The 17 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Rhode Island In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist

| Updated

The 17 Best Spots For Gem Hunting In Rhode Island In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist


Even though it’s a small state, there are some great places for gem mining in Rhode Island. The Ocean State offers some of the best spots for gem hunting, from its many beaches to breathtaking state parks. Its crystal-clear waters, miles of coastline, and abundant wildlife make searching for gemstones more fulfilling.

Our state’s finest locations to dig for gems are parks, quarries, hillsides, mountains, and beaches. The Moosup River, Mount Hope Bay, Jamestown Bridge, Apple Valley Minerals, and Beavertail State Park are among our favorite places, which we have covered in great depth below.

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

A pile of pretty Carnelians found while gem hunting in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is home to many unique gemstones. We know that access to these resources can vary from state to state, so we’ve gathered suggestions and enough information to help you find gem mines close to you. Gem hunters can find rare and more common gems with the correct information and a little luck.

Rare gemstones found in Rhode Island

  • Amethyst
  • Garnet

More common gemstones found here

  • Amethyst
  • Apatite
  • Beryl
  • Carnelian
  • Chalcedony
  • Epidote
  • Hematite
  • Jasper
  • Labradorite
  • Orthoclase
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Rhodonite
  • Serpentine
  • Staurolite
  • Zircon

Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining in Rhode Island

These are the top five spots in our state that, in our opinion, both adults and kids will enjoy when searching for various gemstones. These recommendations are suitable for kids who are interested in gems and want to try looking for gems and adults who wish to engage more in real gem mining.

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

Moosup River

Gorgeous Apatites located at Moosup River

Foster, RI 02825, United States

The Moosup River is a tributary of the Wood River, located in the western part of the state. It’s approximately 14 miles long and flows through several towns, including Foster, Glocester, Plainfield, and Sterling. The river begins at Moosup Pond in Foster and ends at the Wood River in Plainfield. Along its course, it passes through several wetlands and meadows before joining the larger river.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Moosup River

The area is widely recognized for its abundance of the following gemstones:

  • Apatite
  • Biotite
  • Chlorite
  • Epidote
  • Garnet
  • Labradorite
  • Pyrite
  • Serpentine

The Best Time To Visit Moosup River

The best time to visit is from June to August when the water levels are at their highest. You can use a sluice box or a panning method to search for gems in the river. Be sure to wear appropriate clothing and bring plenty of water as it can get hot during 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 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.

Mount Hope Bay

A stunning Hematite mined at Mount Hope Bay

Bristol, RI, United States

Mount Hope Bay is located between Bristol and Portsmouth and is part of Narragansett Bay, a large estuary that forms part of the Atlantic Ocean coastline of the state. Mount Hope Bay covers about 3,000 acres and is home to numerous species of fish, shellfish, birds, and other wildlife. The area also offers recreational opportunities, such as looking for gemstones, boating, and swimming. The bay is named after the nearby Mount Hope Bridge that crosses it.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Mount Hope Bay

Most types of gemstones found here include the following:

  • Agate
  • Amethyst
  • Carnelian
  • Hematite
  • Jasper

The Best Time To Visit Mount Hope Bay

The best time to visit Mount Hope Bay is during the summer months of June, July, and August. This is when the weather is warmest, and the water levels are at their highest, making it easier to search for gems. The bay also tends to be less crowded during these months.

Jamestown Bridge

An elegant Staurolite found at Jamestown Bridge

North Kingstown, RI, United States

The Jamestown Bridge is a 2.2-mile-long bridge connecting Jamestown and North Kingstown via Narragansett Bay. The original bridge was replaced in 1992 with a modern four-lane cantilever truss design that can accommodate both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. In addition to being an important route for local commuters, the Jamestown Bridge is a popular tourist attraction due to its beautiful views of Narragansett Bay and the surrounding area.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Jamestown Bridge

Here, you may typically find the following gemstones:

  • Almandine Garnet
  • Jasper
  • Quartz
  • Staurolite

The Best Time To Visit Jamestown Bridge

The ideal time to visit Jamestown Bridge to dig for gems is from June to August. This is usually when most gemstones are found in the area. The weather is also perfect for outdoor activities like hunting for gems.

