The 18 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Ohio In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 18 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Ohio In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Ohio is home to some of the best gem mining spots in the nation, offering gem hunters the chance to search for various gems and minerals. From the Hocking Hills to the Ohio River Valley, loads of hidden gems are waiting to be discovered. Our state’s diverse and unique geological formations provide access to the most enjoyable spots to dig for precious gemstones.

We’ve put together our favorite places for gem hunting in the Buckeye State. Whether you’re a beginner looking to try your luck or an experienced miner wanting to find rarer gems, our state has something for everyone to enjoy! Read on to learn more and visit the top destinations we’ve located.

Our state’s parks, quarries, mines, creeks, and rivers are the best places to look for gemstones. Detailed descriptions of our major favorite attractions, including Flint Ridge Ancient Quarries and Nature Preserve, Nether’s Farm, Caesar’s Creek State Park, Hocking Hills Gem Mine and Gold Rush, and Sandy Creek Mining Co., are provided below.

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

A handful of pretty Fluorite found while gem hunting in Ohio

The gem hunters who can come to our state are fortunate because it is home to various gemstones. No matter what state you plan to go gem hunting in, there are various circumstances and levels of accessibility for gem hunting resources. So with this knowledge, we’ve created different guides to help you find gems near you. With the appropriate information and a little luck, you’ll discover how rewarding searching for gemstones in this state can be.

Rare gemstones found in Ohio

  • Calcite
  • Celestite
  • Fluorite
  • Sphalerite

More common gemstones found here

  • Agate
  • Amethyst
  • Barite
  • Carnelian
  • Chalcedony
  • Diamond
  • Dolomite
  • Gypsum
  • Hematite
  • Jasper
  • Marcasite
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Ruby
  • Sapphires
  • Witherite

Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining in Ohio

We’ve selected some of our all-time favorite places to dig for gems. These are excellent options that are available for adults with more experience and young children who are just getting started.

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.

Flint Ridge Ancient Quarries and Nature Preserve

A person mining for gems at Flint Ridge Ancient Quarries and Nature Preserve

15300 Flint Ridge Road, Glenford, OH, USA

Flint Ridge Ancient Quarries and Nature Preserve is a unique geological and archaeological site in eastern Licking County. The site includes more than 400 acres of wooded hillsides, ravines, and streams that contain evidence of ancient quarrying activities by the Hopewell Indians. The flint from these quarries was used to make tools and weapons by Native Americans from 200 BC to 500 AD.

Today, you can explore the nature preserve, which contains numerous trails for gem hunting and wildlife. Gem hunters can also view the remains of ancient quarries as well as interpretive signs which explain the history and significance of Flint Ridge.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Flint Ridge Ancient Quarries and Nature Preserve

This area is among the first spots that come to mind for those looking for gemstones. The following gems are known to be abundant here:

  • Agate
  • Amethyst
  • Carnelian
  • Chalcedony
  • Flint
  • Jasper
  • Smoky Quartz
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Flint Ridge Ancient Quarries And Nature Preserve

The preserve’s trails are open year-round so that you can explore the area even during winter. However, checking in with the preserve is best to ensure that any trails or other areas of interest are open before planning a visit.

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.

Nethers Farm

A man hunting for gems at Nether Farms

3680 Flint Ridge Rd, Hopewell, OH 43746, United States

Nethers Farm is located in the heart of our state and offers a special mining experience for all ages. Gem hunters can pan for gems using the sluice, search for gems in the creek bed, or explore the farm’s many trails and gardens.

The farm also has a rock shop that sells jewelry made from the gems found on-site. Nethers Farm is a great place to learn about geology and have fun simultaneously!

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Nethers Farm

It is known that this spot is rich in the following gems:

  • Chalcedony
  • Flint
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Nethers Farm

The best time to visit Nethers Farm is during the summer months, from June to August. During this time, the farm is open to gem miners and offers a variety of activities.

Caesar’s Creek State Park

A beautiful Pyrite located at Caesar's Creek State Park

8570 OH-73, Waynesville, OH 45068, United States

Caesar’s Creek State Park is home to some of the best gem hunting opportunities in the state. Gem hunters can sift through dirt and gravel to uncover semi-precious stones. You can purchase a bag of gem mix from the park office or bring your own from home. Once you have your bag of gems, you can search for stones using screens or sluices provided by the park staff. The gemstones found here can then be taken home or sold at the park store.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Caesar’s Creek State Park

These gems are common in this location:

  • Calcite
  • Pyrite

The Best Time To Visit Caesar’s Creek State Park

The park typically opens in mid-May and closes in late October, so the best time to visit is from May to October. It offers a variety of activities, including digging for gems, fishing, swimming, camping, hiking, and more. Gem hunting is popular at the park during the summer when the weather is warm and sunny.

