The 26 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In New York In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 26 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In New York In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


New York is home to some of the most beautiful gems in the world and is also a great place to go gem hunting. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gem hunter, there are plenty of amazing spots to explore in the Empire State. From the Adirondack Mountains to the rolling hills of the Catskills, our state is full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered.

If you’re interested in collecting rare crystals or finding hidden gemstones, then New York has something for everyone. This article will explore some of our top recommendations to dig for gems. So grab your tools and get ready for a treasure hunt!

Our state’s parks, mines, creeks, rivers, lakes, and mountains are the best spots to look for gemstones. Our favorite places to search for gems include Lake Harris Campground, Hooper Garnet Mine, Adirondack Park, Ace of Diamond Mine and Campground, and Crystal Grove Diamond Mine and Campground, which we have detailed in a great description below.

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

Five stunning Herkimer Diamonds found while gem hunting in New York

Luckily, some spectacular gemstones may be found in New York. Since each state is unique and not everyone knows where to find this information, we’ve created many guides to assist you in finding gem mines close to you. With the proper knowledge and luck, you can find rare and common gems in this state.

Rare gemstones found in New York

  • Almandine Garnet
  • Calcite
  • Celestite
  • Herkimer Diamond
  • Sphalerite

More common gemstones found here

  • Agate
  • Albite
  • Apatite
  • Bloodstone
  • Brucite
  • Clinochlore
  • Corundum
  • Diopside
  • Epidote
  • Fluorite
  • Gypsum
  • Hematite
  • Jasper
  • Labradorite
  • Orthoclase
  • Perthite
  • Sapphire
  • Scapolite
  • Scorodite
  • Serpentine
  • Sunstone
  • Tremolite

Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining in New York

These are the places in the state we’ve found to be the best for mining gems. To learn more about how to mine gems, you must go to these well-known places. We also gave ideas for places where kids can learn about gem hunting and enjoy the thrill of it.

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.

Lake Harris Campground

Beautiful Diopsides located at Lake Harris Campground

Newcomb, NY 12852, United States

Lake Harris Campground offers a unique experience for campers and adventure seekers alike. The campground is home to a variety of activities, including gem hunting. Gem hunters can search for precious stones in the lake’s gravel beds. You can also rent equipment from the campground store and look for gemstones.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Lake Harris Campground

Here, gem hunters can locate various gemstones, including:

  • Albite
  • Apatite
  • Diopside
  • Pyrite
  • Smoky Quartz
  • Scapolite
  • Tourmaline
  • Tremolite

The Best Time To Visit Lake Harris Campground

The best time to visit Lake Harris Campground to dig for gems is during the summer months of June, July, and August. These months provide the most favorable weather conditions for mining gemstones and other outdoor activities.

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.

Hooper Garnet Mine

Two people searching for gemstones at Hooper Garnet Mine

North Creek, NY 12853, United States

Hooper Garnet Mine is located in the Adirondack Mountains and is one of the country’s oldest and most famous garnet mines. The mine has been producing high-quality garnets since 1878.

Here we experienced Hooper Garnet Mine’s tours of the mine and various educational programs about geology, mining history, and garnet formation. We also had the chance to purchase garnets from the gift shop onsite. You may also visit this article for more areas you can find crystals in New York.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Hooper Garnet Mine

This mine has produced numerous gemstones over the years, some of which include:

  • Albite
  • Almandine Garnet
  • Rutile

The Best Time To Visit Hooper Garnet Mine

The mine is open year-round, but gem hunters can enjoy a more comfortable experience while exploring the mine during summer.

Adirondack Park

A handful of pretty Corundums found at Adirondack Park

New York, NY, United States

Adirondack Park is a vast and beautiful natural area located in the northeastern part of the Empire State. It encompasses over 6 million acres of land and water, making it the largest publicly protected area in the country. The park is home to various ecosystems, including forests, mountains, lakes, rivers, wetlands, and more.

Its unique combination of human culture and natural beauty makes it a popular destination for outdoor recreation, such as gemstone hunting. Adirondack Park is home to many gems, minerals, and fossils, and gem miners can search for these treasures in the streams and rivers of the park.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Adirondack Park

The gemstones frequently encountered here are:

  • Corundum
  • Garnet
  • Herkimer Diamond

The Best Time To Visit Adirondack Park

The weather is usually mild and sunny from May to October, making it an ideal time for looking for gems. The park also offers a variety of trails and scenic views that are best enjoyed during the warmer months.

