The 56 Confirmed Sites To Find Quartz In Kentucky In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

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The 56 Confirmed Sites To Find Quartz In Kentucky In 2024

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD


Exploring the great outdoors in search of quartz can be an exhilarating adventure, and Kentucky is a fantastic place to start. We know how to find quartz, and we’re eager to share our knowledge with you. 

Kentucky Lake, Livingston County, and Berea are some of the best spots in Kentucky to hunt for quartz. Each of these areas offers a unique setting where quartz crystals are waiting to be discovered.

Finding quartz might seem challenging at first, but with the right tips and a bit of guidance, success is within reach. We’ll share lots of great advice on how to identify potential quartz sites and the best ways to search.

What Is Kentucky Quartz Anyway?

clear quartz crystal cluster
Quartz provided by ErikordGEMS

Quartz is a common mineral that we often find on our rock-hunting adventures. Identifying quartz is exciting because it comes in clear or milky white colors, and sometimes we even find it in shades of pink, red, or purple due to impurities.

We usually discover quartz in places like riverbeds, beaches, and deep in the earth’s crust. It’s often nestled in cracks and crevices, making our search a fun and rewarding challenge. 

One of the coolest things about quartz is how it forms into beautiful crystals. These crystals can be large or small, and sometimes they cluster together, making for an impressive sight when we uncover them.

When it comes to what quartz is worth, its price can vary widely. Smaller, common quartz pieces might not be very expensive, but larger, well-formed crystals can be quite valuable, especially if they’re rare or unique in color and shape.

The Types Of Quartz Found In Kentucky

Kentucky is a wonderful place for finding different types of quartz. Here are the types you can expect to find:

  • Smoky Quartz
  • Agate
  • Amethyst
  • Chalcedony

For those interested in learning more about crystals in Kentucky, we have a comprehensive guide that covers everything from identifying to finding them.

How We Found The Best Quartz Locations in Kentucky
When it comes to choosing the best options for finding Kentucky quartz 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 quartz 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 geode 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 Quartz in Kentucky

translucent brown smoky quartz crystals
Smoky quartz provided by Spirifer Minerals

Finding quartz during our geological explorations can be a tough task, but it’s always a thrilling experience. Our collective experiences have taught us the importance of patience and knowledge of the right places to look.

If you’re eager to learn more about how to mine gems in Kentucky, our detailed guide is an invaluable resource. It offers insights and tips on the best practices for gem mining, ensuring a fruitful and enjoyable adventure.

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

Livingston County

Kentucky Dam in Livingston County

Livingston County is known for its diverse geography, featuring rolling hills and lush valleys. We often explore its varied terrain, which includes parts of the Cumberland Plateau and the Ohio River Valley.

The county’s geology is fascinating, characterized by sedimentary rocks like limestone and sandstone. These rock formations, along with the presence of numerous creeks and rivers, create ideal conditions for rockhounding.

In our numerous trips here, we’ve discovered that the soil composition and erosion patterns contribute to the uncovering of interesting mineral specimens.

Before heading out to collect rocks in this area, it’s important to check with the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources. They can provide the necessary guidelines and rules for rock collecting.

Where we found quartz in Livingston County

We’ve found that quartz can be located in mining districts, offering a variety of specimens. The areas around Pinckneyville, Carrsville, and Birdsville are also great places to look.

Rock pick being used

The tools every crystal hunter will need

When you're out looking for crystals 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 crystal miners which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhounding equipment 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 crystal-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.

Barren River Lake

bird's eye view of a lake with tree-lined shores

Barren River Lake is nestled in a region with a diverse geography, featuring rolling hills and a mix of forested areas. We enjoy exploring around the lake, where the terrain changes from gentle slopes to more rugged, hilly landscapes.

The terrain around the lake is varied, with areas of exposed rock and cliffs that provide insights into the region’s geological history. These rocky outcrops are especially interesting because they often contain a variety of minerals.

Geologically, the area around Barren River Lake is rich in sedimentary rocks, such as limestone and sandstone.

Where we found quartz in Barren River Lake

Quartz can often be found along the shorelines of the lake. These areas tend to reveal a variety of quartz pieces, especially after rainfall or shifting waters.


bird's eye view of buildings in a town

Elizabethtown is situated in a region that blends both flat plains and gently rolling hills, creating a varied landscape. This terrain mix provides a unique setting for geological exploration and discovery. 

The area is known for its sedimentary rock formations, primarily consisting of limestone and dolomite. These rocks are visible in various parts of the landscape, especially in areas with exposed outcrops.

Geologically, Elizabethtown is characterized by the presence of these sedimentary rocks, which dominate the local landscape. The visible layers in these formations provide insights into the different types of sedimentary processes at work.

