The 43 Certified Places To Find And Mine For Jade In California In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist

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The 43 Certified Places To Find And Mine For Jade In California In 2024

By Keith Jackson - Geologist


Jade is a beautiful and valuable stone with a special place in California’s history and culture. This gemstone, known for its mesmerizing green color, can be found in many places in the state, especially along its rough coastline.

Different cultures have valued jade for centuries and used it to make jewelry and ornaments. Its presence adds a unique element to the state’s varied geology, drawing amateur and professional collectors.

The journey to find jade in California is not just about the gem itself, but also about exploring the state’s stunning natural landscapes. We will give you detailed information and useful advice to help you start this exciting adventure.

Our guide covers the best places to look for jade, the best times to do so, and the tools you might need. Let us help you make your jade-finding dream a reality!

What Is California Jade Anyway?

A giant slab of jade with an ocean-like pattern on its surface
Jade photo provided by and available for purchase at ARTelStones

Jade is a unique stone with a beautiful green color and a smooth, shiny surface. It’s made up of two different minerals, nephrite and jadeite.

Nephrite is usually a creamy green color, while jadeite comes in a wider range of colors, such as green, white, pink, and even black.

For thousands of years, people have loved jade and used it to make everything from jewelry and statues to tools and weapons.

Jade is popular not only because it’s beautiful, but because it’s also very tough and hard to break, which is why it’s been used in so many ways.

Jade is formed deep inside the Earth, usually in the crust, where there is a lot of pressure and not much heat. It’s usually found where tectonic plates meet, which is where the Earth’s surface is moving and changing.

Because of this, jade can be found in mountain ranges and along coastlines where these geological processes happen.

Certain parts of California are home to some of the most well-known jade deposits. Small pieces of jade can be found and gathered here because rivers and streams can carry them to the surface.

The value of jade is also determined by where it’s found worldwide. The stone’s different geological and cultural meanings can tell how much it’s worth.

Our article may give you a better picture of what jade looks like to help you focus on your search and know what to look for.

The Types Of Jade Found In California

Because California has so many types of rocks, jade comes in a lot of different colors, shapes, and names. The following types of jade can be found below the state’s surface:

  • Jadeite
  • Nephrite
How We Found The Best Jade Locations in California
When it comes to choosing the best options for finding California jade there are plenty of things we consider. Many of the best locations are closely guarded secrets which can make it really difficult for more casual crystal hunters to find success. The key factors in our recommendations are:

  • The deep experience and understanding of our team about the area
  • Recommendations from local groups and clubs
  • How easy it is to get the a particular location
  • Safety and potential hazards when collecting
  • Weighing private and public locations
  • The ability for both experienced and novice mineral enthusiasts to find great samples

With these factors in mind we’ve been able to put together a fantastic list that just about anyone can use!

The Best Places To Find Jade In California

A stunning polished jade with a smooth surface
Jade photo provided by UAmineral

These spots are some of the best places to look for jade in the state. There are a lot of great places to find gems in California, but only a few are suitable for jade. Few people know about some places, but they often have great chances to search.

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

Cape San Martin

A beautiful scenery at the Cape San Martin with flowing waves on the rocky shore

Cape San Martin is a stunning coastal place known for its jade and natural beauty. This cape, which is part of the rough Big Sur coastline, has peaceful surroundings and amazing views of the Pacific Ocean.

It has cliffs, beaches, and woods, so you can see all of nature’s beauty. Those interested in both jade and nature are drawn to this area because it has many interesting things to find and beautiful scenery.

A lot of geological action in the area makes Cape San Martin a great place to find jade. The Pacific Plate and the North American Plate meet in this part of California. This makes it the best place for jade to form and be found on the surface.

Looking for jade at Cape San Martin is exciting for more than just the chance to find a valuable stone. You can also enjoy the beautiful scenery along the coast and the thrill of exploring this one-of-a-kind part of the state.

Where we found jade at the Cape San Martin

Jade can be found along the beaches and in the waters near Cape San Martin, especially after storms or heavy seas.

Rock pick being used

The tools every geode hunter will need

When you're out looking for geodes having the right tools for the job is very important. 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 geode hunters 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 geode-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 

Northwest Treasure Hunter's Gem & Mineral Guide 

Earth Treasures: The Northwestern 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.

Jade Cove

The rocky shores and heavy splashes of waves at Jade Cove with pretty blue waters

Jade Cove, which is on the beautiful coast of Big Sur, is a well-known place for people who like jade. People looking for the rare green stone are drawn to this beautiful cove with its rough rocks and stunning views of the ocean.

The name of the cove comes from the large amount of jade that can be found there. Strong ocean currents or storms tend to bring buried jade pieces to the surface, making this the best time to look for jade.

Most of the jade here is nephrite, which is valued for its deep green color and strength. In addition to the thrill of trying to find this valuable stone, exploring Jade Cove gives you a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of one of the most beautiful coastal areas.

Where we found jade at Jade Cove

In Jade Cove, jade is often discovered along the shoreline and in the shallow waters.

Klamath River

A peacuful and calm river flowing around the bend

The Klamath River is a beautiful natural wonder that flows for more than 250 miles. It’s known for more than just its wildlife and beautiful scenery. Jade hunters also find it to be a secret gem.