Ace Of Diamond Mine And Campground – Great for kids

Children mining gems at Ace of Diamond Mine and Campground

84 Herkimer Street, Middleville, NY 13406, United States

Ace of Diamond Mine and Campground is a gem hunting and camping destination located in the Catskill Mountains, where you can explore the mine for various gemstones. This campground offers a wide range of activities for all ages. You can participate in various activities such as gold panning or prospecting for gems.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Ace Of Diamond Mine And Campground

This area contains many gems and minerals of excellent quality. But the most typical gemstones found here are:

  • Amethyst
  • Aquamarine
  • Citrine
  • Emerald
  • Garnet
  • Herkimer Diamond
  • Opal
  • Peridot
  • Quartz
  • Ruby
  • Sapphire
  • Topaz

The Best Time To Visit Ace Of Diamond Mine And Campground

The peak season for hunting gems is usually May through August, when temperatures are warm enough to make outdoor activities enjoyable. During these months, gem miners can expect to find various gems.

Crystal Grove Diamond Mine and Campground – Great for kids

Kids looking for gems at Crystal Grove Diamond Mine and Campground

Crystal Grove, 161 Co Rd 114 St. Johnsville, NY 13452, United States

Crystal Grove Diamond Mine and Campground is an outdoor adventure park and diamond mine where you can pan for real diamonds and other precious gems! The mine also features a campground with RV sites, camping cabins, tent sites, and more. Gem miners can explore the mine’s trails or take a guided tour.

This was an unforgettable experience that allowed us to not just only search for gems but also camp out and do different fun outdoor activities.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Crystal Grove Diamond Mine And Campground

The following gemstones are most often discovered here:

  • Agate
  • Amethyst
  • Apatite
  • Calcite
  • Garnet
  • Herkimer Diamond
  • Quartz
  • Tourmaline

The Best Time To Visit Crystal Grove Diamond Mine And Campground

The best time to visit the Crystal Grove Diamond Mine and Campground is in July and August when the weather is warm and sunny. The campground is open from April through October, but summer is the best time for camping, exploring, and mining gems.

Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in New York

A pile of wonderful Serpentine discovered while real gem mining in New York

There are plenty more amazing places in New York to look for gems. In addition to our top selections from the list above, here are a few more wonderful places you should visit if you want to go real gem mining in this state.

  • Arnold Hill Mine – Jasper, Quartz
  • Brant Lake – Apatite, Calcite, Diopside, Pyrite, Rutile, Tourmaline
  • Buttermilk Falls State Park – Serpentine
  • Candice Lake – Labradorite, Pyrite
  • Cascade Lakes – Labradorite
  • Clay Pit Pond State Park – Serpentine
  • Crehore Mine – Garnet
  • Diamond Acres Mine – Herkimer Diamond, Quartz
  • Eighteen Mile Creek – Pyrite
  • High Rock Park – Serpentine
  • Humphrey Mountain – Almandine Garnet
  • Lyon Mountain – Albite, Apatite, Calcite, Epidote, Hematite, Orthoclase, Perthite, Pyrite, Quartz, Zircon
  • Opalescent River -Labradorite
  • Oswegatchie River – Apatite, Calcite, Quartz
  • Owl’s Head Mountain Trail – Feldspar, Sunstone
  • Palmer Hill Mine – Fluorite, Quartz
  • Pine Pond – Pyrite
  • Tilly Foster Iron Mine – Brucite, Clinochlore, Titanite

If you’ve ever struggled with identifying gems, our guides are the solution you’ve been looking for:

The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in New York

A family doing public gem mining in New York

For families that want to expose their children to the hobby of gemstone mining, we also have more great recommendations for public gem mining.

New York Gem Mining Laws And Regulations

New York State has a variety of regulations in place to protect the environment and ensure the safety of recreational gem hunters. Gem hunting is only allowed on public land or with permission from private landowners. All recreational gem hunters must obtain a valid recreational prospecting permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Gem hunters must not cause damage to vegetation, soil, or groundwater resources and must not interfere with other activities on public lands. Additionally, all recreational gem hunters are responsible for their safety and should take necessary precautions while searching for gems.

For further details about New York’s gem mining laws and regulations, visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) link above.

Additional places to mine for gems in nearby states

If you’ve already visited all the places we’ve mentioned above or if you’re considering taking a trip to the surrounding states, take a look at our guides for these states below:

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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