The 17 Best Locations For Gem Hunting In South Carolina In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 17 Best Locations For Gem Hunting In South Carolina In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Gem hunting in South Carolina is a fun, exciting, and rewarding experience for all ages. The state is home to a diverse landscape and numerous gemstones, making it an excellent spot for gem hunters.

Whether you are an experienced gem miner or a beginner looking to find your first semi-precious stone, there are many great locations to search for gems throughout the state. From the hot spots near the major cities of Charleston and Columbia to the hidden gems in the rural areas, plenty of gems and minerals will fit your needs. So, if you are ready to explore gem mining, here are some of the best locations in this state!

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

An elegant Garnet discovered while gem hunting in South Carolina

We are fortunate enough to have access to a wealth of gemstones in this state. These rare and common gemstones can be discovered with the correct understanding and good fortune.

Rare gemstones found in South Carolina

  • Amethyst
  • Aquamarine
  • Garnet
  • Kyanite
  • Tourmaline

More common gemstones found here

  • Agate
  • Andalusite
  • Barite
  • Beryl
  • Calcite
  • Cassiterite
  • Corundum
  • Diamond
  • Emerald
  • Epidote
  • Hematite
  • Lazulite
  • Monazite
  • Pyrrhotite
  • Rutile
  • Quartz
  • Sapphire
  • Serpentine
  • Sillimanite
  • Topaz
  • Zircon

Our Favorite Places For Gem Mining in South Carolina

We have selected five outstanding places to dig for gems out of the many suitable locations. These locations are perfect for both experienced gem hunters who want to participate in searching for gems and young children who are just beginning to explore 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.

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.

Diamond Hill Mine

People gem mining at Diamond Hill Mine

100 Diamond Mine Rd, Abbeville, SC 29620, United States

Diamond Hill Mine is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and has been producing some of the finest gems and minerals since it opened in 1989. You can experience hands-on mining by digging for their gems, crystals, and minerals and are welcome to take home their finds. With its unique setting and friendly staff, Diamond Hill Mine is the perfect destination for families exploring nature’s hidden treasures.

The Types Of Gems Found At Diamond Hill Mine

This area is distinguished for its variety of unique and more common gems, but the most gems found here include:

  • Amethyst
  • Beryl
  • Epidote
  • Garnet
  • Smoky Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Diamond Hill Mine

The best time to visit Diamond Hill Mine is spring and summer when the weather is warm. It is much easier to find gems due to the increased water levels.

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.

Paris Mountain State Park

A pretty beryl discovered at Paris Mountain State Park

2401 State Park Rd., Greenville, SC 29609, United States

Paris Mountain State Park is a popular destination for discovering gemstones. It is one of the top activities at the park, with gem hunters flocking to the area to try their luck at finding precious stones. The park is home to several gem mines that offer buckets of dirt filled with semi-precious stones. You can pan for gems in the creek at the mountain’s base or use sluice boxes and screens to sift through soil. You can also search for fascinating South Carolina crystals in this spot.

For those who want a more hands-on experience, guided tours will help you identify different gems and teach you how to use proper mining techniques. Whether you’re looking for a fun outdoor activity or hoping to uncover valuable gems, Paris Mountain State Park is a great place to explore!

The Types Of Gems Found At Paris Mountain State Park

Rare and more common gems are abundant in this area, although the most gemstones found here are:

  • Beryl
  • Garnet
  • Quartz
  • Sillimanite
  • Tourmaline

The Best Time To Visit Paris Mountain State Park

Spring and summer are the best times to visit Paris Mountain State Park and find gems. From April to August, the park offers activities like finding gems in its man-made flume. The flume is filled with a mix of soil and gems, which makes it easy for gem miners to search for precious stones. During this time of year, temperatures are mild, and the weather is generally pleasant.

Myrtle Beach

A wonderful chalcedony located at Myrtle Beach

1200 North Oak Street, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577, United States

Myrtle Beach is an ideal spot to explore the wonders of finding gems and uncovering valuable stones. It offers a variety of activities, including panning for gems, fossil hunting, and jewelry making. You can also purchase custom-cut gemstones to take home as souvenirs or gifts. With its beautiful beaches, friendly staff, and wide range of activities, Myrtle Beach is an excellent location for searching for gems that the whole family will enjoy!

The Types Of Gems Found At Myrtle Beach

This location is rich in gemstones, but the most frequent ones are:

  • Agate
  • Chalcedony
  • Quartz

The Best Time To Visit Myrtle Beach

The best time to visit Myrtle Beach to mine gems is during the summer, from June to August. During this time, the water is generally calm enough for divers to explore the ocean floor for gems safely. The beaches provide an excellent place to search for beach glass and other gems washed ashore from the ocean.

