Rock Discoveries

Unearthing America’s Treasures: Hunting for Rubies in the US

The Ruby is a gemstone prized for its beauty and rarity, and finding one can be quite a thrilling experience for any gemstone enthusiast. However, not all environments are suitable for finding rubies, so where should one begin searching?

In this article, we will discuss the most common environments where rubies are found, the best states in the U.S. for finding these gemstones, and their characteristic colors and clarity. Finding Rubies in the U.S.

Rubies are a form of corundum mineral, which can occur in metamorphic rocks like schist and marble, as well as in pegmatites and dunites.

The mineral is frequently accompanied by other minerals such as spinel, and ruby deposits are often found in gravels and stream beds. Ruby mines and quarries can also be sources of these gems.

So, where are these environments located, and what states are the best for hunting for rubies? Best U.S. States to Find Rubies

Several states in the United States offer promising environments for finding rubies.

For instance, North Carolina is home to the Montvale mine, which produces rubies with a deep red color and good clarity. Wyoming’s Split Rock is another significant site, where the rubies can display a bright red hue.

Montana’s Yogo Gulch is another well-known site, where the rubies are icy-blue in color and valued for their rarity. Alabama’s Graham Ranch and California’s Tin Cup Mountain are two more locations that offer promising deposits of rubies.

Georgia is also known for producing rubies with good clarity and natural red coloration at the Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine. Indiana’s Madison County has a few sites for finding rubies, including Pole Creek, and New Jersey’s Franklin and Ogdensburg have rich ruby deposits as well.

Utah and Washington are also well-known for their deposits of rubies and other gemstones.

State Locations

Each of these states has different sites for finding rubies. In North Carolina, the Montvale mine produces high-quality rubies that are well suited as centerpieces for rings or necklaces.

Elijah Mountain Gem Mine is another location in North Carolina that guests can visit to hunt for rubies on the site. The Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine in Georgia offers visitors a guided tour of the area and teaches them how to mine rubies by hand.

Split Rock in Wyoming and Tin Cup Mountain in California both produce exceptional rubies that can be found in the area’s gravels and stream beds. Finally, Montana’s Yogo Gulch and Pole Creek offer some of the rarest rubies in the United States, icier in tone than traditional deep red rubies.

How Rubies Form

Before you embark on your search for rubies, it’s essential to understand how these gemstones form. Rubies are formed from corundum mineral under extreme geological pressure and heat, which can take millions of years.

As a result of these extreme geological events, rubies are found in metamorphic rocks, including both schist and marble. You’re most likely to find rubies in areas where geological events have occurred in the past.

Stream Gravels and Beds

One of the easiest places to look for rubies is in stream gravels and beds. Water currents move the heaviest materials down the stream, and this process can sometimes uncover rubies buried in the substratum.

When searching in a stream for rubies, always ensure that you have permission to do so and keep safe as river beds can be tricky to traverse.

Mines and Quarries

Ruby mines and quarries can also be fruitful environments to find rubies. You can find them up high in the rocks where deep depths have exposed pegmatite and dunite exposures.

However, these operations are often commercial ventures that require extensive permits, if not outright permission, to access. Therefore, it’s important to do your research and gain the necessary permission ahead of time if this is a route that you want to pursue.

Rubies’ Color and Clarity

Once you have found or purchased your rubies, it’s important to note that these gems can vary in color and clarity, affecting their value. The ideal color for a ruby is a deep red hue and good clarity.

Rubies with a primary red tone and secondary hues, including pink and orange, may have less value depending on the buyer’s preference. Some rubies are also heavily clumped with mineral inclusions, including rutile needles, which may detract from a stone’s value.

Color and clarity are essential factors that must be considered in determining a gemstone’s worth.


In conclusion, rubies can be found in many parts of the world, but the U.S. is home to promising environments for finding these precious stones. The best states to search are North Carolina, Wyoming, Montana, and Georgia, among others, where some of the rarest and most beautiful rubies can be discovered.

By understanding the geology of these gemstones and their ideal characteristics, you can be better equipped to locate and value your rubies. Remember to conduct research and gain permission before embarking on your search, and always keep safety in mind.

