The 17 Best Locations For Gem Hunting In Oklahoma In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 17 Best Locations For Gem Hunting In Oklahoma In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Gem hunting in Oklahoma can be a great way to explore the outdoors and find beautiful gems and minerals. This state is known for its unique geological formations and resulting mineral deposits, offering plenty of locations across the state that can be excellent for your next gemstone expedition.

This state’s diverse terrain is home to various gemstones. From the rolling hills of the Arbuckle Mountains in the south to the wooded hills of the Ouachita Mountains in the east, you can find gemstones with the right equipment and knowledge.

The best places to mine gems in Oklahoma are going to be along road cuts, in mines and mine dumps, along creeks and rivers, in outcroppings and hillsides, and in pay-to-dig mines. Some of the especially great places we’ve found are the Great Salt Plains, Witchita Mountains, and Alabaster Caverns which we will talk about in more detail below.

If you are looking for your next adventure with precious gems, Oklahoma is the perfect place to explore!

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

An elegant dolomite discovered while gem hunting in Oklahoma

This state has the significant advantage of beautiful gemstones. After putting together a TON of local guides to find gems we know that not all places can say the same. With the proper expertise and a bit of fortune, it is possible to find both unique and more common gems in this spot.

Rare gemstones found in Oklahoma

  • Barite Rose
  • Dolomite
  • Gypsum
  • Quartz

More common gemstones found here

  • Agate
  • Alabaster
  • Calcite
  • Cerussite
  • Chalcedony
  • Jadeite
  • Jasper
  • Malachite
  • Marcasite
  • Orthoclase
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Sphalerite
  • Selenite
  • Ulexite
  • Zircon

Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining in Oklahoma

We have found these locations that, in our opinion, are the greatest in the state for mining gems. Try out these notable sites to explore more about gem mining. We also provided recommendations of spots that are best for children to gain knowledge and experience the joys of gem hunting.

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

Great Salt Plains Selenite Digging Area

People gem mining at Great Salt Plains Selenite Digging Area

66003 Garvin Rd, Cherokee, OK 73728, United States

The Great Salt Plains Selenite Digging Area is a designated area where the public can collect selenite crystals. The area is located in the Great Salt Plains State Park, which is situated on the salt flats of the Great Salt Plains Lake in Alfalfa County.

The area was made famous by a 1936 discovery of selenite crystals by two local boys who found a large deposit of glittering white crystal-like material while playing near the lake. Since then, thousands of gem hunters have traveled to this area to search for their selenite crystals. You can dig for their selenite crystals or purchase them from a local vendor. We recommend that you bring gloves, protective eyewear when digging for selenite crystals, and plenty of water and snacks to stay hydrated and energized during their search.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Great Salt Plains Selenite Digging Area

You can dig for gemstones in this area. Most of these are primarily:

  • Halite
  • Selenite

The Best Time To Visit Great Salt Plains Selenite Digging Area

Spring or fall is the best time to visit the Great Salt Plains Selenite Digging Area. Temperatures are milder, making it easier to dig for selenite crystals. The park is open year-round, and you should know that the digging area can be very hot in the summer.

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.

Alabaster Caverns State Park

An exquisite barite located at Alabaster Caverns State Park

217036 State Hwy 50A, Freedom, OK 73842, United States

Alabaster Caverns State Park is a unique and beautiful park located in the state’s northwestern corner. The park allows gem miners to explore one of the world’s largest gypsum caves. Gem hunting is one of the most popular activities offered at this site, and it can be done in designated areas or with a guided tour from one of the park’s experienced guides.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Alabaster Caverns State Park

This area is not only beautiful but also abundant in precious gemstones as well. The gems that can be discovered here include:

  • Barite
  • Gypsum
  • Selenite

The Best Time To Visit Alabaster Caverns State Park

Spring and summer are the best times to search for gems in Alabaster Caverns State Park. During this time, the park is open for gem hunters from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and offers a variety of activities for the whole family. Finding gemstones takes place on weekends and holidays, so plan accordingly when visiting. It’s also important to note that digging is prohibited in the park, so you’ll need to bring your tools and supplies if you want to search for gems.

