16 Gemstones in North Carolina: Where to Find Them and How to Use Them

  1. All You Need To Know When Rockhounding in North Carolina
  2. Best North Carolina Rockhounding Location
  3. Top 16 Gemstones in North Carolina
  4. How to Do Rockhounding in North Carolina
  5. Find North Carolina Crystals and Start Using Them!

Have you ever dreamed of unearthing a hidden gem, quite literally? North Carolina, known as the “Gem Capital of the World,” beckons gem lovers with its alluring promise of hidden treasures. 

From the curious traveler to the avid gem collector, one can’t help but wonder: where in North Carolina can you find these gemstones? What gemstones can be found in North Carolina? And where exactly do these shimmering crystals hide?

Well, North Carolina is a gem hunter’s paradise! The heart of this treasure hunt lies in the western terrains, especially the majestic Appalachian Mountains. 

Places like the Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite or the Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine in Franklin have become almost pilgrimage sites for those with a sparkle in their eye, hoping to dig up their very own piece of the Earth’s magic.

Ready to embark on a journey? North Carolina’s gem-laden terrains await!

All You Need To Know When Rockhounding in North Carolina

Graphic Table about Gemstones in the State of North Carolina.

Imagine walking on the same grounds where, centuries ago, Native Americans marveled at the gleam of precious stones. North Carolina’s gemstone journey began with them using these treasures for tools and trade. 

Fast forward to the 19th century, and the state was buzzing with excitement. A gem rush was in full swing, with families and adventurers digging deep, dreaming of unearthing the next big find. 

And who could forget the legendary “Carolina Emperor,” the largest Emerald found in North America? It’s tales like these that have etched North Carolina’s name in the annals of gemstone history.

North Carolina is like a quilt, each patch representing a unique terrain. The towering Appalachians in the west are a haven for gem enthusiasts. The gentle roll of the hills in the Piedmont region tell tales of fertile grounds and ancient rivers. 

And then there’s the serene beauty of the coastal plains, stretching lazily to meet the Atlantic. This land is alive, teeming with creatures like the majestic black bears in the mountains or the graceful sea turtles gracing the coastlines. 

What about the weather? It’s as varied as the landscape. While mountain towns might be dusted with snow, coastal cities bask in a warm, salty breeze. 

Best North Carolina Rockhounding Location

I have curated a list of the best spots you can consider to go gem hunting. 

Always remember that the availability and accessibility to certain locations advised in these guides might change, so make sure you are informed and up to date before embarking on a rockhounding adventure.

Graphic Table about Gemstones in the State of North Carolina.

Top 16 Gemstones in North Carolina

North Carolina! A state where Mother Nature seems to have spilled her jewelry box. Let’s embark on a journey to uncover some of the state’s most dazzling treasures.


Hexagonal emerald on a white background

Hiddenite, North Carolina isn’t just a name; it’s a promise of Emerald wonders, especially if you venture into the Emerald Hollow Mine. When you’re on the hunt, keep an eye out for those distinct hexagonal shapes. 

Don’t forget your trusty shovel and pickaxe! And remember, North Carolina’s Emeralds have a special kind of magic – they nurture love and intuition.


Blue Sapphire on a white background

Imagine a blue so deep it feels like you’re diving into an ocean. That’s the Sapphire for you! Head over to the Cowee Valley in Franklin, and you might just stumble upon these blue marvels.

Bring along your screen, bucket chisel and hammer.

And here’s a fun fact: not all Sapphires here are blue. Some are born in shades of pink and purple. A washing screen will be your best friend during this quest. And spiritually? Sapphires are like deep breaths. They clear the mind and soothe the soul.


A raw garnet on a white background

There’s something timeless about the deep, wine-red Garnets. Places like the Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine are a Garnet lover’s dream. If you’re lucky, you might find these gems just lying in stream beds, waiting for someone to admire their beauty. 

Don’t forget to pack your shovel, pickaxe, bucket and tweezers. And if you believe in the power of stones, Garnets are your go-to for sparking passion and creativity.


A polished clear quartz crystal on a white background

Quartz is like the chameleon of the gem world, taking on so many forms and colors. North Carolina has everything from the clarity of Clear Quartz to the mysterious depths of Smoky Quartz and even the purple allure of Amethyst. 

