Gem Hunting, My Side Job as a Gold Miner

I get LOTS of questions about gems and gem hunting especially from gold miners. So I figured I’d address a few of them.   For me, I have always been a “rock hound” back to my childhood and it’s what got me started in gold mining.  I can remember those cool old wooden boxes with mysterious rocks from around the world.  Ah… to be 10 again.

First… gems are NOT easy to find for most. They usually lie in POCKET areas and you can be OFF good gems with only a few yards of movement.  Also, most gems are buried DEEP so if you’re not working excavated dirt, they can be scarce.  Also, the type of gems in YOUR area will differ greatly.

Can gems be caught in a gold sluice?
A gold sluice is a gold sluice and set / tuned for that. To your SLUICE… gems are ROCKS that you tell it to get rid of. Again, you have told your sluice and header box to get these things out of here. It’s only doing its job. Yes, at shut down you might see the occasional gem in the sluice, but 98% of our gems are found by HAND SEARCHING. Your tailings, both from your header system and at the end of the sluice, will be discharging gems. You must screen them and inspect them.

I heard they made diamond sluices?
True, but most of the BIG BOYS in the diamond industry use diamond jigs and still rely heavily on visual / hand inspection.  They also are not focused on GOLD as a primary capture.

How can I tell what gems are native to my area?
Did someone SEED these gems in?
Simple… learn to pan or inspect your black sands with a magnifying glass. Much like gold, gems also get crushed by water and grinding actions of rivers and creeks. If you look at the TINY fine black sands in your system, you’ll see tiny pieces of gems.  (See picture below)  Humans don’t SEED tiny gems the size of salt. So if you see these traces… they are native to your area. It should also tell you what to look for. Note… that is the tip of my finger in the picture.

raw gemstones prospecting

How can I identify gems? 
It just takes time. Carry a chart around with you and it REALLY helps to go somewhere that HAS gems. It’s a VERY worthwhile investment to spend a day at a pay-to-play mine and LEARN. If you never find any, you’ll never silly little things about them. Like a river topaz… feels round and smooth like a jelly bean. (Pic below)

raw gemstones prospecting

Eventually, after years, you’ll be spotting them from 20 feet away.

Some cool finds from the past 2 years in Georgia.

BELOW… A good day of gem hunting (gold mining)

Below… we call them watermelon rubies.

Below crazy day…. tons of terminated quartz points.

BELOW rutilated quartz.

BELOW … A massive cluster of quartz crystals found at the Loud Mine.

 

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15 Comments on "Gem Hunting, My Side Job as a Gold Miner"

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Itsmillertime
Member
Itsmillertime
Nice collection you have there. I’m from Wisconsin and there is not a lot here except for agates. Because of the glaciers any gems or gold are spotty. I’ve wondered if there was a better way of finding gems while searching for gold but I guess it just takes a… Read more »
danfinrud
Member
Joining a rock club in the area to help identify what you find. Working with those who collect rocks could help you find areas to collect gems. Knowing what is in the area and where you can collect will help a lot. SOmetimes they know where there are good collections… Read more »
kjudd
Member

My trip to Georgia last year (2016) got me HOOKED big time on gem stones! My husband, who usually goes for the gold is slowly turning to see what gem stones has to offer 🙂

Michael Judd
Member

True, the gems are getting my attention more and more.
If I can combine both gem hunting and gold prospecting all that much better.

1oldcrusty
Guest

Do they need to be polished before trying to sell them? Where would you sell them?

peachessouthafrica
Member
peachessouthafrica

Those are gorgeous gems.

steaming00
Member
I have quite a few gems from N.C. that i have sent overseas to be cut not really worth a lot but sure look like bling to me 5 carat silver topaz is brilliant and looks like a diamond . I also mail order sapphire gravel from Montana AND HAVE… Read more »
delnorter
Guest

Really great info on gems and hunting for them Doc. steaming00 could you provide a link or such for the overseas outfit that cuts gems for you?

Thanks,
Mike

kweldon
Member

Rock hounding is something I have done since I could walk. I am new to gold panning this year. I am so excited to have found more information and websites to connect with like minded people. Its lovely to continue to learn about what I love.

Shogun9hr
Member

I love watching Doc in action pulling gems as they fall in the bucket off the grizzly bars

LKpiglet
Member
Great article, went to Gold N Gem Grubbin , the first time was Feb 11th, we used classifyers and buckets, we found quite a few gems and some gold to boot. My wife and I were amazed at just how small some get ground up. Salt grain sized Amhytist ,… Read more »
Goldrckhndr
Member
Goldrckhndr
Like DanRud suggested: join a Gem n Mineral Club. Best thing I ever did as my hubs and I are both gold and rockhounders. Its so amazing when you find that gemstone out there whether in water or dry land. It does a heart good for sure !! We are… Read more »
Goldrckhndr
Member
Goldrckhndr

OOps Danfinrud .sorry … My glasses need glasses 🙂

Sydnie97
Member

I’m just starting out gem hunting, like you said I’ve also been a “rock hound” since a very young age. I’m looking for any tips and tricks you might have for someone just starting to hunt 🙂

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