Greenville Gemstone Mine – Great for kids

 A kid gem mining at Greenville Gemstone Mine

205 N Main St, Greenville, SC 29601, United States

Greenville Gemstone Mine is a family-owned and operated business that has been in operation for over 20 years. The mine offers a unique experience for all ages to search for gemstones and minerals, where you can purchase buckets of material or use the sluice box to search for gems and minerals on-site. The staff provides helpful advice on the best methods to dig for gems and minerals and provides an educational experience with their rock identification classes. There is also a gift shop where you can purchase jewelry made from the gems they find and other souvenirs.

Types Of Gemstones Found At Greenville Gemstone Mine

Here are the featured gemstones at Greenville Gemstone Mine:

  • Amethyst
  • Aquamarine
  • Citrine
  • Garnet
  • Kyanite
  • Peridot
  • Rose Quartz
  • Rutilated Quartz
  • Sapphire
  • Smoky Quartz
  • Topaz

The Best Time To Visit Greenville Gemstone Mine

The best time to visit the Greenville Gemstone Mine is in the spring. The mine is open year-round, and you can take advantage of guided tours, gemstone panning activities, and more.

Coastal Gem Mining – Great for kids

A kid gem hunting at Coastal Gem Mining

Celebrity Cir, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577, United States

Coastal Gem Mining is a family-owned business located in Myrtle Beach. The rock shop specializes in mining for precious gems, minerals, and fossils from around the world. The shop offers a unique experience for gem hunters of all ages, allowing them to search through their large selection of rough gems, sorting through dirt and rocks to find hidden treasures.

They also have a variety of handcrafted jewelry made with the gemstones found in their shop or provided by their customers. Coastal Gem Mining has something for everyone and provides a fun way to explore the natural beauty of gemstones!

The Types Of Gemstones Found At Coastal Gem Mining

In this area, you can discover a huge variety of gemstones. The gemstones you may find here are:

  • Amethyst
  • Aquamarine
  • Citrine
  • Emerald
  • Garnet
  • Moonstone
  • Opal
  • Peridot
  • Quartz
  • Ruby
  • Sapphire

The Best Time To Visit Coastal Gem Mining

The best time to visit Coastal Gem Mining is during the summer months. The area experiences mild temperatures and sunny days, making it an excellent place for outdoor activities like searching for gems.

Other Great Options For Real Gem Mining in South Carolina

A Kyanite discovered while real gem mining at Lake Murray Dam

There are more incredible places in the state besides our top gem hunting areas. Adults who want to do real gem mining can visit these locations on our list:

  • Bowens River – Amethyst, Emerald, Quartz, Sapphire
  • Flat Creek – Pyrite
  • Haile Gold Mine – Pyrite, Quartz
  • Henry’s Knob – Kyanite, Lazulite, Tourmaline
  • King’s Creek – Barite, Chalcopyrite, Kyanite, Quartz, Pyrite, Sillimanite
  • Lake Murray Dam – Kyanite
  • Liberty Hill – Smoky Quartz, Zircon
  • Savannah River Bank – Aquamarine, Beryl
  • Shoals Junction – Amethyst, Quartz
  • Turkey Creek – Serpentine

The Top Public Gem Mining Locations in South Carolina

Kids doing public gem mining in South Carolina

We have areas for more family-friendly public gem mining. The wonderful locations listed below are perfect for families and children.

  • A&A Rockshop – 1614, 1624 W Main St, Lexington, SC 29072, United States
  • Dixie Gem – 2517 Poinsett Hwy, Greenville, SC 29609, United States

South Carolina Gem Mining Laws And Regulations

Although the state does not have any specific regulations related to recreational gem hunting, it is illegal to remove or disturb rocks, minerals, and fossils from state parks or other public lands without permission from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

It is essential to understand that the state does have laws and regulations for prospecting and collecting minerals on public lands. It is also unlawful to sell or trade any rocks, minerals, or fossils collected on public lands without a valid permit from the DNR.

Visitors should note that some areas may be closed to recreational gem hunting for ecological reasons. Before visiting an area for gem hunting purposes, you have to check with local land managers for any restrictions that may be in place.

For more information about South Carolina’s gem mining laws and regulations, visit the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) link above.

Additional places to mine for gems in nearby states

As soon as you’ve had the chance to visit all places on the list we’ve provided above, use the recommendations we’ve created below to discover more gems in nearby 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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