The Brushy Creek Mine is where a lot of Quartz is found in North Carolina. And when you’re out there, a rock hammer might become your best buddy. 

Spiritually, Quartz is like a gentle hug for the soul, amplifying positive energies.


ruby crystal on a white background

North Carolina has some incredibly beautiful Rubies. If you’re in the mood for a treasure hunt, the Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine in Franklin is where you should set your sights. 

Bring your pickaxe, screen, tweezers, and shovel. Rubies are like a shot of espresso for the spirit, boosting confidence and vitality.

Rhodolite Garnet

Rhodolite Garnet crystal on a white background
Image Source: Etsy.com | Akil Khan

It’s like Mother Nature took the best of reds and purples and swirled them into this gem. If you’re dreaming of finding one, head straight to the Cowee Valley in Franklin.

Pack your screen, pickaxe, and chisel. While searching, watch for dodecahedral shapes that seem to glow with a raspberry-red hue. This Garnet wraps you in love and kindness.


blue moonstone on white background

Have you ever looked at the moon and wished you could hold a piece of it? Well, with Moonstone, you sort of can! The riverbeds and streams of the Piedmont region might have these gems hiding, waiting for you. 

Pack your bucket, axe, and shovel. And spiritually? They’re like a gentle whisper, nudging your intuition and sparking inspiration.


polished kyanite crystal on a white background

Imagine stumbling upon a gem resembling the clear blue sky on a sunny day. That’s Kyanite for you! The Spruce Pine area is where these blue wonders like to play hide and seek. You’ll find elongated blue crystals nestled between rocks if you’re lucky. 

Pack your shovel, chisel, pickaxe, and hammer. Kyanite is like that friend who always knows what to say. It aligns chakras and boosts communication.


Black tourmaline on a white background

Tourmaline is like the chameleon of the gem world. One moment it’s pink, the next it’s green, and sometimes even black! These colorful wonders reside in the western terrains, especially around the majestic Appalachians.

Be sure to have a shovel, pickaxe and hammer. And if you believe in energies, using Tourmaline is like having a protective shield, warding off negativity.


aquamarine on a white background

If you’ve ever wanted to capture the essence of a calm sea in a stone, Aquamarine is your answer. The western counties, especially around Spruce Pine, are rumored to hide these tranquil gems. Their blue hue is like a gentle reminder of the coast. 

A pickaxe, chisel, bucket, and screen will help dig up this beauty. Aquamarines are like little drops of calm soothing the mind and soul of those seeking inner peace.


polished Citrine crystal on a white background

Citrine is like beholding a piece of the sun. Its sunny, golden glow can light up any day. The Appalachian region might have a Citrine waiting for you beneath its soil. 

A shovel, chisel, axe, and hammer will be needed.If you’re someone who’s looking for a bit of luck, Citrine is a magnet for prosperity and success.


Polished Amethyst Gemstone on a white background

The Spruce Pine area in North Carolina is a good place to start your Amethyst adventure. These gems often form in geodes, so keep an eye out for rock formations that might house these purple wonders. 

A sturdy rock hammer and chisel will be your best friends here. North Carolina’s Amethysts range from pale lilacs to deep purples. 

On the spiritual side, Amethysts are calming stones, promoting balance and dispelling negative emotions.


pyrite on a white background

Ah, the allure of gold! But wait, that’s Pyrite, our very own “Fool’s Gold.” The western regions of North Carolina, with their meandering streams, are where these shiny wonders like to hide.

Grab a pan, much like the gold prospectors of yore, and try your luck! And while it’s not gold, Pyrite carries its own magic, shielding you from negativity and boosting your confidence.


A feldspar crystal on a white background

Feldspar is abundant in North Carolina, especially in the Spruce Pine district. When on the hunt, look for its blocky and tabular crystals. A pickaxe and shovel will help you dig through the earth to find these gems. 

Varieties in North Carolina include both Orthoclase (pink) and Plagioclase (white to gray). Spiritually, Feldspar helps you align with your inner self and find your life’s purpose.