Apple Valley Minerals – Great for kids

Three kids searching for gems at Apple Valley Minerals

7 Homestead Ave, Smithfield, RI 02917, United States

Apple Valley Minerals is a family-owned and operated business located in the state. For over 20 years, they have provided gem miners with an exciting and unique opportunity to search for gems and minerals in the beautiful landscape of the Ocean State. Their gem hunting trips are fun for the whole family because they give you all the necessary tools to find that perfect gem or mineral specimen.

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Apple Valley Minerals

Children can learn a lot about many gemstones at this place, but it is mainly known for these gemstones:

  • Amethyst
  • Aquamarine
  • Citrine
  • Garnet
  • Iolite
  • Labradorite
  • Moonstone
  • Peridot
  • Quartz
  • Rhodochrosite

Don’t let confusion get the best of you regarding gems. Our guides are your go-to resource for easily telling specific gemstones apart:

The Best Time To Visit Apple Valley Minerals

Seeking gems at Apple Valley Minerals may be enjoyed from May to September.

Beavertail State Park – Great for kids

A mesmerizing Feldspar obtained at Beavertail State Park

Beavertail Rd, Jamestown, RI 02835, United States

Beavertail State Park is a public recreation area located in Narragansett. The park occupies 73 acres of land on the southern tip of Conanicut Island, at the entrance to Narragansett Bay. It offers various activities, including digging for gems. Mining for gems is a fun and educational activity that allows gem hunters to search for gems and minerals in the park’s streams. You can rent equipment from the park office, which includes a sifting tray and shovel.

The Types Of Gemstones Found at Beavertail State Park

Some of the notable gemstones found here are:

  • Feldspar
  • Mica
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Beavertail State Park

The park opens at 8 a.m. and closes at sunset, so it’s best to plan your visit during daylight hours. You can dig for gems year-round here, but winter can get quite chilly since most of the park is on a rocky coastline.

Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in Rhode Island

A handful of Zircons mined while real gem mining in Rhode Island

You may visit many more beautiful places to go real gem mining in the state after you’ve had a chance to explore the areas we previously highlighted. These areas are designed for gem hunters with more experience mining gems who wish to hunt for more active mines.

  • Bald Hill – Biotite
  • Beacon Pole Hill – Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper, Quartz
  • Block Island – Pyrite, Zircon
  • Cumberland Hill – Agate, Chalcedony, Jasper, Quartz
  • Hull’s Cove – Zircon
  • Manton Avenue – Actinolite, Calcite, Epidote, Pyrite
  • Narragansett Bay – Agate, Beryl, Carnelian, Jasper
  • Ochee Spring Quarry – Actinolite, Calcite, Epidote, Pyrite
  • Pawtuxet River – Agate, Garnet, Quartz
  • Sneech Pond – Garnet, Rhodonite
  • Violet Hill Quarry – Actinolite, Calcite, Epidote, Pyrite

The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in Rhode Island

A pile of Epidotes found while public gem mining in Rhode Island

Even though the state doesn’t have many kid-friendly public gem mining locations, you can bring your kids to the following places to teach them more about digging gems.

Rhode Island Gem Mining Laws And Regulations

The state of Rhode Island does not have any specific recreational gem hunting regulations. However, the state has a variety of laws and regulations related to collecting minerals and other natural resources.

It is essential to note that collecting certain types of minerals and gems may require special permits from the state Division of Natural Resources. In general, it is illegal to remove rocks or other materials from state parks or protected areas without permission from the local government.

In addition to the ones stated above, recreational gem hunters need to be aware of their impact on the environment when collecting specimens. It is best practice to research any potential sites before visiting them to avoid damaging sensitive habitats or disturbing wildlife.

For further details about Ocean State’s gem mining laws and regulations, visit the Rhode Island Division of Natural Resources 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 Keith Jackson - Geologist

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He is an active Geologist with a wealth of experience and information from across the country that he loves to share with the Rock Chasing crew.

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