California: Top Mines for Gemstone & Crystal Mining

Where to Find crystals and Gemstones in California?

California is a great place to dig for gemstones, with a variety of different types of gemstones to be found all over the state. From the Sierra Nevada mountains to the Mojave Desert, there are many places where you can dig for your own gemstones. Here are a few of the best places to dig for gemstones in California:

Himalaya Mine, Mesa Grande District, California

The Himalaya Tourmaline Mine is located near Santa Ysabel, CA at Lake Henshaw in the beautiful Mesa Grande. The Himalaya Mine is situated within a granitic pegmatite, a type of igneous rock rich in rare minerals. Visitors can dig at Lake Henshaw Resort where they will dig and screen through ore from the world famous Himalaya Mine. Many minerals can be found including pink and green tourmaline, black tourmaline, quartz crystals, spessertine garnet, lepidolite, clevelandite, and a variety of others.

The digging area is located near Lake Henshaw, about an hour northeast of San Diego.

Fees: Adult Dig $75, youth 13 years old to 15 years old half price ($37.50), children 12 years old and under are free with paying adult.

California: Top Mines for Gem & Crystal Mining in California
California: 6 Places to Dig for Gemstones in California
Gemstones collection from Oceanview Mines, California.
Photo: Oceanview Mines

Gold Prospecting Adventures, Jamestown, California

Gold Prospecting Adventures  For over 40 years Gold Prospecting Adventures has offered an exciting variety of gold mining adventures. Located three hours east of San Francisco. Gold Prospecting Adventures is a great introduction for anyone, any age, who wants to find gold and learn something new.

Minerals: Gold, quartz, black sand, garnet.

Fees: Prices vary depending on the tour chosen, but generally range from $35 for a basic introduction to $125 for a full-day expedition with lunch and extended gold panning.

Address: 18170 Main St, Jamestown, CA 95327

The Oceanview Mine, San Diego County, California

Explore the dump piles of the historic Pala Chief Mine and the only active underground mine in the Pala Gem district, Oceanview Mine. Unearth a variety of gems like tourmaline, kunzite, morganite, and more. You get to keep everything you find!

A visit to the Oceanview Mine allows you a unique view of the only actively working underground mine in the world famous Pala Gem mining district and a chance to find your own gems—tourmalines, kunzites, morganites and more. 

Fees: Adults $75 each, Under 11 years old $60 each. 20+ Member Group Discounts.

Address: 37304 Magee Rd, Pala, San Diego, California

Opal Hill Mine, Mule Mountains District, Riverside Co., California

This historic mining district is renowned for its stunning opals, with a rainbow of colors waiting to be unearthed. Explore the mine pits and sift through the ore piles, hoping to find your own unique opal treasure.

Opal Hill is well known for its beautiful and rare fire agate, opal eggs and quartz crystals. When one thinks of a mine, images of deep shafts or dark tunnels usually come to mind. The mine consists of rock outcroppings and holes where agate has been extracted. 

Fees: $25 per person for adults, $15 for children ages 6-12, and free for children under 5.

Minerals: Opal (common opal, precious opal), fire agate, jasper, petrified wood.

The Mine is located on BLM land which is an open area for camping.

California State Gem Mine, New Idria District, California

The Benitoite Gem mine is famous for its rare and unique gemstone, benitoite. The Benitoite Gem mine is located on a small mining claim (the Dallas claim) in San Benito County, California, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.  

Minerals: Benitoite, neptunite, quartz, cinnabarite, stibnite.

Fees: $70 per person, Kids 12 and younger, only $20.

Address: The Historic Old Road Camp, 48242 Los Gatos Rd. Coalinga, CA 93210

The Pala Chief Mine, San Diego County, California

Explore the rich gem-bearing grounds of the Pala Chief Mine, renowned for its tourmaline, kunzite, and morganite deposits. Guided tours and self-digging options cater to different preferences.

The deposits here were discovered in May 1903, and the mine produced large amounts of tourmaline. It was also the primary discovery site of the purple gem variety of spodumene known as kunzite, and the first true source of gem-quality kunzite. 

Fees: $75 for adults, $45 for children 6-12, and free for children under 5

Address: 37304 Magee Rd, Pala, San Diego, California

Read also Benitoite: The Rarest Gemstone Found Only in California

See also:
Texas & New Mexico: Places Where Can You Go to Dig for Gemstones
Top Spots For Gem Hunting In The US
Where to Find Crystals in Arkansas: The Top Spots for Crystal Digging
New York Rockhounding - Places to Dig for Crystals in New York

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