I often am asked what kind of gems I find on my rock hunting trips so I mad this list! As I find new ones, they will be added to the list below 🙂
I have found these pieces of Amethyst near Creede, Colorado but the purple Amethyst actually comes from Durango, Colorado up in the mountains. They have beautiful purple running through them just like the large pieces you see in stores from Brazil. The only difference is that the USA locations find smaller and less amounts than Brazil.
Apache Tears, New Mexico
These oddly shaped stones are primarily found in Southwestern USA and into parts of Mexico. The are volcanic stones that vary from black to brown and are transparent. They are said to be strange shapes because of the tears that the wives of American Indian Tribe cried when their tribe was outnumbered by the Cavalry during a fight, and they chose to commit suicide instead of being captured. The tears supposedly fell to Earth and became these beautiful obsidian stones, so people will always remember the story.
Azurite and Malachite, New Mexico
In New Mexico, my family and I hiked a trial up to where mining use to take place frequently in the side of this mountain. There were entrances so large at one point you were able to drive truck into them and load them up with these minerals. Although it was primarily in the walls, we picked up all of ours on the pieces that have fallen onto the ground which are these blue and green colors.
Along Alpine Loop in Southern Colorado there is a location near a mine where the ground is covered in chalcopyrite. It is only accessible in the summer but it is one of the easier hikes, you just need a 4wd vehicle to get there. These are some of the most colorful gems we have found because you will find variations of the rainbow Chalcopyrite is also known as Fool’s Gold because it looks very similar to real gold.
Crystal Points, Colorado
A very recent hike my family and I went on with our friend Larry and his daughter took us out to Crystal Hill which is filled with beautiful crystal points of all different sizes. We spent all day digging at the site and came home with yogurt buckets full of crystal points. These were formed naturally so all I had to do was clean them and rinse them off a few times and they are just like the ones you see in stores, just completely naturally formed and found in Southern Colorado.
Desert Roses, Arizona
These unique stones are the flowers of gemstones. They form in a different way than most gems/rocks and we found them at the DoBell Ranch and collected a handful of them! They form individually as well as in clusters.
Recently my family met a man named Larry who lives in Southern Colorado who is an avid rock and gem hunter. He took us on this hike up into the mountains to a cave that was filled with dark green fluorite and we packed out a bunch of it. We got everything from small fingernail sizes to one the size of a bowling ball and they are some of the prettiest green I have ever seen.
Geodes are actually one of the very first types of gems I have ever found. My dad, brother and I hiked to our first location for Geodes up near the Rio Grande Reservoir but have since found a more realistic area in Southern Colorado that does not require as much long distance hiking, but rather scattered all over a mountain near Creede. These come in round rocks that have already been broken, but we also have found many non broken rocks. These are the most fun to me because we get to break them open once we get home! They are known to have crystals and opal inside them.
Jasper is actually one of the most common types of gems I have found and I have seen it in many states. It is known to come in colors like red, orange, yellow, black, brown and white. Typically they have a few colors all mixed into one piece which makes for a beautiful stone. There is a location right outside of Creede, Colorado that we can actually take you on a rock hunt to find them yourself! Its an easy trip which is great for families. The one pictured is a piece of chocolate jasper.
Ocean Finds, Washington
While I lived up in Olympic National Park, I frequently made trips out to the coast with my friends to explore. One day at Third Beach we were heading towards the waterfall that falls into the Ocean near the end of the beach when I stumbled upon a large section of rocks and shells that look kind of like sea glass but they were all different from one another. They were so beautiful so I knew I had to take a picture and show you guys!
Payson Diamonds, Arizona
During a trip to see Kansas State play in the Cactus Bowl, my Dad, cousins and I decided to make a stop at Diamond Point in Payson, Arizona. We started at the top and drove back down and ran into two geologists and retired park managers. They explained to us how to find the fully intact diamonds and even purple amethyst. Unfortunately we didn’t find any amethyst points, but we did leave with 2 diamonds!
Petrified Wood, Arizona
DoBell Ranch is just outside the Petrified Forest National Park and is owned by a wonderful family. They have land that they refused to sell to the NPS and dig every day and discover Petrified wood of all shapes and sizes. It is free to visit so look for the sign along the fence post to see the turn off. If you’re interested in collecting your own wood, make sure and bring some cash! Bringing your own bucket or bag is also important.
Turquoise, Colorado & Nevada
The first time I found turquoise in Colorado it was kind of a fluke. See, my family and I were driving up Bachelor’s Loop and we stepped out of the car to look near the mines to see if there was any more Sowbelly Amethyst (pink striped rock basically). When I got out of the car I looked down to see a bright blue piece of turquoise. At the time I had no clue I even found it since I thought it was fake, but we took it to our friend a geologist and he said it was 100% Turquoise.
White Opal, Colorado
One of the most exciting rock hunts we go on is to search for this solid white Opal. It involves a river crossing and then a hike into the forest where we did just off of the trail to find all shapes and sizes buried in the ground. We have also found a thinner type of Opal that is almost transulescent at the same location as the geodes we find!
Have you ever been rock hounding? If so, what have you found?
Comment below or contact me!