Happy hunting!

North Carolina is known to be one of the best states in the U.S. for finding rubies, as well as other precious gems, such as emerald specimens. The state has a vast treasure trove of locations that gemstone enthusiasts can visit to mine these precious stones.

Some of the best sites to hunt for rubies and other gems in North Carolina include Elijah Mountain Gem Mine, Newfound Gap, Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine, Franklin, Corundum Hill, Higdon Mountain, and Cowee Creek.

Abundance of Ruby Mines in Macon County

Macon County in North Carolina has a large concentration of ruby mines, including Arnold Ruby Mine, Bonanza Mine, Caler Creek Ruby Mine, Corundum Hill, Cowee Ruby Mine, Dale and Demkos Mine, Gregory Ruby Mine, Holbrook Ruby Mine, Jacobs Ruby Mine, Jones Mine, Mason Branch Mine, Mincey Mine, Rose Creek Mine, Sheffield Corundum Mine, Shuler Ruby Mine, West’s Mine, and Yukon Ruby Mine. Visitors to these mines can pay a fee to search for gemstones in the area.

One of the most famous ruby mines in Macon County is the Cowee Ruby Mine, which is located near Franklin. The mine features trenches where visitors can sift through gravel in search of precious gems.

Visitors to Cowee Ruby Mine are likely to discover rubies, as well as other precious gemstones such as garnet, sapphire, emerald, and topaz. The mine also sells high-quality specimens of gemstones for those that want to purchase them.

Montana is another state that’s well known for its rubies. Western Montana, in particular, is where most of the ruby hunting occurs.

Two distinct locations of significant ruby mining in Montana are Pole Creek and Yogo Gulch in Granite County. Additionally, the

Alder Gulch Mining District found within the Judith Basin is another area where ruby enthusiasts can go for mining adventures.

Rubies in Western Montana

The best place to look for rubies in Western Montana is Pole Creek, which is upstream from the Elephant Head Creek. The creek drains towards the Ruby Mountains and boasts an ideal environment for alluvial mining due to the heavily eroded terraced hillsides.

Visitors to the area can use an iron detector or simply sift through the gravels by hand.

Yogo Gulch and Granite County

The Yogo Gulch region of Montana is home to naturally occurring gems of sapphire and ruby. The area has been a center of sapphire and ruby mining for over a century.

The gemstones were created millions of years ago through the complex interaction of magma, water, and other minerals. The region’s unique geological features, area pegmatites, and dikes, have created an environment suitable for these precious stones.

The Rock Creek Mining District is a nearby location known for gold and sapphire mining.

Alder Gulch Mining District


Alder Gulch Mining District is a popular spot for ruby enthusiasts as well. The region is an alluvial fan that formed where Alder Gulch deposits meet the lower bench deposits.

The gold and ruby-rich material in the area is traced from the source, Norris Deposit, through various placer deposits. The region is well known for garnet, sapphire, and ruby specimens.

Those interested in mining rubies and other precious gemstones in Alder Gulch can participate in guided tours or go on their own guided self-tours.


North Carolina and Montana offer some of the best locations in the U.S. for hunting for rubies. Western Montana is home to the Pole Creek region, as well as the Yogo Gulch and the

Alder Gulch Mining Districts.

Meanwhile, North Carolina’s Macon County has more ruby mines than any other U.S. state, making it an excellent destination for gemstone enthusiasts. Visitors to these areas need to conduct research, gain permission, and be safe while hunting for gems.

Happy hunting!

Georgia is another state in the United States where rubies can be found. While the state is most famous for its peaches, the state’s Northwestern and Northeastern regions are well-known for their rubies.

In Northern Georgia, rubies are primarily found along the Tallapoosa River. Meanwhile, in Northeastern Georgia, Cumming, Turkey Hill, Trap Rock Grap, and White County are the most promising areas.

Rubies in Northwestern Georgia

The Tallapoosa River in northwestern Georgia is home to several excellent ruby mines where visitors can find high-quality gemstones. The river’s geography, where it runs along a wide bed of quartz, slate, and schist, has given rise to ruby deposits in the area.

