How to Find Gemstones in Your Backyard

If you’ve ever wondered how to find gemstones in your backyard, you’ve come to the right place.

If you are lucky enough to find some gemstones in your backyard, you can make some money selling them, or you can simply have them as decorative monuments.

In this guide, we’d cover all you need to know about searching for gemstones in your backyard.

You’ll learn about the tools you need, the types of gemstones you can find, and how to trade your gemstone for money.

Let’s get started!

How To Find Gemstones In Your Backyard

Tools You’ll Need 

Gemstones are usually buried under rocks. Precious stones like opal and rhodochrosite are seen on sedimentary rocks. To get to them, you must do some digging, sieving, and picking. Here are some tools you need to get started:

  1. Pick Axe: First, you need this T-shaped hand gear to work on those hard rocks. Use it to get rid of debris on the rock surface. 
  2. Shovel: You will need a shovel to remove more layers of sediments on the rock, which obstructs the visibility of gemstones beneath the rocks. 
  3. Tweezers: This is mainly for picking tiny elements from the soil. Use this when you cannot use fingers or hands. 
  4. Classifier: This handy equipment is usually used in gold mining. Classifiers will sieve off and separate tiny pieces of gemstones from larger ones. 

Below are some gemstones that you can discover around your surroundings.

Tips on How to Find Gemstones in Your Backyard

If you enjoy finding gemstones, then it may be fun to try your hand at finding them in the backyard.

People sometimes think that finding gemstones is very difficult or complex, when in fact it can be a great deal of fun and extremely rewarding when successful.

Here are some tips for how to find gemstones in your backyard:

1. Use the right tools and equipment

Start by using the right equipment for how to find gemstones in your backyard.

It’s important that you use proper light since some stones, especially diamonds, are extremely difficult to see unless placed under a high-intensity lamp or outside during the day.

Once you have chosen how to find gemstones in your backyard, choose the appropriate digging tool.

Spades, trowels, and garden forks are best suited to dig and find gemstones in your backyard greater than 15 cm (6 inches). If you are looking for how to find gemstones in your backyard at lesser depths then even basic household implements will do just fine.

Another piece of equipment you could possibly use is a metal detector. Some gemstones contain traces of iron or copper in them, which makes it possible for a decent metal detector to spot them.

2. Know where to look

The next tip that you should remember is that how to find gemstones in your backyard requires some degree of guesswork and general location knowledge.

Gemstones are often embedded either in rock or sediments. That means the highest probability of finding gemstones would be in rocky areas in your backyard.

But, of course, ultimately it depends on the geography of where you live. Some places have higher occurrences of gemstones than others (for reasons that would take us another article to explain!)

3. Start digging

Once you find a suitable spot, start digging! Use your spade or garden fork (or pickaxe to chip away on the rocks).

If you’ll be digging in depths of greater than 15 cm (6 inches), then it may be a good idea to take along some digging tools such as a spade or garden fork.

4. Be patient

It’s normal to take a long time to find any gemstones in your backyard. So, be patient!

Take your time and look carefully at every stone you turn over and never give up hope. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

Type of Gemstones You Can Find in Your Backyard

Garnet

Garnet

Garnets are groups of dark red minerals. This mineral was extremely popular among the Romans. Garnets are generally moderately hard, impervious, and abrasive.

Here is a quick test to tell if a mineral is truly garnet. First, hold the stone very close to the eye. Next, shine a light source behind the stone. 

If you see all seven rainbow colors reflecting, then it’s the real deal. Otherwise, what is in your ha a ruby may simply be a ruby – an equally worthwhile gemstone.

In the United States, garnets are usually seen in rocky terrains around Utah, Colorado, and Arizona.

Jade

This precious stone is commonly used in Asian works of art. Jade gemstones appear naturally in white, yellow, green, and other colors.

However, the green varieties of this precious stone are more popular than other colors.

If you discover jade in your vicinity, confirm its authenticity by trying to identify vein-like flaws in its texture or color. Jades are usually buried within metamorphic rocks.

They are mostly located in California, Wyoming, and a few other parts of the US.

Malachite

malachite

Malachites are dark greenish stones with rings embedded in them. They are not very durable stones. However, many cultures value them for their peculiar healing properties.

A thorough search of your yard may reveal this gemstone. Hopefully, you discover the magical properties they possess.

Malachite forms in limestone and is used in the making of beads, ornaments, and as a painting colorant. They are commonly found in Arizona.

Obsidian

obsidian

Obsidians are glassy-looking stones formed by the cooling of molten magma in an igneous rock. They often come in black, brown, or green colors.

Obsidian stones were used for cutting during medieval periods. 

Today, the gemstone makes surgical tools, jewelry, beads, pendants, and earrings. Obsidian is widely present in many parts of America.

Peridot

peridot

This gemstone is the stony form of olivine, a mineral resource. Its iron content makes it greenish and is usually seen around the igneous formation of rocks.

Unlike other gemstones, peridots are soft, fragile can burst open if put under pressure.

Peridot is used for making beads and other ornaments. They are usually seen in many parts of the USA and Hawaii.

Quartz

Quartz

The most common of all gemstones to find is quartz. Peculiar variants of this gemstone you can find in your backyard are carnelian and amethyst.

Pure quartz has no color. However, some specks of dirt in the stone give it the same vibrance you see in the other precious stones.

The most valued quartz is amethyst, which can be found in abundance in Maine and several other US states. 

Topaz

Topaz-Quartz

Just like quartz, you’re likely to also find the topaz gemstones in your backyard.

Topaz is also the hardest gemstone with colored variations. It is a largely inexpensive mineral found within igneous rocks, often made into a diamond simulant and other ornamental materials.

It’s mostly found in Utah and some parts of the Western United States.  

Tourmaline

tourmaline

Tourmaline is a common gemstone you can stumble on in your backyard.

Tourmaline comes in crystal forms, mostly glassy and icy in appearance. Natural tourmalines come with round edges and six sides. Identifying a Tourmaline is not hard once you know its characteristics.

The mineral is mostly crystal-like and black, despite having a few color variants.  Tourmaline is a stone that you can easily find in your backyard.

Other common, easy-to-find gemstones are turquoise, opal, and agate.

How To Value and Sell Off Your Gemstones

Don’t expect to strike gold for early retirement! But if you get lucky, some gemstones could fetch you a nice chunk of change.

So, once you’ve dug, found and cleaned them, the next thing is to look for a reputable valuer to examine the quality and what it’s worth in the market.

When examining the gem, if its quality is not up to standards, it may amount to very little or nothing. 

Other criteria for valuing your gemstones are: 

  1. The demand for such stones by dealers 
  2. How rare the gemstones are 
  3. Current trends 

These factors will determine how much you make from selling your gems. Once you have a clear idea of what your stones are worth, it is time to sell them.

You can get this done by looking up potential markets and jewelry makers to auction your gemstones.


Final Thoughts

Geography tells us gemstones originate when extreme temperature acts on soil minerals over time. Although, gemstones have been existence for thousands of years they gained popularity when human activities led to digging deep into the earth.

Though gemstones cannot be readily seen on the surface, a little intensive search can reveal their hiding spots to you. Interestingly, you could mistake them for pebbles if you see them in their unpolished state. 

So, the next time you’re touring your yard and your foot hits on something hard, squat, and look closely. You may have just discovered one of these precious stones.