State Rock: Sandstone (1987)
State Gemstones: Nevada Turquoise [semiprecious] (1987) & Virgin Valley Black Fire Opal [precious] (1987)
State Fossil: Ichthyosaur (1977)
State Metal: Silver (1977)
Nevada has many opportunities for rockhounds searching for gemstones and crystals. Nevada is well regarded for its high-quality opal which is some of the most valued in the entire world.
The best places to rockhound in Nevada are the mines and prospects across the state which contain ores of precious metals. The most popular sites are in Virgin Valley where several opal mines operate and the are open to the public. Other rockhounding sites include Garnet Hill and Black Rock Desert.
Sandstone originated when Nevada was under a huge inland sea millions of years ago.
Turquoise is a hydrous phosphate of aluminum and copper. The copper gives it its blue color. Sometimes called the ‘jewel of the desert,’ Nevada turquoise is found in many parts of the state.
Nevada’s nickname, of course is the ‘Silver State.’ In 1859, in the Virginia Range of Western Nevada on the site of Virginia City, a rich mineral deposit was discovered. This ‘Comstock Lode’ was named for Henry Tomkins Paige Comstock, a California prospector who first laid claim to the land. This one lode yielded more than three hundred million dollars in silver and gold in twenty years.
There are four picnic sites with grills and a handicap accessible restroom available. A group barbeque area is also available. There are two informal areas for tents or small campers. RVs and large trailers are not recommended. No water is available. Elevation 7000 ft.
Garnet Hill is also an excellent location to view the excavations of the massive open pit copper mines near Ruth, Nevada.
Bring a rock hammer, gloves, container, or just search the ground to locate these crystals.
KEEP ALL YOU FIND!
If you’re able to bring your own picks, shovels, rakes, and buckets it is HIGHLY recommended. We now only have a VERY limited number of tools to use at the mine site. Hand picks are available for purchase in the gift shop $45/small $100/large.
- Hard hats (try to bring your own but we do have a limited amount on hand for use)
- Hard toed shoes (boots are great to protect your toes from rocks but closed toed shoes will work just fine) no open-toed shoes allowed on the mine site, no one wants to lose a toe
- Safety glasses or goggles (if you don’t have any we do offer some for purchase in the rock shop) these are only required for bank diggers
No mechanical tools are allowed
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Quartz crystals in Amethyst have been mined at this location for many years, huge scepter formations can occur! Several claims are located on this private area so keep your eyes open. You can go and pay to dig here.
- Garden Trowel
- 3 prong hand cultivator
- 1 or 2 buckets
- Medium size pry bar
- Knee pads or something to kneel on
Please note that rock collecting locations are always changing so be sure to check with the site owner for the most current information before going.
Dig safe, never go underground, and make sure to get permission from the landowner to search for and collect rocks.