With its fast-moving water and long past, this river flows through various landscapes, from forests to rough mountains. Several rocks, including the valuable jade, are carried by the Klamath River as it flows.

Jade is most likely to be found after it has rained or flooded a lot. This is because the water moves the riverbed around, bringing hiding gems like jade to the surface.

Because it flows through mineral-rich areas for a long way, the Klamath River is a great place to look for jade. Over time, the water in the river wears away rocks and reveals jade layers.

Where we found jade at Klamath River

Jade is most likely to be found after it has rained or flooded a lot. This is because the water moves the riverbed around, bringing hiding gems like jade to the surface.

Santa Lucia Range

A picturesque view of the Santa Lucia Range along the coastal area

The Santa Lucia Range is a beautiful mountain range known for its beautiful scenery and lots of natural riches. This range runs along the middle coast of the state and is part of the bigger California Coast Ranges.

It has a lot of different kinds of animals, lush woods, and hidden gems, like the valuable stone jade.

Because of the way the rocks are formed, this range is a great place to find jade. The history of moving tectonic plates in the area and the presence of serpentine rocks make it a great place for jade to form.

Searching in this range for jade is not only a quest for a valuable stone, but also a journey into some of the state’s most beautiful and wild areas.

Where we found jade in the Santa Lucia Range

The creeks and riverbeds that cut through the Santa Lucia Range are where you can find jade. Over time, these rivers and streams have carried jade from higher up to easier-to-reach places.

San Rafael Mountains

The vast landscape of San Rafael Mountains in its high altitude

The San Rafael Mountains are home to more than just beautiful views and hiking trails. They are also a secret gem for people who love jade. These mountains are a patchwork of rough hills, lush valleys, and different kinds of wildlife.

They are part of the larger Transverse Ranges. People who like the outdoors and people looking for treasure both like this place because it combines excitement with natural beauty.

The San Rafael Mountains are a good place to find jade because of the way their rocks are formed. The mountains are full of serpentine rock, which is often linked to jade, and they have been a volcanic area in the past.

Nephrite, which is what most of the jade here is, is very valuable because it lasts a long time and has a beautiful bright green color.

Where we found jade in the San Rafael Mountains

In the San Rafael Mountains, jade can be found in the streams and riverbeds that snake through the landscape. These waterways, over time, help to bring jade from deep within the earth to places where people can find it

Other Great Places To Find California Jade

An aerial view of the landscape of Hog Mountain with a lake at the center and snow caps on its peaks

Following our top choices, we will discuss the other places on our list. The other places where we were successful are listed below, with counties broken down for each one.

Our recommendations by county

County Location
Colusa Lodoga area, in gravels of Stonyford Creek
El Dorado Placerville, American River gravels
Fresno Coalinga area, Clear Creek
Fresno Hog Mountain
Humboldt Orleans area, Willow Creek
Humboldt Orleans area, up and downstream of Trinity River
Marin North Fork area, Eel River gravels
Marin Petaluma area, flanks of Massa Hill
Mariposa Bagby area, David Gulch
Mariposa Bagby area, Flyaway Gulch
Mendocino Leech Lake Mountain
Mendocino Covelo area, boulders and gravels of Williams Creek
Monterey Big Sur area, stream gravels between Point Sur and Salmon Creek Range
Monterey Cambria Pines area, San Simeon creeks
Monterey Lucia area, Limekiln Creek Beach
Monterey Lucia area, Plaskett Creek
Monterey Lucia area, Willow Creek Beach
Monterey Lucia area, Salmon Creek
Riverside Desert Center area, Storm Jade Mine
Riverside Eagle Mountains
San Benito Cherry Peak
San Benito Hernandez area, Santa Rita Peak
San Benito Mercey Hot Springs
San Bernardino Stoddard Mountain
San Luis Obispo Paso Robles area creek gravels
San Luis Obispo Pacific Ocean beaches, in gravels
Santa Barbara/td>

Figueroa Mountains
Siskiyou Callahan area, Boulder Creek
Siskiyou Happy Camp area, Indian Creek
Siskiyou Happy Camp area, Chan Jade Mine
Siskiyou Happy Camp area, Twin Valley Creek

Petaluma area, Massa Hill
Tulare Porterville area, Lewis Hill

Common Jade-Hunting Questions

A gorgeous polished jade stone
Jade photo provided by RareJadeShop

People often ask the following questions to find out where in the state they can find jade:

Is it illegal to collect jade in California?

In California, the legality of collecting jade varies depending on the location and amount collected.

On many public lands, especially those managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service, casual collection of small amounts of rocks, minerals, and gemstones is usually allowed for personal use.

However, specific rules and limits on how much you can collect without a permit may exist.

Collecting natural materials, including jade, is typically prohibited in state and national parks. These areas are protected, and removing any natural objects is often considered illegal.

It’s important to research and understand the specific regulations of the area where you plan to collect jade. Always respect the local laws and guidelines to ensure your collecting activities are legal and environmentally responsible.

The Best Places To Buy Jade In California

Village Rock Shop in California where you can find and purchase different jade minerals

Some people find it dirty and hard to find jade. Here’s how to find them without doing that!

Some of our favorite rock shops in the area are listed below. You can buy and find different types of jade there.

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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