Both Texas and New Mexico have a nice variety of mineral specimens that can be found including fluorite, quartz, opals, barite, agates, chalcedony, and more.
Texas Places to Dig for Gemstones
Bar M Ranch Services
At Bar M Ranch, guests are invited to search Honey Creek and its tributaries for topaz. Blue Topaz is the state gem of Texas—naturally occurring topaz of this variety is quite rare. Available for individual or group hunting | $15 per person/day |
Address: 5309 Old Junction Rd, Mason, TX 76856
Seaquist Family Ranch
Gemstone hunters have been visiting Seaquist Family Ranch in the Texas Hill Country town of Mason since the 1970s to search ravines and streambeds for pink granite outcroppings, which are the sources of pegmatite that contains topaz. With advance reservations, Seaquist Ranch allows rock hunting for a fee from morning until sunset each day. Mason has bed-and-breakfast lodgings, cabins and inns as well as restaurants and gem shops that line a pretty town square. While most topaz in Texas is white, natural blue topaz is located only in Mason county. $20 per person. Reservation Required.
Address: 7 Miles w. of Mason, Mason, TX
At Stillwell Store and RV Park on Stillwell Ranch south of Alpine and about 8 miles from the nearest entrance to Big Bend National Park, campground guests may search the grounds for gems. Primitive tent sites are available as well as RV sites with electric hook-ups and water. West Texas gem hunters may find plume agate in shades of black, gray and white, or colorful bouquet agate -- an agate with plume that can be pastel pink, peach, orange, yellow or red. The terrain is rough, so wear sturdy shoes or boots as well as hats and clothing to protect against the sun; avoid brushy areas to lessen the chance of encountering snakes. Step carefully to avoid brushing up against cactus thorns.
Address: 48421 Fm 2627, Marathon, TX
New Mexico Places to Dig for Gemstones
Desert Rose Mine
This mine is located about three miles west of Bingham along Highway 380 next to the Blanchard Rock Shop in Bingham, New Mexico. If you love collecting high quality minerals, then this is one of the best pay-to-dig mines that you can visit. You can collect great tabular barite crystals and cubic fluorite specimens, and galena crystals among other great stones. If you want ready gemstones as gifts to your loved ones then you can buy them in the adjacent Blanchard Rock Shop. It is a fee pay mine for $10.
Address: 87832 Socorro County, New Mexico
Rock Hound State Park
Rockhound State Park is a prime spot for hunting thunder eggs aka geodes. Thunder eggs look like muddy rocks and can be popped open to reveal valuable crystals such as amethyst, rose quartz and hematite. To distinguish a geode from a regular rock, look for a spherical external shape, often cauliflower-like in texture. You may need a hammer or chisel to break open the rock. Visitors are allowed to leave the park with 15 lbs. of rock to add to their personal collection.
Address: 9880 Stirrup Rd SE, Deming, NM 88030
Harding Pegmatite Mine
This is a donated mine preserved for collecting. You must limit you collecting to a few samples and sign a release form. Some of the minerals found include bityite, eucryptite, flourapatite, quartz, smoky quartz, gahnite, lepidolite, microcline, amazonite, microlite, albite, muscovite, lithian muscovite, piemontite, and spodumene. It is a fee pay mine for $50.
Address: Unnamed Road, Peñasco, NM 87553