Witchita Mountains

A beautiful zircon found at Witchita Mountans

32 Refuge Headquarters, Indiahoma, OK, United States

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is a 59,020-acre National Wildlife Refuge. It is a great place to explore to find gems because it contains various gems and minerals. The best way to get started with gem hunting at this location is by visiting one of the many local stores in the area. These stores have knowledgeable staff that can help you identify what kind of gems you might find.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Witchita Mountains

Many gemstones are discovered in Witchita Mountains, but Zircon is the most abundant.

The Best Time To Visit Witchita Mountains

The best time to visit the Wichita Mountains to discover gemstones is in the warm months of April through October. During these months, temperatures are more moderate, and the ground is softer and easier to work with.

Beaver’s Bend Mining Company – Great for kids

Children looking for gems at Beaver's Bend Mining Company

9221 N US Hwy 259, Hochatown, OK 74728, United States

Beaver’s Bend Mining Company is family-owned and operated. The company provides a unique gem mining experience that allows customers to discover the beauty of nature and the thrill of finding rare gems. Their team of experienced miners will guide and teach you how to pan for gems, minerals, and fossils. You can also purchase buckets of rough or tumbled stones to take home as souvenirs. Whether you’re a first-time miner or an experienced prospector, you will have an unforgettable experience!

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Beaver’s Bend Mining Company

This location is known for its high-quality gems and minerals. Some of the most popular types of gemstones found here include:

  • Agate
  • Amethyst
  • Calcite
  • Chalcedony
  • Garnet
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Beaver’s Bend Mining Company

Spring and fall are the best times to visit Beaver’s Bend Mining Company. It is ideal for outdoor activities like gemstone mining and exploring the area. In addition, the foliage is beautiful during these times of the year.

Dark Water Ranch – Great for kids

Kids gem hunting at Dark Water Ranch

1169 County Rd 1465, Ninnekah, OK 73067, United States

Dark Water Ranch is a gem hunting and exploration site. It has been a popular destination for miners, prospectors, and adventurers since its opening in 2019. Gem miners can dig for gems available in the area. They can also explore the nearby towns of El Reno and Yukon, which offer historic attractions and cultural experiences.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Dark Water Ranch

There are various gemstones available for hunting in this area. Gem hunters will mostly find these in particular:

  • Agate
  • Calcite
  • Chalcedony
  • Fluorite
  • Jasper
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Dark Water Ranch

The best time to visit Dark Water Ranch is from June through August, when the weather is hot and dry, making it perfect for gem hunting.

Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in Oklahoma

A pretty quartz found while real gem mining in Oklahoma

Other than the list we have recommended above, there are more great places for real gem mining in this state. These locations are also perfect for experienced gem hunters:

  • American Girl Mine – Malachite, Quartz
  • Buffalo Mine – Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper
  • Canadian River – Agate, Jasper
  • Carrizozo Creek – Rose Agates
  • Gypsum Quarry – Malachite, Quartz
  • Hale Copper Mine – Malachite, Quartz
  • Lake Spavinaw – Cerussite, Pyrite, Quartz
  • Lake Stanley Draper – Barite
  • Lake Thunderbird – Barite
  • Old Thompson Ranch – Barite
  • Tri-State Marker – Rose Agates

The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in Oklahoma

Kids public gem mining at Oklahoma Heritage Farm

More kid-friendly public gem mining locations exist in this state where kids will both learn about gems and have fun. One of these locations worth visiting is mentioned below.

Oklahoma Gem Mining Laws And Regulations

Oklahoma recreational gem hunters must obtain permission from the landowner before entering the property to collect gems. Using explosives, heavy machinery, or other destructive equipment for gem hunting is illegal. All specimens must be collected in an environmentally responsible manner, should not be removed from the land, and should be reported to the Oklahoma Geological Survey for cataloging purposes. It is illegal to sell or trade any specimens found on public lands, but they may be sold or traded on private lands with permission from the landowner.

To learn more about Oklahoma’s gem mining laws and regulations, visit Oklahoma Geological Survey’s 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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