addition to digging for gems, visitors should also expect to learn about the history of the area and its people. The area has been home to Native American tribes since before Europeans arrived, and there are many interesting stories about their lives and culture.

Finally, visitors should be aware that there may be some areas where it is not safe to explore due to possible dangers such as landslides or falling rocks. Be sure to stay on designated trails and follow all safety guidelines while exploring!

The Types of Gems Found in the Graves Mountain Mine

There are lots of great specimens here but it’s best known for:

  • Microcrystals
  • Quartz
  • Rutile crystals

The Best Time to Visit Graves Mountain Mine in Georgia

The best time to visit is during the spring and summer months, when the weather is warm and sunny. The mine is open year-round, but temperatures can be quite cold in the winter.

During the spring and summer months, visitors can take advantage of the mild temperatures and long days to explore the area more thoroughly. The mine also offers a variety of special events during these months such as gem mining classes and group tours.

Cedar Ridge Farm Amethyst Mine

Amethyst found at Cedar Ridge Farm Amethyst mine

32 Thomson Hwy, Warrenton, GA 30828

Cedar Ridge Farm Amethyst Mine is located in the Appalachian Mountains near Dahlonega. The mine offers visitors a unique experience of mining for amethyst, a beautiful purple gemstone, in an underground mine. Visitors can also explore the surrounding property to find quartz and other minerals.

The area boasts a rich history of mining and is home to some of the most beautiful quartz and amethyst crystals found in the southeastern United States. The mine offers guided tours, where visitors can learn more about the history of amethyst mining in the area as well as how to identify and collect specimens. In addition to gem mining, there is also has a gift shop offering jewelry made from locally-mined gems as well as other souvenirs from the area.

What To Expect When You Visit the Cedar Ridge Amethyst Mine

First, visitors will be given a safety briefing before they enter the mine. Next, they will be given instructions on how to identify and collect amethyst crystals. Visitors can then explore the mine and search for their own amethyst crystals. Once visitors have collected enough crystals, they can then purchase them from the gift shop.

Visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch near the mine or take home souvenirs and jewelry made from locally-mined gems.

The Types of Gems Found At Cedar Ridge Amethyst Mine

The main gem you will find here are Amethysts but there are many other gems and minerals that you might come across.

The Best Time to Visit the Cedar Ridge Mine

The best time to visit is during the summer months of June, July, and August. During this time, temperatures are more moderate and there is plenty of daylight for exploring the mine. Additionally, the summer months usually bring more visitors to the mine which can make for a fun and exciting experience.

Dukes Creek Gold and Ruby Mines – Great For Kids

Families mining at Dukes Creek Gold and Ruby Mine

6145 Helen Hwy, Sautee, GA, 30571

Dukes Creek Gold and Ruby Mines is located in the North Georgia Mountains, near Helen, Georgia. This area is known for its beautiful scenery and abundance of natural resources. The mine has been in operation since 1969, when it first opened as a gold panning attraction. Over the years, visitors have been able to mine for gems such as rubies and sapphires in addition to gold.

The mines are open year-round and offer a variety of options for gem mining. Visitors can choose from bucket sizes ranging from five gallons to twenty-five gallons, which contain an assortment of gemstones including rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethysts and topaz. Some buckets also contain fossils or arrowheads that were uncovered during mining operations. Visitors can use traditional methods such as sifting through dirt or use modern equipment such as sluice boxes to search for gems.

What To Expect When You Visit the Dukes Creek Gold and Ruby Mines

Upon arrival, you will be provided with all of the necessary equipment for your gem mining adventure. This includes a bucket, shovel, sifting screen, and panning trays. You will then be given instructions on how to properly use the equipment and how to identify different types of gems.

Once you have all of your equipment, it’s time to start mining! You will be able to search through dirt or use sluice boxes to look for gems in the creek. After finding some gems, you can take them home with you as a souvenir or have them cut and polished into jewelry pieces.

