13 Gemstones in Tennessee: Where to Find Them and How to Use Them

  1. All You Need to Know When Rockhounding In Tennessee
  2. Best Tennessee Rockhounding Location
  3. Top 13 Gemstones in Tennessee
  4. How to Do Rockhounding in Tennessee
  5. FAQs

Are you curious about gemstones in Tennessee? Have you ever wondered how to find these beautiful treasures beneath the earth? Discover Tennessee’s gemstone secrets, including where to find and how to use them.

Tennessee boasts a rich geological history, and you might be surprised to learn it’s home to various gemstones. Rare gems like Tennessee River Pearls can be discovered here, along with Quartz and Agate.

Read on to uncover these fantastic gemstones in Tennessee rockhounding. You’re about to gain valuable insights that will make your journey both educational and rewarding. 

All You Need to Know When Rockhounding In Tennessee

State Symbols
State Stone/State RockLimestone
State GemstoneRiver Pearl
State FossilPterotrigonia

Tennessee has a rich history of rockhounding and gemstones that date back centuries. The Cherokee and Creek were among the first to appreciate Tennessee’s jewels, using them for jewelry and trade. In the early 19th century, European settlers discovered valuable gems like Garnets and Agates in the state. 

The famous “Tennessee River Pearls” were also sought after and symbolized Tennessee’s natural beauty. Today, rockhounding enthusiasts continue to explore the state, hoping to discover treasures hidden beneath its fertile soil.

Tennessee’s diverse terrain offers rockhounding opportunities for everyone. The state has diverse geology, from the steep Appalachian Mountains to the fertile plains. Quartz crystals, Agates, and Fossils are found in the rolling hills, while Garnets and Rubies are found in the mountains. 

When it comes to rockhounding in Tennessee, timing is essential. Spring and fall are the best seasons to explore, as the weather is mild and comfortable. Summers can be sweltering, making it challenging to hunt for gems, while winters can be too cold. Remember to check the weather forecast before heading out and dress appropriately. 

Preserving Tennessee’s natural beauty should be a top priority when rockhounding. Always obtain the necessary permits, if required, and respect private property rights. Be mindful of the environment by staying on designated paths and avoiding damaging plants or disturbing wildlife. Leave no trace—clean up after yourself, and don’t litter. 

As you collect gems and minerals, fill any holes you dig to prevent hazards for others and wildlife. By practicing responsible rockhounding, you can help ensure that generations enjoy Tennessee’s natural treasures.

Best Tennessee Rockhounding Location

RankTop Rockhounding SpotsGemstones Found in Tennessee
1Horse MountainTennessee Agate and Horse Mountain Agate (Iris).
2Tennessee RiverFreshwater Pearls
3Douglas LakeQuartz 
4Ben Lomond MountainGeodes, Calcite, and Celestite.
5Richardson’s LandingLake Superior Agates
6Unaka MountainsUnakite, Epidote, and Quartz.
7Cooper’s Gem MineQuartz and Garnet.
8Little Tennessee RiverClear Quartz 
9BoatlandCalcite, Celestite, Geodes, and Pyrite.
10CopperhillAzurite, Garnet, Pyrite, Quartz, and Staurolite.

The official website of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) is your ultimate resource. It’s important to remember that the availability of crystals and the rules for rockhounding can change over time. Therefore, conducting thorough research before heading out on your rockhounding adventure is crucial. 

Rockhounding can be an exciting and educational experience. To ensure a safe and pleasurable trip, respect the environment and obey TDEC recommendations.

Top 13 Gemstones in Tennessee

Tennessee’s stunning surroundings hide a wide array of precious and semi-precious gemstones. The top 13 jewels in this gorgeous state will be revealed, along with their beauty and significance. 


azurite crystal on white background

You can discover Azurite in Copperhill and other places in Tennessee, such as the Cumberland Plateau. However, the most well-known and easily accessible spot is Copperhill.

If you’re eager to find Azurite, you’ll want to watch for rocky areas and hillsides. An excellent tool is a small pick or a trowel for digging. Remember to wear gloves to protect your hands while you’re searching. As a delicate crystal, Azurite should be handled carefully once found.

This crystal is not just beautiful; it’s also believed to have metaphysical properties. Many people think Azurite can enhance your intuition and help you gain insight. It’s thought to promote mental clarity and reduce stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, holding an Azurite crystal can be soothing. 


A white agate on a white background.

