How to Find Amethyst in Georgia

Amethyst crystal in its natural form.
••• Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

Amethysts​ are semi-precious gemstones, a purple variant of the mineral quartz. Amethysts are prized for their varying shades of purple hues worldwide, and they are the birthstone for February. While many high-grade amethysts can be found in parts of the world like Siberia, the United States also has many sites that produce these crystals. There are several crystal digging sites in Georgia where you can find amethysts. These include Huck's Lost Mine and Jackson Crossroads (JXR) Amethyst Mine.

What Is Amethyst?

To appreciate amethysts better, enthusiasts might find it helpful to understand what they are and why they are popular. Amethysts are a form of purple ​quartz​, a crystal made of silicon and oxygen. Its chemical formula is SiO2. Amethyst’s qualities include a hardness of seven on the Mohs scale, which is decently hard; a refractive index of 1.544 to 1.553, which describes how brilliant the gem can appear to be; a birefringence of 0.009, which is a measure of how the gem splits light; and a specific gravity of 2.66. The color of amethyst ranges from pale purple to deep violet.

Cherished for thousands of years, amethysts get their name from the Greek word ​amethystos, meaning “not drunk.” The custom of wearing amethyst to ward off intoxication may not have been effective, but that did not prevent people from wearing the violet jewel in the attempt.

Amethysts were once prized with the same value as rubies and emeralds. This changed after the discovery of significant amethyst deposits in Brazil in the 19th century. Nevertheless, attractive amethyst crystals remain popular to this day. Given their attractiveness, they are a good bargain for a lovely gemstone.

Where Can Amethysts Be Found?

Amethysts reside in veins and in geodes around alluvial deposits. Amethysts can be found in various parts of the world. Siberia, Zambia, Bolivia, Uruguay, Mexico, India, Namibia, Nigeria, Madagascar, South Korea and Brazil represent major sources for amethyst.

In the United States, North Carolina and Georgia are good resources for amethyst mines that enthusiasts can visit. These states offer hands-on gem mining opportunities with private operators.

Where Can I Dig for Amethyst in Georgia?

Crystal digging in Georgia generally occurs through private businesses that allow access to the gems on their property.

One such amethyst mine in Georgia is Huck’s Lost Mine in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Located within an hour and a half of Atlanta, this gem mine offers bags and buckets for visitors to sift through. The staff is knowledgeable about crystal digging in Georgia, and the mine is suitable for all ages. Huck’s Lost Mine also offers mobile school field trips in several Southern states.

Where Is the Jackson Crossroads Amethyst Mine?

A famous amethyst mine in Georgia is Jackson Crossroads (JXR) Amethyst Mine. This renowned mine offers high-quality amethysts and is featured in ​Mineralogical Record​ magazine and the ​American Mineral Treasures​ book. JXR Mine offers public digging, with a set of rules and recommendations for success as well as health and safety during your visit. JXR Amethyst Mine is located in Wilkes County, Georgia, and has produced many museum-grade amethysts.

The JXR Amethyst Mine recommends using gentle tools to extract amethyst crystals. Such tools include chopsticks, garden hand tools and similar smaller tools; nothing electronic is recommended. Care must be taken to avoid scratching amethyst crystals. The mine advises slow and careful work and to look for smooth surfaces. Use gloves for your extraction work. Good storage solutions for found amethyst crystals include egg crates and tissue paper, as well as buckets.

Always wear closed-toe shoes while digging for amethysts, as crystals can be sharp and can cut feet. Other recommendations include bringing water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat and shade. Big-wheeled carts can be helpful to haul rocks and tools to your dig site. JXR Amethyst Mine can be rather hot in summer, but spring and fall are perfect times to visit. Be sure to follow their safety rules for crystal digging in Georgia.

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