Rock Discoveries

Unearthing Virginia’s Hidden Gems: Discovering Precious Stones in the State

Exploring the Gemstones of Virginia

Are you looking for a unique outdoor experience? Look no further than the gemstones of Virginia.

The state is home to a variety of precious stones waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re looking to pan for gold or dig for gemstones, Virginia has something for everyone.

In this article, we will explore the types of gemstones found in Virginia and the public gem mines where you can hunt for treasures.

Types of Gemstones in Virginia

Virginia is home to various types of gemstones, ranging from kyanite to amethyst. Here is a closer look at some of the gemstones you can find in Virginia:

Amazonite: This blue-green feldspar is found in Amelia County, Virginia.

It is a popular gemstone for jewelry, and it was used by Native Americans for decorative purposes. Kyanite: The deep blue crystal of kyanite is a sight to behold.

It can be found at Hurricane Knob, a mountain in Smyth County. Kyanite is popular in jewelry-making and is believed to have healing properties.

Beryl: The beryl family of gemstones includes aquamarine and emerald. In Virginia, you can find different samples of beryl, including golden and pink varieties.

Some of the best samples of beryl in Virginia come from Amelia Courthouse and Amelia County. Unakite: This metamorphic stone is made up of an epidote-rich granite.

It gets its name from its green and pink colors. You can find unakite in the Western Blue Ridge and Roanoke regions of Virginia.

Epidote: This green crystal is commonly found in Virginia’s mountains, including the Rose River in Madison County. It is believed to have healing properties and is popular among crystal collectors.

Quartz/Amethyst: Macrocrystalline silica is the scientific name for quartz, which comes in a variety of colors. The Blue Quartz, found in Charlottesville, is a favorite among collectors.

Amethyst, a violet variety of quartz, is also found in Virginia. Apatite: Deep blue masses of apatite can be found in Galax.

Apatite is a group of phosphate minerals commonly used in the production of fertilizer. Staurolite: This silicate mineral is commonly known as Fairy Crosses in Virginia.

Staurolite can be found in Patrick County’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

Public Gem Mines in Virginia

Lucky Lake Gem Mine: Located in Stanardsville, Lucky Lake Gem Mine is a pay-to-dig site where you can hunt for a variety of gemstones, including amethyst and topaz. Lucky Lake Gem Mine offers both in-ground and water flume mining.

Appalachian Gem and Gold Mine: Appalachian Gem and Gold Mine is a pay-to-dig site located in Marion. Visitors can pan for gold or dig for gemstones, including amethyst, topaz, and emerald.

Monroe Park Gold & Gemstone Panning: This 14-acre park is located in Goldvein. Visitors can pan for gold or gems in a stream that runs through the park.

The park is open from April to October, and panning equipment can be rented on-site. Fairy Stone State Park: The state park is open year-round and offers gemstone hunting opportunities for children and adults.

It is located in Stuart, and visitors can hunt for Fairy Stones, a type of staurolite that resembles a cross. Morefield Mine: This mine is currently closed, but it was a popular spot for gemstone hunting before its closure.


Exploring the gemstones of Virginia is an exciting way to spend time outdoors. The state offers various public gem mines where visitors can hunt for gems or pan for gold.

From kyanite to staurolite, Virginia is home to a wide range of gemstones waiting to be discovered. Plan your visit today and see what treasures you can find!

Diamond Hunting in Virginia: A Rare Experience

Diamonds are considered to be the most precious and sought-after gemstones in the world.

People often go on an adventure to find diamonds, and the search for diamonds has been a fascinating journey for many. Although diamonds are commonly associated with famous mines in South Africa, Canada, and Russia, Virginia is not known for diamond production.

However, this does not mean that diamonds cannot be found in Virginia. In this article, we will explore the history of diamond hunting in Virginia and the five instances when diamonds were found in the state.

Virginia Not Known for Diamond Production

Diamonds are typically found in kimberlite pipes or alluvial deposits. Kimberlite pipes are underground rock formations that contain diamonds, and alluvial deposits are soil or gravel where diamonds have been washed down from their original location.

Virginia does not have any known kimberlite pipes or alluvial deposits that produce diamonds. Therefore, it is fair to say that Virginia is not known for diamond production.

Five Diamonds Have Been Found in Virginia Since 1836

Despite not being known for diamond production, Virginia has had five instances where diamonds were found in the state. The first diamond discovery in Virginia was made in 1836 by Daniel Ball.

Ball was a farmer in Amherst County, Virginia, who found a 17-carat diamond while working in his field. The diamond was later cut and shaped to 8.5 carats and sold in New York.

The second diamond discovery in Virginia was made in 1855 by Dr. Francis Harbaugh, a physician and writer from Wytheville. Dr. Harbaugh found a blue diamond that was later cut to a 2.5-carat gem.

In 1867, a 23-carat diamond was found in Buckingham County, Virginia. The diamond was known as the “Buckingham Diamond,” and it was discovered by Obediah Brake, a farmer.

The diamond was sold to a Philadelphia jeweler, but its whereabouts are unknown today. In 1887, a 4.34-carat diamond was found in Fauquier County, Virginia.

Washington W. Smith, a farmer, found the diamond while plowing a field.

The diamond was later sold to Tiffany’s for $1,500. The last diamond discovery in Virginia was in 1987.

A 4.2-carat diamond was found by a couple from Fairfax County, Virginia, while they were on vacation in Arkansas. The diamond was later authenticated as being from the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, but the couple found the diamond when they unknowingly brought it back to Virginia.

Although only five diamonds have been found in Virginia since 1836, the diamond finds have sparked an interest in diamond hunting in the state.


Diamond hunting in Virginia is not a common practice, but it is not impossible to find diamonds in the state. Due to the lack of kimberlite pipes and alluvial deposits that produce diamonds, the likelihood of finding a diamond in Virginia is very low.

However, the five instances where diamonds were found in the state prove that anything is possible. If you are interested in diamond hunting, it is always important to do your research and follow the proper procedures to ensure a safe and successful diamond hunting experience.

In summary, exploring the gemstones of Virginia and diamond hunting in the state is a rare and unique experience that can provide great adventure and thrill. Virginia offers various public gem mines where visitors can hunt for gems or pan for gold, and while diamonds are not commonly found in the state, the five finds throughout history show that anything is possible.

With proper research and procedures, gemstone hunting can be a fun and rewarding experience for all. Below are some FAQs to address common questions or concerns that readers may have.


1. Can anyone go gemstone hunting?

– Yes, anyone can go gemstone hunting, but it’s important to follow the rules and regulations of the specific mining site. 2.

Are gemstones valuable? – The value of gemstones depends on several factors, including rarity, quality, and demand.

3. What equipment do I need for gemstone hunting?

– The equipment needed for gemstone hunting varies depending on the site and method of mining, but basic tools include a shovel, sifting screens, and buckets. 4.

Are there any safety concerns when gemstone hunting? – Yes, safety is important when gemstone hunting.

Always wear appropriate clothing and footwear, follow all rules and regulations, and be aware of your surroundings. 5.

Can I sell the gemstones I find? – It depends on the mining site’s policies and state laws, but in most cases, you can sell the gemstones you find.

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