Tennessee is a treasure trove for Agate enthusiasts, with two primary locations where these stunning stones can be found: Horse Mountain and Richardson’s Landing.

Horse Mountain, nestled in the eastern part of the state, is a renowned hotspot for Agate hunting. You’ll want to explore the slopes and valleys, especially around the foothills of this mountain. Agates love to hide in these rocky terrains.

Richardson’s Landing, situated along the Tennessee River, is another fantastic spot. Look along the riverbanks, as Agates often wash up there. Keep a sharp eye out for rounded, colorful stones amidst the pebbles and rocks.

When hunting for Agates in Tennessee, aim for small, spherical stones with complex hues and patterns. To dig for them, you won’t need heavy machinery; just a small shovel, a bucket, and a keen eye will do. Remember to respect the environment and only take what you can carry.

In Tennessee, you might come across unique Agates. With their iridescent beauty, Horse Mountain Agates and even Lake Superior Agates have made their way south. Once you find an Agate, gently clean it with water to reveal its true colors and patterns.

Agates are believed to bring balance and harmony to your life. They enhance mental clarity and concentration, making them perfect companions during study sessions. They can also provide emotional stability, like a comforting friend.


A piece of green gemstone on white background

Calcite is a fascinating stone across Tennessee, adding to its natural beauty. You’ll discover this crystal primarily in two specific places: Ben Lomond Mountain and Boatland. 

Ben Lomond Mountain, located in Southeastern Tennessee, is known for its deposits of Calcite. You can find Calcite in Boatland, another remarkable location in the state. These two areas are like hidden treasure troves where you can stumble upon the beauty of Calcite.

When looking for Calcite in Tennessee, there are a few essential things to remember. First, you’ll want to ensure you have the right tools for the job. A good rock hammer, chisels, and safety goggles are essential to safely extract Calcite from its rocky home. 

As you dig, be on the lookout for various varieties of Calcite. You might come across colors like white, yellow, and even green in Tennessee. These variations make each discovery unique and exciting.

Handling it with care is essential once you’ve found a piece of this gem. The primary thing to do after seeing it is to gently clean it using a soft brush or a damp cloth. Calcite is a delicate crystal, so it’s best not to expose it to harsh chemicals or extreme heat. By treating it gently, you can preserve its natural beauty.

This crystal is known for its soothing energy that helps calm the mind and reduce stress. It can enhance your inner peace and bring clarity to your thoughts. Calcite is also believed to boost creativity and increase motivation.


celestite crystal on a white background

Celestite, a stunning crystal, can be discovered in Tennessee, specifically in two noteworthy locations: Ben Lomond Mountain and Boatland.

To unearth Celestite in Tennessee, you must be peeled for the signs. This crystal is often found in geodes, which are spherical rock formations with a hollow interior. Find Celestites in small to medium-sized geodes with a rough shell and a somewhat spherical form. 

Carefully crack these geodes with a rock hammer or chisel to uncover the stunning blue Celestite crystals. Safety goggles are also a must to protect your eyes during this process.

In Tennessee, you might encounter various types of Celestite, but the most common one is the sky-blue variety. After finding Celestite, it’s essential to handle it carefully and avoid dropping or scratching it, as this crystal is somewhat delicate.

This crystal is renowned for its calming and soothing energy. Holding Celestite in your hand can help reduce stress and anxiety, making it an excellent companion during worry. It also enhances your connection to the spiritual realm, aiding meditation and promoting peaceful sleep. 


Elestial Rose Quartz on a white background. Image Source: Esty | IrisUnique
Image Source: Esty | IrisUnique

Tennessee is a stunning setting for the discovery of the exciting crystal Quartz. This magnificent crystal is found in the Unaka Mountains, Cooper’s Diamond Mine, and Copperhill. 

Quartz is usually buried in the ground, so you’ll need digging tools, like shovels and small picks, to unearth it. When you come across Quartz, it often looks like a clear crystal with a glass-like appearance. After finding it, handle it carefully, as it can be delicate.

In Tennessee, one of the common varieties you’ll encounter is Clear Quartz. It’s known for its transparency, allowing you to see right through it. After finding Quartz, carefully wash it to expose its inherent beauty and sheen.

It’s said to amplify positive thoughts and energy while dispelling negativity. Some people even use it for meditation to enhance their spiritual connection. It is also used in jewelry, so you can wear it to carry its positive energy with you throughout the day.


epidote on white background

Epidote is a beautiful green mineral found throughout the Unaka Mountains of Tennessee. Specifically, this mesmerizing crystal can be discovered in places such as the Roan Mountain and the Cranberry Mines. It has also been spotted in the Spruce Pine District. 

