Whether you're a casual gem enthusiast or a full-blown rockhound, you can find a wide variety of different gems and stones in Indiana. From the Indiana state stone – Salem limestone – to rarer types of rocks and minerals, Indiana holds a bounty for the gem and mineral enthusiast.
Minerals of Indiana: Common Gems
You can find many types of rocks and minerals in various counties in Indiana. The site you are searching generally dictates what types of minerals you might encounter. Though everyone would love to come across gold or some other rare find, you're more likely to come across some of the following common gems and stones in Indiana:
- Barite – You can find this mineral, a composition of barium sulfate, primarily within sedimentary rock. It's commonly found as streaks or veins within limestone.
- Calcite – This mineral comes in an immense variety of shapes and colors. It's quite common and you can find different varieties of calcite throughout the world. You can find it within metamorphic, sedimentary and igneous rock. Calcite is the primary component of marble and limestone.
- Dolomite – Dolomite comes in two forms: dolomite mineral and dolomite rock/stone. You can find it in sedimentary and metamorphic rock. Dolomite mineral often forms small crystallization in white or light pink.
- Marcasite – This mineral often bears unique tabular crystals and a yellow hue. It's composed of iron sulfide, and you can find it within sedimentary rock. The coloration of marcasite is similar to that of pyrite, though it differs in shape.
- Pyrite – Pyrite is best known for its yellow coloration and metallic, shiny appearance. You might know this mineral as fool's gold. It got the name fool's gold because it is similar in appearance to gold, but much more common and has a drastically lower value.
- Quartz – Quartz is the most abundant mineral found within the Earth's crust. You can find this mineral across the globe in large quantities, and it comes in a variety of colors. Its chemical composition is silicon dioxide.
- Sphalerite – This mineral, composed of zinc sulfide, is commonly found near dolomite, calcite and pyrite. The coloration of sphalerite varies, as does the luster. Some specimens have no shine to them, while others have submetallic shine.
Minerals of Indiana: Rare Finds
While common minerals can be found with more regularity at collection sites, you can occasionally come across more valuable gems and stones in Indiana.
- Gold – Popular and highly valued, gold is one of the most highly sought-after gems and stones in Indiana. You can find a number of gold mines throughout Indiana that allow you to pan for gold. Though less common than other minerals, you're more likely to find gold than you are to find diamonds.
- Diamonds – Though not impossible by any means, you aren't particularly likely to find diamonds in Indiana. A total of 38 diamonds have been discovered in the state. The best way to find diamonds in Indiana is by panning for gold.
Where to Search: Public Gem Mines in Indiana
You can find several public gem mines in Indiana, as well as parks and other sites with commonly found gems. Some examples include Hoosier National Forest, Ohio State Park, the Bedford Limestone Deposit, Copperhead Creek Mining Company and Squire Boon Caverns. Please remember that all state parks and national forests restrict you from damaging the ground or vegetation, so you cannot dig extensively for gems or stones in these parks.
For the dedicated rockhound, you can also utilize Indiana University's database of quarries within the state to contact private owners and request access to their sites to gem search (listed in Resources section).
- Indiana.gov: Indiana State River and Stone
- Gold Rush Nuggets: Rare Gems and Minerals in Indiana
- Rock Seeker: Where to Find Geodes in Indiana (Plus Other Rocks, Minerals and Fossils)
- Orange Bean: Hunting Gems in Indiana
- USA Today: Camping & Gemstone Digging in Indiana
- Gem Rock Auctions: Popular Minerals for Collectors
- Geology.com: What Are Minerals?
About the Author
Marina Somma is a freelance writer and animal trainer. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Marine and Environmental Biology & Policy from Monmouth University. Marina has worked with a number of publications involving animal science, behavior and training, including animals.net, SmallDogsAcademy and more.
Jeffrey Hamilton/Digital Vision/Getty Images