In the summer, when water levels are low, visitors often wade into the river to search for deposits in the gravels and rocky substrate.

Rubies in Northeastern Georgia

Northeastern Georgia also has several locations that are worth exploring for rubies. Cumming, for instance, has a significant amount of corundum located in the area’s alluvial deposits.

The Turkey Hill area offers a plentiful supply of high-quality ruby stones. Trap Rock Gap is another location in the region that is famous for its corundum deposits.

Meanwhile, White County is home to the world-famous Graves Mountain and is known for producing finely cut rubies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Ruby Mines in the United States? Yes, various active ruby mines are located in the United States.

Some of the most prominent mines are the Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine in North Carolina, Elijah Mountain Gem Mine in Georgia, and the mines in Montana and Utah. How Rare Is It to Find a Ruby?

Rubies are among the rarest gemstones found in the world. Even in areas where rubies are known to be present, they are often hard to find since they only form under extreme conditions over millions of years.

What Kind of Rocks Do You Find Rubies In? Rubies are typically found in rocks that have undergone metamorphism, including schist, gneiss, and marble.

They also occur in gravels, pegmatites, and igneous rocks. Ruby formation requires extreme temperatures and pressure, and they only develop in specialized rock environments.

Rubies are one of the most beautiful and valuable gemstones in the world. However, their rarity and the difficulty involved in their extraction make finding a ruby a considerable challenge.

Rubies are a type of corundum mineral, accompanied by spinel and other minerals. They have a crystal structure that determines their shape and color.

When looking for rubies, it’s essential to seek out the right environments. These include areas with metamorphic rocks such as schist and marble, as well as pegmatites and dunites.

In stream beds and gravels, rubies become visible through erosional processes. Ruby mines and quarries are another excellent source, but permission or permits may be necessary to explore these areas.

One of the essential factors to consider when looking for rubies is their color. Rubies have a unique deep red hue, which is associated with their value.

Variations in red color, which include secondary hues like pink and orange, can alter a ruby’s value. A ruby with excessive mineral inclusions might also reduce its value and beauty.

Another issue that must be considered when looking for rubies is their clarity. Rubies with significant clumps of mineral inclusions can appear cloudy and detract from their value and beauty.

The amount of inclusions also influences a ruby’s durability when incorporated into jewelry. The rarity of rubies is another factor that makes them challenging to find.

Rubies only develop under specific temperatures and pressures under metamorphic or igneous environments, making them a rare and valuable gemstone. Worldwide, only a few countries are currently producing significant quantities of rubies commercially, with Myanmar being the world’s top producer for the longest time.

In conclusion, finding rubies is a challenging process that requires a combination of skill, luck, and research. Ruby enthusiasts must seek out specific environments and know how to recognize and identify the gemstones’ unique characteristics.

Understanding these vital elements will increase your chances of finding high-quality rubies that are both beautiful and valuable. It is also important to ensure that when mining rubies, one must follow local regulations and be responsible for the environment.

In conclusion, finding rubies in the United States requires diligent research, knowledge of the ideal environments, and understanding the characteristics of high-quality stones. The rarity and unique properties of rubies make them a prized possession and investment.

Exploring the ruby mines and quarries of North Carolina, Montana, Georgia, and other states provide a wealth of opportunities for gemstone enthusiasts. Below are some FAQs that provide accurate information about this valuable gemstone.


– Are there any active ruby mines in the United States?

Yes, the Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine and Elijah Mountain Gem Mine in North Carolina, Utah, and Montana are home to active ruby mines.

– How rare are rubies, and what makes them valuable? Rubies are one of the rarest gemstones in the world, with geological conditions contributing to their scarcity and the difficulty of their extraction.

Their deep red color and hardness, make them highly valuable. – In what types of rocks do rubies form?

Rubies form in metamorphic rocks, including schist, gneiss, and marble, as well as pegmatites and dunites.

– What factors impact the value of a ruby?

Color and clarity are the two most essential factors that influence a ruby’s value. Rubies that exhibit a deep, intense red color and good clarity are highly sought after.

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