Hocking Hills Gem Mine And Gold Rush – Great for kids

Two kids panning for gems at Hocking Hills Gem Mine and Gold Rush

29255 Pattor Rd, Logan, OH 43138, United States

Hocking Hills Gem Mine and Gold Rush is an outdoor adventure in Logan. It is a remarkable experience that combines the fun of panning for gems, minerals, and fossils with the excitement of a real gold rush. You can search for valuable gems, minerals, and fossils in the mine’s sluice boxes or take part in a simulated gold rush using authentic tools and supplies.

While exploring, the mine gave us a chance to learn about geology, mineralogy, and prospecting. We had fun gem hunting while learning about the science behind gemstones and gold mining.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Hocking Hills Gem Mine And Gold Rush

This spot is excellent for introducing kids to several types of gemstones, but it is particularly well-known for the following:

  • Amethyst
  • Calcite
  • Fluorite
  • Rose Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Hocking Hills Gem Mine And Gold Rush

The weather is warmer, and the days are longer in the summer months of June to September, allowing more time to explore the area. The mine is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and gem hunters can mine for gems or pan for gold in the creek that runs through the property.

Sandy Creek Mining Co. – Great for kids

A number of kids searching for gems at Sandy Creek Mining Co

22 S Poplar St, Fostoria, OH 44830, United States

Sandy Creek Mining Company is a gemstone mining and retail operation based in the heart of Amish Country. Founded in 2013, Sandy Creek Mining Company has been offering family-friendly gemstone mining experiences to people across the state. It offers a variety of pay-to-mine packages that include all of the necessary equipment to find gems and minerals.

They also made our experience unforgettable by offering us to shop through their wide selection of finished jewelry and polished stones. Whether you’re looking for an educational experience or just a fun day away from home, Sandy Creek Mining Company will surely provide you with an unforgettable experience!

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Sandy Creek Mining Co.

This location is home to fine gems and minerals. Here, the following gemstone types are most frequently encountered by kids:

  • Agate
  • Amethyst
  • Calcite
  • Citrine
  • Fluorite
  • Garnet
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Rhodochrosite
  • Tourmaline

The Best Time To Visit Sandy Creek Mining Co.

Sandy Creek Mining Co. operates from May through September and offers to pan for gold, search for gemstones, and offer educational programs about area history and prospecting.

Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in Ohio

Many pieces of wonderful Calcites found while real gem mining in Ohio

If you want to do real gem mining in the Buckeye State after you’ve had a chance to explore the areas we previosuly highlighted, there are still tons of other fantastic locations you may go to. The folks with a lot of expertise in mining gems and who wish to hunt for more active mines should go to these following locations.

  • Blue Limestone Park – Pyrite
  • Green Island – Celestite
  • Maple Grove Quarry – Calcite, Celestite, Dolomite, Fluorite, Marcasite, Pyrite
  • Medusa Quarry – Calcite, Marcasite
  • Pugh Quarry – Calcite, Dolomite, Fluorite, Marcasite, Pyrite, Sphalerite
  • Serpent Mound – Quartz

The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in Ohio

A group of people doing public gem mining in Ohio

More enjoyable family-friendly public gem mining venues are included below for parents who want to introduce their kids to the world of gemstone hunting.

Ohio Gem Mining Laws And Regulations

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) regulates gem hunting within the state. Gem miners must obtain a free permit from ODNR to dig for gems on public lands. The permit must be displayed at all times while mining and must be renewed annually.

When searching for gems on public lands, you may only use hand tools such as shovels, picks, and screens. Gem hunters are not allowed to use explosives or machinery of any kind. In addition, you are prohibited from digging deep trenches or disturbing vegetation or wildlife habitats.

Gem hunters may keep any gemstones found on public land as long as they follow the regulations set by ODNR regarding collection limits and sizes of specimens found.

For more details about Ohio’s gem mining laws and regulations, use the above link to visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Additional places to mine for gems in nearby states

See our recommended gem mining locations for the neighboring states below if you’re thinking about going there and if you’ve already been to every place we’ve mentioned above:

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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