Polished Beryl on a white background

Beryl is like the parent of some of the most beautiful gems, from Emeralds to Aquamarines. Places like the Crabtree Emerald Mine are like a treasure map leading straight to these gems. 

When on the hunt, those hexagonal prisms are your clue. Bring along your hammer, pickaxe and shovel. And if you’re someone who believes in the power of stones, Beryl is like a protective embrace, enhancing courage and washing away stress.


raw orange calcite on a white background

Calcite is scattered across North Carolina. The Linville Caverns house these beauties. When hunting, look for its rhombohedral crystal form. A rock hammer and a gentle touch (as Calcite is relatively soft) are essential. 

The state boasts clear, orange, and even green varieties. Calcite amplifies energy, boosts memory, and cleanses negative energies.


Hiddenite on a white background

Discovered in the 19th century and named in honor of W.E. Hidden, the man who first stumbled upon it, Hiddenite is a beautiful emerald green color stone. If you ever find yourself wandering through the town of Hiddenite in Alexander County, you’re in the heart of one of the world’s rarest gemstone territories. 

But here’s a tip: Bring along a shovel and pickaxe, and keep those eyes peeled!

Hiddenite has a sneaky way of blending in with other green stones. It’s a beacon of love, joy, and healing, making it a companion for the soul.

How to Do Rockhounding in North Carolina

Imagine the thrill of unearthing a hidden gem, feeling the weight of a million-year-old crystal in your hand. North Carolina, with its rich variety of landscapes, beckons every rockhound with this promise. 

But before diving into this exciting world, let’s prepare you for the adventure!

Tools and Gear for Rockhounding

  • Shovel and Pickaxe: Think of these as your trusty sidekicks, helping you dig deep into the heart of the Earth.
  • Rock Hammer and Chisel: These are for those “Eureka!” moments when you spot a gem and need to coax it out gently.
  • Sifting Screens: It’s like panning for gold, but for gems! It’s a fun way to wash away the dirt and see what treasures lie beneath.
  • Field Guide: Your roadmap to the gem world. It’s like having a wise old geologist whispering in your ear.
  • Sturdy Gloves and Protective Eyewear: Because your hands and eyes are precious, too!
  • Backpack: Your treasure chest. Fill it with tools, snacks, and, of course, the gems you discover.

Packing, Transporting, and Cutting Crystals

  • Bubble Wrap or Old Newspapers: Treat your finds like the treasures they are. Wrap them up snugly and safely.
  • Plastic or Canvas Bags: Organize your gems. It’s like sorting candies but way more exciting!
  • Labels and Markers: Jot down where you found each gem. It’s a part of their story and yours.
  • Cutting and Polishing: If you feel crafty, shape and shine your gems. But remember, safety first!

Safety Regulations and Mining Laws

  • Permission: Always knock before entering when mining in North Carolina, metaphorically speaking. If it’s private land, seek permission.
  • Designated Areas: Stick to the paths well-trodden. Some places are off-limits for a reason.
  • Leave No Trace: Let’s keep North Carolina beautiful. Clean up after yourself.
  • Awareness: Stay in the know. Laws change, and it’s always good to be on the right side of them.

Tips for Rockhounding Like a Pro

  • Research: Knowledge is power. The more you know about where you’re going, the better your chances of striking gem gold.
  • Join a Club: Find your tribe. Fellow rockhounds can offer tips and stories and maybe even become lifelong friends.
  • Stay Safe: Adventures are fun, but always let someone know where you’re off to.
  • Patience is Key: Remember, it’s not just about the find. Relish the hunt, the outdoors, and the joy of discovery.

So, lace up those boots, pack your gear, and let North Carolina’s landscapes tell you their ancient, gem-filled stories. Happy rockhounding!

Graphic Table about Gemstones in the State of North Carolina.

Find North Carolina Crystals and Start Using Them!

Imagine stepping into North Carolina, where every nook and cranny whispers tales of ancient times. Picture the towering Appalachians, standing tall like old guardians, and the calming coastal plains that stretch out. 

As you set out on this gem-hunting adventure, it’s not just about the thrill of finding a hidden gem. It’s about feeling the heartbeat of the land, listening to its stories, and understanding the journey each gem has taken.

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