Bring a rock hammer, chisels, safety goggles, and gloves. These tools will help you safely extract Epidote specimens from their rocky homes. 

Look for rocks or mineral formations with a vibrant green color, a telltale sign of Epidote’s presence. After finding a specimen, carefully remove it from the rock without damaging the crystal.

This crystal is believed to enhance one’s power and increase their spiritual growth. It also promotes healing and balance in both the physical and emotional realms. Many people use Epidote to understand themselves and their life’s purpose better. 

Freshwater Pearls 

pearl x no credit needed

Tennessee, in the center of the US, has hidden gems in its waters, especially along the Tennessee River. Freshwater Pearls, these precious gems of nature, can be found in several locations across the state.

One of Tennessee’s most notable places to discover Freshwater Pearls is along the Tennessee River. This majestic river winds through the state, offering Pearl hunters beautiful opportunities. 

The rivers near Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Savannah are some other locations. These spots are known for the unique qualities of Pearls they produce, making them prime locations for seekers.

When hunting for Freshwater Pearls in Tennessee, keep this in mind: you’ll need a few essential tools, like a mesh bag or a basket, to collect the Pearls. You can wade into the river or use a boat to access the best spots. Look for mussels or clams along the riverbed, as Pearls are often found inside these mollusks. 

In Tennessee, you can find various types of freshwater Pearls, each with its unique charm. These include pink, lavender, and cream-colored pearls, all showcasing the natural beauty of the Tennessee River. After finding a Pearl, clean it gently with a soft cloth and store it safely to preserve its shine and beauty.

They are believed to bring calmness and balance to those who wear them, soothing emotions and promoting inner peace. The belief that they improve personal integrity and commitment makes them wonderful ornaments and symbols of strength.


Red Garnet on a white background

Garnet, a stunning and valuable gemstone, can be discovered in a few locations in Tennessee. One of these places is Cooper’s Gem Mine, nestled in the heart of the state. Another spot where this gem can be found is Copperhill, a charming town in Tennessee. These locations offer a unique opportunity to unearth this precious gem.

When searching for Garnets, you’ll need a small shovel and a bucket. Look for gravelly areas or riverbanks where Garnets might be hiding. 

When you spot a potential Garnet, gently dig around it carefully to avoid damaging the gem. 

In Tennessee, you can find many varieties of Garnets, with colors ranging from deep red to vibrant green. The most common variety is the Almandine Garnet, known for its rich red hue. 

Once you’ve found this gem, keeping it safe and secure is essential by placing it in a small pouch or a jewelry box.

This beautiful stone is believed to bring energy, passion, and love into one’s life. It is thought to inspire creativity and boost self-confidence. Garnet is also believed to protect against negative energies and promote security. Some wear it to enhance vitality and connect with inner strength.


Geode on a white background

Ben Lomond Mountain and Boatland have amazing Geodes in Tennessee. Underground limestone or sedimentary rock pockets contain these geological treasures.

When searching for Geodes, a substantial shovel, a pickaxe, and eye protection goggles are the first things you’ll need to get started. Look for areas where the ground is soft, which indicates a higher likelihood of finding Geodes. 

Dig gently, supporting the rock layers, to avoid damaging the Geode after locating a good spot.

Quartz, Amethyst, and Agate Geodes are found throughout Tennessee. Each Geode has its charm, so look for patterns and hues on the outside.

After finding a Geode, gently clean it with water and a gentle brush to remove dirt and debris. This will reveal the true beauty of the Geode’s inner crystals.

Many believe Geodes hold positive energy and can bring harmony and balance. They are thought to enhance creativity, promote emotional well-being, and provide protection from negative energies. 


A Variscite crystal on a white background

Variscite is a beautiful gemstone that can be found in several locations in the state of Tennessee. One of the most famous places to find Variscite in Tennessee is the Coalmont-Tattnall area. You can also discover this lovely stone in the Ducktown area and near the Little Tennessee River.

Watch for greenish-blue to bluish-green rocks or crystals to find Variscite in Tennessee. It’s essential to have the right tools for digging, like a small shovel or pickaxe, and a bucket or bag 

to collect your findings.

You might come across different varieties of Variscite. Some can be translucent, while others are more opaque. After finding Variscite, cleaning it gently with water and a soft brush is essential to reveal its true beauty.

