Gem Hunting in Canada

By Mike Crystal; Updated April 24, 2017
Assorted polished gemstones

Gemstones, naturally occurring minerals or other petrified materials used to make jewelry, were, with the exception of jade, long considered scarce in Canada despite the country's vast size. More recently, sizable numbers of diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, opals, garnets and tourmalines have been found, but you may be unaware of where to find them.

British Columbia

This province is Earth's largest supplier of nephrite jade. Here, you can also find rhodonite, various types of opal, star sapphire, rhodolite and the aquamarine form of beryl.

Northwest Territories

The large diamond mines in this sprawling northern region of Canada are chiefly the purview of commercial mining efforts. Nevertheless, you might hunt here for emerald, tourmaline, iolite, spodumene and quartz.

Quebec

This populous eastern province is home to a wide variety of rare stones. In particular, Mont Saint-Hilaire houses 30 or more rare or unusual species, some of which are found nowhere else on the planet. In the vicinity of Black Lake, you can unearth a range of colors of garnet.

Yukon Territory

The 1998 discovery of emerald deposits in the southeast Yukon Territory touched off a wave of gemstone-hunting interest reminiscent of the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 19th century. In the Rapid Creek area to the north you may find darker varieties of lazulite, the territory's official gemstone.

About the Author

Michael Crystal earned a Bachelor of Science in biology at Case Western Reserve University, where he was a varsity distance runner, and is a USA Track and Field-certified coach. Formerly the editor of his running club's newsletter, he has been published in "Trail Runner Magazine" and "Men's Health." He is pursuing a medical degree.