Unearth Hidden Treasures: Dig For Gems At Mines In NY

Digging for gems at mines in NY is an exciting and rewarding activity that allows you to delve into the Earth’s depths and discover stunning natural treasures. While New York is renowned for its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant cities, it is also home to a surprising array of gemstones waiting to be unearthed. Join us as we embark on a sparkling adventure to explore the world of gem mining in the Empire State.

What To Pack For Digs At Mines In NY

Wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes, and be aware that mining conditions are often hot and sunny. A hat, sunscreen, and protective eyewear, e.g. safety glasses, are highly recommended. While some mines do provide tools, it’s advisable to bring a rock hammer, chisel, and bucket. Some mines will even allow you to wield a large sledgehammer.

Gem Mining At Herkimer Diamond Mines

Herkimer Diamonds are actually double-terminated quartz crystals, but they sparkle like the real thing.  And, if you’re lucky, you might find one big enough to turn into a pendant or even a paperweight.

Herkimer Diamond Mines and KOA Kampground – Located 1.5 hours from Albany, in Herkimer County, near the Adirondack Mountains.

  • Prospecting Admission Rates:$18.00/Adults; $14.00/Ages 5-12; Free/Ages 0-4.
  • The fee includes All-day Prospecting; Informational video; Museum admission; Use of a hammer; Zip-lock Collector’s bags.
  • Go for the day, or plan a vacation at the KOA Campground.
  • Group programs can be arranged a la carte, or take advantage of summer camps, home school outings, leadership programs, and Girl Scout or Boy Scout Camporees.
Video at Herkimer Diamond Mines

Before beginning your mining adventure, watch the informational video and check out the gem displays. It will give you a good idea as to what to look for in the mines.

At Herkimer Diamond Mines, there are designated mining areas where visitors are allowed to search for Herkimer Diamonds. You can choose to chisel out the rock walls or work on the large piles of mine tailings, the rocks, and materials discarded from previous mining operations.

Herkimer Diamond Mines quarry

There’s no one way that’s better than any other. From what we’ve learned, it’s possible to find large diamonds anywhere. And, in fact, the first time we went, my father-in-law found a huge diamond right on the ground.

Bear in mind that Herkimer Diamonds are usually found inside pockets or vugs within the dolostone rock. Look for rocks with irregular shapes, voids, or natural openings where crystals might be present.

Herkimer Diamond on palm of hand

If you do find a worthy gem, you can choose to turn it into a piece of jewelry at the Artisan Center. They have a great selection of gem settings, as well as selling great quality Herkimer Diamonds in the Mineral Shop.

Gem Mining At Crystal Grove Diamond Mine

Crystal Grove Diamond Mine and Campground – Located 1.5 hours from Albany in Johnsville NY.

  • Prospecting Admission Rates:$12.00/Adults; $10.00/Ages 5-14; Free/Ages 0-4.
  • The fee includes All-day prospecting.
  • Prospecting tools are available for rent.
  • Nearby AttractionsHowe Caverns and the Natural Stone Bridge & Caves.

Gem Mining At Ace of Diamonds Mine and Campground

Ace of Diamonds Mine and Campground – Located 1.75 hours from Albany in Middleville NY.

  • Prospecting Admission Rates: $14.00/8-Older; $7.00/Ages 7-Younger.
  • The fee includes All-day prospecting.
  • Prospecting tools are available for rent.
Barton Garnet

Gem Mining for Barton Garnets

The Barton garnet is the New York State Gem Stone.  This rare garnet, found only on Gore Mountain, has “an unusual and beautiful ruby red color that flashes in the sun.”

Garnet Mine Tours at Gore Mountain – Located 1.25 hours from Albany.

  • Prospecting Admission Rates: $18.00/Adults; $10.00/Ages 7-14. Any rock and gemstones collected on tour are a dollar per pound.
  • Fee Includes All-day Prospecting; a Guided tour describing the history and geology of the Garnet Mine and how to find your own Garnet Gemstone; Gem cutting demonstrations. Option to make your own jewelry at the Gem & Mineral Shop.

Can you find geodes in New York?

Geodes are not commonly found in New York. Geodes are typically formed in volcanic or sedimentary rocks, and New York’s geology is primarily composed of metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks that are not conducive to geode formation. However, there are some locations in New York where geodes have been sporadically discovered.

One such area is the Lockport Dolomite in western New York, near Lockport. The dolomite beds in this region occasionally contain geodes, although they are relatively rare. It’s important to note that finding geodes in New York is a challenge, and even in known locations, success is not guaranteed.

It’s recommended to research specific sites, seek permission if needed, and consult with local rock and mineral clubs or experts who may have knowledge of rare geode occurrences.

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