The Best Time to Visit Dukes Creek Gold and Ruby Mines

The best time to visit is during the months of April through October. During these months, the weather is warmer, making it a more enjoyable experience for visitors.

The Lilly Pad Village – Great For Kids

Group of children and parents mining at the Lilly Pad Village

24 Adelaide Dr, Blue Ridge, GA, 30513

The Lilly Pad Village in Georgia is a family-friendly gem mining destination that offers a unique experience for visitors. Visitors can pan for gemstones and fossils in the creeks and rivers of the area, creating memories that will last a lifetime. They offer guided tours of nearby mines, allowing guests to get a firsthand look at how gems are mined and collected.

With over 25 years of experience in the gem mining industry, The Lilly Pad Village has become one of the most popular attractions in north Georgia. Visitors can also find jewelry and crafts made from the gems found onsite, making it a great place to find souvenirs or gifts.

What To Expect When You Visit The Lilly Pad Village

You will be provided with all the necessary equipment and instructions to pan for gemstones in the creeks and rivers of the area. You can also join guided tours of nearby mines and learn more about how gems are mined, collected, and processed.

The Lilly Pad Village also offers a variety of gemstone jewelry and crafts made from the gems found onsite. It is sure to be a fun-filled day for everyone!

What Type of Gems Can You Mine At The Lilly Pad Village

There are several types of gems available to find including:

  • Emerald
  • Sapphire
  • Ruby
  • Garnet
  • Amethyst
  • Quarts
  • Tiger Eye
  • Moonstone

The Best Time to Visit The Lilly Pad Village

The best time to visit is during the summer months, from late May through early September. During this time, the weather is warm and the water is perfect for panning and searching for gems. The Lilly Pad Village also offers special events and activities throughout the summer, such as gemstone hunts, lectures on geology, and more.

Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in Georgia

Authentic gem mining happening in Georgia

If you’ve already tried out our recommendations from the list above there are still a lot of great options around the state. Here are some more great options for authentic gem mining. These are targeted more toward those who want to find working mines and other less developed options.

  • Athens – Beryl, Quartz
  • Blue Ridge – Garnets
  • Charlies Creek – Amethyst
  • Chatuge Lake – Corundum, Garnet, Quartz, Rutile
  • Chattahoochee River – Chalcedony, Jasper, Opal, Quartz, Selenite
  • Garnet Hill – Garnets
  • Jackson Crossroads Mine – Amethysts
  • Towns County – Amethyst
  • Turkey Hill – Garnet, Ruby, Tourmaline
  • Vaugh – Beryl, Quartz, Tourmaline

The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in Georgia

One of Georgia's best public gem mining locations

If you’re looking for more recommendations for public gem mining that are more family friendly there are a lot more to choose from. These tend to be in areas that have a history of commercial mining and outdoor gem mining. If you have kids that aren’t yet up for the more hard-core experience try these:

Georgia Amethyst Mines Worth Trying

We’ve already listed a few of these but if you’re just looking for the best Amethyst mines in Georgia here is a list worth trying. Not every one of these is open to the public for mining at all times but it’s a great place to start looking:

Jackson’s Crossroads – Hollis Norman Rd Tignall, GA 30668

Hogg Mine – 4098 Whitesville Rd, LaGrange, GA 30240

Huck’s Lost Mine – 1470 Appalachian Hwy, Blue Ridge, GA 30513

Outpost Gold & Gem Mining Co – 7901 S Main St, Helen, GA 30545

Aksa Mining Company – 8346 Aska Rd, Blue Ridge, GA 30513

Georgia Gem Mining Laws And Regulations

In Georgia, gemstone mining is regulated by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR has established regulations and safety procedures for gemstone mining that must be followed by all individuals and businesses who wish to mine for gems. For the full regulations visit their website at the link above.

The DNR also requires all gemstone miners to follow specific safety guidelines. These include wearing protective clothing such as hard hats, steel-toed boots, long pants and shirts with long sleeves; using safety glasses when handling machinery; using proper ventilation when working with hazardous materials; maintaining safe distances from explosives; avoiding working in confined spaces.

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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