Where To Find Gemstones In Tn?

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Where To Find Gemstones In Tennessee?

Tennessee is a great place to find gemstones, with its diverse geological formations, mild climate, and abundant mineral resources. The state has numerous gemstone locations that provide an ideal setting for rockhounding and prospecting. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned expert, here we will explore some of the best places to find gemstones in Tennessee.

1. Upper Cumberland Plateau

The Upper Cumberland Plateau is one of the most popular regions for finding gems in Tennessee. This area has plentiful quartz deposits, which can yield everything from clear crystal points to smoky citrine specimens. It’s also home to several varieties of jasper, agate, and petrified wood that are all available in abundance. Additionally, amethyst may be unearthed here as well as other rare gems like garnet and diopside. 

2. Central Basin

The Central Basin is another popular area for gemstone mining. This region offers up a variety of minerals, including quartz, calcite, fluorite, and galena. There are plenty of spots to search along the Cumberland Plateau and Oak Ridge areas which can be great places to find fossils as well as gemstones. Additionally, some more remote sites may yield even greater rewards!

3. Eastern Highland Rim

The Eastern Highland Rim is home to numerous gemstone deposits that yield a wide variety of finds. Amethyst is common here as are other rare gems like lazulite, kyanite, and moonstone. Agates and jasper are also plentiful in this region, plus the occasional sapphire or diamond. The most accessible areas tend to be along the Cumberland Plateau and in the vicinity of Oak Ridge.

4. Sequatchie Valley

The Sequatchie Valley is a great area for gem hunting with sites yielding agate, quartz, petrified wood, fluorite, and more. It’s easy to access gems here as many roads throughout the valley provide access to potential finds. Additionally, several mines can be found throughout this region that often offer up large specimens perfect for collectors or lapidary work.

5. Knoxville

While Knoxville may not be associated with gemstone mining, it turns out that there are actually several sites within the city that can yield some interesting findings. There are plenty of old railroad cuts and quarries throughout the city which have revealed agate, jasper, petrified wood, and other gems.

6. Southern Appalachians

The Southern Appalachians contain a variety of gems such as quartz, sapphire, ruby, emerald, and more. You’ll also find topaz and tourmaline in this region too! It’s possible to access some of these locations by road but be sure to take caution when exploring off-road as many sites may not be safe for inexperienced rockhounds.

7. Franklin County

Lastly, Franklin County has a plethora of gemstone sites that yield interesting finds such as quartz, agate, and petrified wood. Most sites are accessible by road although some may require hiking or off-road exploration. Additionally, the area is home to several abandoned mines which can offer up impressive specimens!

Types of Gemstones Found in Tennessee

Tennessee is home to a wide variety of gemstones that are perfect for jewelry making and collecting. From rubies and sapphires to emeralds, amethysts, and quartz, there’s something special waiting to be discovered in the Volunteer State. Here’s a look at some of the most common gemstones found in Tennessee:

1. Rubies

One of the best-known gemstones in the world, rubies can range from deep red tones to almost purple hues. Rubies are often found here in Tennessee as well as in parts of North Carolina and Georgia. These precious stones are highly sought after for their unique beauty and rarity.

2. Sapphires

Sapphires come in a variety of colors, from the deep blue tones associated with the traditional design to yellow, pink, and even green. They’re found all over Tennessee, often in the Appalachian Mountains. Sapphires are dense stones that can be cut into many shapes and sizes for use in jewelry designs.

3. Emeralds

Emeralds have been mined in Tennessee for many years and were used as early as the 1800s by miners seeking to make jewelry. Emeralds are one of the rarest gemstones on earth, so finding one is an exciting journey!

4. Amethyst

This violet-colored stone has long been popular with jewelry makers and collectors alike. Amethyst is found mostly in central Tennessee, but it can also be found throughout much of the state.  This gemstone is often used in rings, necklaces, and earrings.

5. Quartz

Quartz is a very common mineral that can be found in many parts of Tennessee. The quartz found here is usually white or clear, but it can also come in other colors like pink and green. Quartz is often used to make jewelry because of its durability and versatility.

6. Base Metals

In addition to gemstones, Tennessee also has a long history of mining base metals such as copper and lead. Copper mining began around 1800 when the state started to extract ore from deposits near Chattanooga. Lead was mined for ammunition and other uses during the Civil War, with mines dotting much of middle Tennessee.

7. Diamonds

Although not as common as some of the other gemstones and minerals found in Tennessee, diamonds can be found here from time to time. Diamonds are often found in small amounts and can range from very small to large sizes.

Tools That You Need To Find Gemstones In Tennessee

Gemstones are beautiful, valuable stones that can be found all over the world. In Tennessee, there are a few well-known spots for amateur and professional gemstone hunters alike to explore and find their own special stones. However, you’ll need the right tools if you want to have success in finding gems! Here’s a list of essential tools that will help you find gemstones in Tennessee:

1. Protective Gear 

It’s important to wear protective clothing and gear when you are out looking for gemstones. Sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent will also come in handy!

2. Boots 

Sturdy boots are essential for traversing the rocky terrain of Tennessee’s streams, mountains, and valleys.

3. Mining Tools  

A small pickaxe and shovel can help you dig around for potential gems in the areas where they are found in Tennessee.

4. Magnet 

A magnet is a valuable tool to find gemstones, as many of them (namely hematite) are attracted to magnetism.

5. Sifter

A fine mesh sifter can help you to separate the gemstones from dirt and rocks when you are panning streams or rivers.

With the right tools,  you can have a successful gemstone-hunting adventure in Tennessee.  Make sure you plan ahead and prepare for your journey before heading out in search of gems.


Tennessee is a unique state when it to gemstone mining. From rubies and sapphires to emeralds and quartz, there are plenty of precious stones waiting to be discovered in the Volunteer State. It’s important to remember that all minerals should be collected responsibly and with respect for the environment. With the right tools and proper research, you can find some amazing gemstones here in Tennessee. 

READ MORE:- Where To Find Gemstones In West Virginia?

Where To Find Gemstones In Tn?

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