Where we found quartz in Elizabethtown

We’ve found quartz within the quarries scattered throughout the area. These quarries are a rich source of geodes, which sometimes house beautiful Kentucky quartz inside.


bird's eye view of countryside with trees

Berea is characterized by its varied terrain, featuring rolling hills and flat plains which create a diverse landscape. This area is particularly interesting due to the way these different landforms interact, offering unique geological insights. 

The geology of Berea is predominantly sedimentary, with noticeable layers of limestone and sandstone forming the backbone of the landscape. These rock formations were shaped by natural forces over millions of years.

From rocky outcrops to exposed cliff faces, the geological features in Berea provide an excellent opportunity for geological study and exploration.

Where we found quartz in Berea

You’ll often come across quartz geodes in this area, which are rocky spheres that contain crystals inside. These geodes are usually found in areas where volcanic and sedimentary rocks are present.

Kentucky Lake

lake waters with a rocky shore

Kentucky Lake, characterized by its large body of water, is surrounded by a mix of dense forests and open land. The lake’s vast surface area plays a significant role in shaping the local geography, offering a diverse range of ecosystems.

The terrain around the lake is varied, with some areas featuring steep, rocky cliffs while others have gentle, sloping banks. This variation provides a rich environment for observing different geological formations and processes.

Geologically, the area around Kentucky Lake is noted for its sedimentary rock formations, including limestone and sandstone. These rock types are often visible along the lake’s shoreline and cliffs.

Where we found quartz in Kentucky Lake

We’ve found quartz along the shorelines where the water has eroded the rocks. These areas are especially good for uncovering quartz after storms or heavy rains.

Other Great Places To Find Kentucky Quartz

pale purple amethyst crystals
Amethyst provided by MineralManorShop

In our rockhounding adventures across the state, we’ve come across various places where quartz can be found. These are our other recommendations:

Our recommendations by county

County Location
Adair County Gaddie-Shamrock Columbia quarry
Allen County Scottsville
Anderson County Kentucky River
Bath County Owingsville
Bell County VM+M Mining quarry
Boyle County Carpenter Creek
Boyle County Danville
Breckinridge County Mystic Quarry
Bullitt County KY 1526 road cuts
Carter County Little Sandy River
Crittenden County Frances
Crittenden County Marion
Crittenden County Moore Hill
Crittenden County Mary Belle Mine
Cumberland County Kentucky 61 road cuts
Edmonson County Park City Quarry
Elliott County Elliott County kimberlite
Estill County Renfro and Borden formations
Floyd County Truman Shepherd coal mine
Graves County Jackson Purchase
Green County Nally and Gibson Greensburg Quarry
Greenup County Greenup Mine
Greenup County Paul Coffey quarry
Hardin County KY 313 road cuts
Hardin County Radcliff
Hardin County Vine Grove
Hart County Horse Cave
Jackson County Station Camp Creek
Letcher County Nally and Hayden Quarry
Lincoln County Crab Orchard
Lincoln County Green River
Lincoln County Halls Gap
Lincoln County Kings Mountain
Logan County Hanson Aggregates Midwest Russelville Quarry
Madison County Big Hill
Meade County Muldraugh
Metcalfe County Edmonton
Monroe County Central Tennessee Mining District
Nelson County Bardstown
Oldham County Brownsboro
Owen County Gratz Mine
Pike County Elkhorn Quarry
Powell County Renfro and Borden formations
Pulaski County Cumberland Parkway roadcut
Rockcastle County Grassy Creek
Rowan County Rose River Iron Mines
Russell County Manntown Road
Taylor County Badger Mine
Trigg County Canton Quarry
Washington County Springfield
Wayne County Monticello

Common Quartz-Hunting Questions

translucent grayish druzy chalcedony
Chalcedony provided by OddballMinerals

We often hear a lot of questions about finding and identifying quartz in Kentucky from fellow rock enthusiasts. Here, we’ll be answering important questions about quartz hunting in the state.

Is it illegal to collect quartz in Kentucky?

Collecting quartz in Kentucky is generally legal, but there are important rules and regulations to follow. It’s essential to know the ownership of the land where you plan to collect, as different rules apply to private, state, and federal lands. 

On private property, you must have the landowner’s permission to mine for quartz. Without this permission, taking any rocks or minerals, including quartz, is considered trespassing and theft. 

On state and federal lands, the rules can be more complex. Often, collecting small amounts of rocks and minerals for personal use is allowed, but commercial collecting is typically prohibited. 

It’s a good idea to check with the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources or the specific agency managing the land to understand where to mine for quartz.

The Best Places To Buy Quartz In Kentucky

glass shelves displaying rocks and minerals
Green Earth Stones Metaphysical Center

In our travels, we’ve visited many shops that sell quartz in various forms. Here’s a list of some of the best shops we’ve come across for buying quartz, perfect for collectors at any level.

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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