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.
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)
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.