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.

These are a few of the things you may want to take along with you on your dig:

A small, handheld garden rake
A handheld trowel
Knee pads or an old cushion to kneel/sit on
A bucket, for holding your finds
Newspaper or grocery bags to wrap and protect your crystals

While digging crystals you will probably be outside for a long time. You may want to bring:

A wide hat
Bug spray, and a small first aid kit (Quartz can be sharp!)


6.4 Miles East Of Ely, On US Highway 50, Ely, NV

(775) 289-1800



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.

2 Garnets in a hand
Garnet in the matrix


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.