This crystal is believed to promote inner peace and harmony. It’s thought to help with emotional healing and provide a sense of calmness during challenging times. It is also said to enhance your communication skills and boost your self-esteem. 


pyrite geode rock on a white background

Pyrite, also known as “Fool’s Gold,” is a captivating mineral found in several locations in Tennessee. If you’re eager to discover this glittering treasure, you’re in luck! Two places in the Volunteer State where you can find Pyrite are Boatland and Copperhill.

In Boatland, you can explore the banks of the beautiful Tennessee River. Look for rocks that have a shiny, brassy appearance – these could be Pyrite. In Copperhill, venture into the areas near copper mines. Keep your eyes peeled for golden-colored rocks with a metallic luster; they might be Pyrite.

To start your hunting adventure, you won’t need fancy equipment. A simple hammer and chisel will do the trick. Tap the rocks you suspect might contain Pyrite and carefully split them open. Be patient and cautious, as it can be delicate and may break easily.

In Tennessee, you can find different varieties of Pyrite, including cubic and octahedral crystals. These come in various sizes and shapes, adding to the excitement of your discovery. 

Once you’ve found a piece of Pyrite, it’s essential to wash your hands thoroughly. After handling Pyrite, avoid touching your face or lips because it may contain trace levels of harmful chemicals.

This shimmering stone is believed to have many metaphysical benefits. Some say it brings good luck and financial abundance, making it a perfect companion for your adventures in life. It is also thought to boost self-confidence and creativity, helping you shine like a star.


Staurolite on a white background

Staurolite, a captivating crystal, can be found in various locations across the beautiful state of Tennessee. One of the most notable places to discover this gem is in Copperhill. It’s not just scattered around randomly; you’ll want to explore the areas near Copperhill to find Staurolite. This unique crystal can hide amidst the rocks and earth, waiting to be unearthed.

Finding this priceless stone requires a solid shovel, a dependable pickaxe, and protective gloves. Look for areas with exposed rocks and soil when you’re out in the field. It is often found near the surface. 

Gently dig around the rocks and sift through the soil with your tools. Keep a keen eye out for shiny, brownish-black, or reddish-brown crystals with a distinctive cross-shaped formation. These are the Staurolite crystals you’re after.

They may vary in size and color shades, but the cross-shaped formation remains their defining feature. After spotting a Staurolite crystal, it’s important to remember to handle it with care and respect. These crystals are not only beautiful but also carry a unique energy. 

One primary thing to do after finding a Staurolite is to thank Mother Earth for sharing her treasure with you. Showing gratitude is a beautiful way to connect with Earth’s energies and respect the natural world.

This crystal is known to have a grounding and protective energy. It can help you stay balanced and centered in times of chaos. It is also believed to enhance your connection to the spiritual realm and promote inner peace. It’s a beautiful crystal for meditation and self-discovery.


Unakite on a white background

Unakite is a beautiful gemstone that can be found in the picturesque Unaka Mountains of Tennessee. This unique stone is found throughout this mountain range, making it exciting to search for. It is found in Roan Mountain, Tellico Plains, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, especially in Cosby and Clingmans Dome.

When you explore these areas, searching for Unakite, here’s what you should remember: to uncover this gem, you’ll need a rock hammer, chisel, and safety goggles to stay safe while digging. And always ask for permission if you plan to dig on private land. 

In Tennessee, you can also find different varieties of Unakite. Some with more pink Feldspar and others with more green Epidote. After finding Unakite, cleaning and polishing it to reveal its true beauty is essential.

Unakite is more than just a pretty stone; it has unique metaphysical properties and benefits. It can help balance emotions and promote a sense of inner peace. It’s also said to enhance one’s self-confidence and aid in letting go of past traumas. 

