How to Dig Your Own Emeralds in Indiana

How to Dig Your Own Emeralds in Indiana
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Their bright green sparkle makes emeralds a highly sought-after gem, and larger stones can fetch quite a high price due to their rarity. It's possible to find emeralds in Indiana, but remember that if you want to dig for emeralds in Indiana you'll need the right equipment, the right location and a generous helping of luck!

Where to Find Emeralds and Other Gems in Indiana

You can increase your chances of finding emeralds and other precious gems by digging in regions of Indiana known for having higher quantities of precious minerals. A few specific state and national parks give you a better chance of locating gems, particularly in Brown and Morgan counties. However, be sure to follow all individual guidelines set by the park for gem digging.

Some popular parks for finding gems and minerals in Indiana include:

  • Hoosier National Forest – Free to the public and a small fee for campsites, this park allows you to search for gems and minerals and bring them home with you. However, you cannot disturb the earth or destroy any vegetation, so you cannot dig extensively in search of gems. Instead, take small surface-level samples.

  • Bedford Limestone Deposit – This location is more popular for geodes, but with some digging, you might come across other gems beneath the surface.

  • Creek beds and cliff walls throughout Brown County – Many of the deep creek beds and cliff walls throughout Brown County in Indiana contain gemstones. However, some cliff walls are located along roadsides, so please take proper safety precautions and avoid working in these areas if your group includes children.

Public Gem Mines in Indiana

Your best bet for finding emeralds in Indiana, or any other gemstone for that matter, is by seeking out public gem mines in Indiana. These mines do all of the hard work for you, and allow you to have all the fun of sifting through samples and finding minerals.

A few of the different public gem mines in Indiana include:

  • Copperhead Creek Mining Company
  • Squire Boon Caverns
  • Marengo Cave
  • Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Knightstown
  • Indiana Caverns Family Adventure Park

How to Dig Your Own Emeralds

Things You'll Need

  • Digging Equipment – Shovels and hand shovels will help you remove samples to sift for gemstones.
  • Buckets of varying sizes – A few different buckets will help you collect your samples and divide them into more manageable sizes.
  • Sluice or gold pan – Sifting equipment such as a gold pan or sluice will let you sift out the sediment and find any gemstones within a sample.
  • Magnifying glass – You can use a magnifying glass to help you identify gems.
  • A closeable container – You'll need a container to hold any gemstones you might find.

    Choose a site to dig for gemstones. The best locations are along the beds of rivers, particularly in areas where the water flow slows down and sediment settles to the bottom. Sand bars are a good example of this. Choose a good location and collect a few samples using your shovel.

    Take a small amount of sediment and place it in your sluice or gold pan. Place the pan beneath the surface of the water. You should submerge the pan far enough to cover the sand, but not so deep that the sample washes over the top. Use a back-and-forth motion to sift away the finer sediment, leaving behind larger gems and stones.

    Take your sample and carefully look through the remains for any signs of emeralds or other minerals. Bear in mind that some gems might be quite small, so use a magnifying glass if necessary to get a closer look. Take any promising gems and set them aside in a container, then repeat the process with a new sample!

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