Gemstones in TennesseeLocationTools You NeedHealing Properties
AzuriteCopperhill and Cumberland Plateau.Small pick or a trowel and gloves.Promotes mental clarity and reduces stress.
AgateHorse Mountain and Richardson’s Landing.Small shovel and a bucket.Brings balance and harmony to your life.
CalciteBen Lomond Mountain and Boatland.Rock hammer, chisels, and safety goggles.Helps calm the mind and reduces stress.
CelestiteBen Lomond Mountain and Boatland.Rock hammer or chisel and safety goggles.Renowned for its calming and soothing energy.
Quartz Unaka Mountains, Cooper’s Diamond Mine, and Copperhill.Shovels and small picks.Enhances spiritual connection.
EpidoteUnaka Mountains, Roan Mountain, and the Cranberry Mines.Rock hammer, chisels, safety goggles, and gloves. Enhances personal power and increases spiritual growth.
Freshwater Pearls Tennessee River, river near Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Savannah.Mesh bag or a basket.Brings calmness and balance.
Garnet Cooper’s Gem Mine and Copperhill.Small shovel and a bucket.Brings energy, passion, and love.
Geodes Ben Lomond Mountain and Boatland.Shovel, a pickaxe, and eye protection goggles.Holds positive energy and can bring harmony and balance.
VarisciteCoalmont-Tattnall, Ducktown area, and near the Little Tennessee River.Small shovel or pickaxe, and a bucket or bag.Promotes inner peace and harmony.
Pyrite Boatland and Copperhill.Hammer and chisel.Brings good luck and financial abundance.
Staurolite CopperhillShovel, pickaxe, and protective gloves.Enhances your connection to the spiritual realm and promotes inner peace.
UnakiteUnaka Mountains, Roan Mountain, Tellico Plains, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, especially in Cosby and Clingmans Dome.Rock hammer, chisel, and safety goggles.Helps balance emotions and promotes a sense of inner peace. 

How to Do Rockhounding in Tennessee

Rockhounding in Tennessee can be an exciting adventure. Here are some ideas to maximize your Volunteer State rockhounding experience.

Tools and Gear You Need to Dig and Find Crystals in Tennessee

When it comes to rockhounding in Tennessee, having the right tools and gear is crucial. Here are the essentials:

  • Geology Hammer: This tool is your best friend for safely breaking rocks and extracting crystals.
  • Safety Glasses: Protect your eyes from flying rock chips and debris.
  • Gloves: Sturdy gloves will safeguard your hands while handling rough rocks.
  • Backpack: Carry your finds and tools comfortably.
  • Map and Compass: Ensure you stay aware while exploring.
  • Rock Identification Guide: A book or app to help you identify the rocks and crystals you discover.
  • Chisel and Brush: Useful for delicate extraction and cleaning.
  • Water and Snacks: Stay hydrated and energized during your rockhounding adventures.
  • First Aid Kit: Always be prepared for minor injuries.

How to Pack, Transport, and Cut Crystals You Find in Tennessee

Once you’ve collected crystals, it’s essential to handle them properly:

  • Packing: Wrap each crystal in newspaper or bubble wrap to prevent scratches and damage. Place them in a sturdy container.
  • Transport: Secure the container in your backpack or vehicle to avoid breakage.
  • Cutting: If you want to cut and polish your crystals, seek guidance from an experienced lapidary. It’s a skill that takes practice and the right equipment.

Safety Regulations for Rockhounding in Tennessee

Safety should always be a top priority:

  • Permission: Obtain permission from landowners before collecting rocks on private property.
  • Respect Nature: Leave no trace and avoid damaging the environment.
  • Collect Responsibly: Follow specific rules for your area, such as state park regulations.
  • Safety Gear: Always wear safety gear, like glasses and gloves.
  • Emergency Plan: Let someone know where you’ll be and when you plan to return.

Tips for Rockhounding Like a Pro in Tennessee

To rockhound like a pro in Tennessee:

  • Research: Learn about the types of crystals and minerals in the region.
  • Join Clubs: Consider joining a local rockhounding club for guidance and camaraderie.
  • Ask Locals: Residents often have valuable tips on where to find excellent specimens.
  • Be Patient: Rockhounding can require patience. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find treasures right away.
  • Record Your Finds: Keep a journal of your discoveries, including location and date.

Disclaimer: Remember that rockhounding laws vary by state and even within Tennessee. Always check local laws and regulations, and respect the environment when exploring.


Where to Find Crystals in Tennessee?

Crystals are abundant across Tennessee, especially in geological strata that support them. Some popular areas for crystal hunting in Tennessee include Horse Mountain, Ben Lomond Mountain, Unaka Mountains, Copperhill, and Boatland.

What is the Blue Stone Found in Tennessee?

The blue stone in Tennessee is commonly known as Blue Limestone or Tennessee Blue Marble. This beautiful blue-gray to bluish-black stone is a limestone unique to some areas of Tennessee. It is prized for its durability and aesthetic appeal. It is often used in architectural applications such as countertops, flooring, and decorative elements.

What Stone is Tennessee Known for?

Tennessee Pink Marble and Tennessee Blue Marble are among its most famous stones. These marbles are highly regarded for their quality and are used in various construction and artistic projects.

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