Best Spots for Gem Mining in Missouri

gem mining in missouri

Have you ever wondered what kind of gems you can find in the rolling hills of Missouri? In this article, we will discuss some of the common gems found in the state and the best spots for gem mining in Missouri.

The state of Missouri is often overlooked when it comes to rockhounding. Missouri, known as the “Show-Me State,” is not just rich in history and culture but also in gemstone deposits.

From crystals to minerals, Missouri offers a diverse range of gemstones waiting to be discovered. The state mineral of Missouri is Galena, and you can find plenty of geodes, agate, pyrite, and more across the state.

How We Picked the Top Places for Gem Mining in Missouri

In order to find the best spots in Missouri for gem mining, we had to consider a lot of things. It can be tough to find the information we need to shortlist the best places. Here are a few things we took into consideration:

  • Input from local gem hunting associations and groups.
  • The safety of the mining location and the potential hazards.
  • The accessibility of the mining spot.
  • Private and public locations.

What Kind of Gems Can You Find in Missouri

Missouri has access to some of the best and rare gemstones, that are scattered across the state. Here are some of the common gems found in the area:

  • Quartz
  • Dolomite
  • Barite
  • Sphalerite
  • Calcite
  • Fluorite
  • Jasper
  • Malachite
  • Jasper
  • Chalcedony
  • Gypsum
  • Pyrite
  • Hematite
  • Smithsonite
  • Agate
  • Geodes
  • Sphalerite

Also, check out rockhounding sites in Indiana and popular spots to look for geodes in Missouri.

Our Favorite Spots for Gem Mining in Missouri

Here are some of the best spots for gem mining in Missouri, each offering a unique experience for rockhounds.

1. Sweetwater Mine

Nestled in the heart of Viburnum, Sweetwater Mine is renowned for its rich deposits of galena, chalcopyrite, and sphalerite. The mine has a fascinating history dating back to the 18th century when lead was first discovered in the region. T

oday, Sweetwater Mine welcomes gemstone enthusiasts to explore its underground wonders. You can visit there yourself, or embark on a guided tour of the area.

The mine is especially famous for its dazzling calcite crystals, which range in color from clear to amber. Some of the other gemstones found in the mine are dolomite, pyrite, quartz, and malachite.

2. Branson Mountain Gem Mining

Branson Mountain Gem Mining

If you are looking for a more hands-on experience, Branson Mountain Gem Mining is the ideal destination. Located in the picturesque Ozark Mountains, this gem mining spot provides visitors with the opportunity to sift through dirt and gravel to discover a variety of colorful gemstones.

Upon your arrival, you will be given mining bags and you can use water flumes and screens, and uncover treasures such as amethyst, quartz, and jasper.

The mine is family-friendly making it a great place to visit with your family and friends.

3. Bonne Terre Mine

Bonne Terre Mine

Bonne Terre Mine is a subterranean gem mine that takes you to the world’s largest subterranean lake, filled with clear water and ancient mineral formations.

While not a traditional gem mining spot, Bonne Terre Mine offers the chance to witness spectacular underwater formations, including stalactites and stalagmites.

Some of the popular types of gemstones found in the mine are:

  • Calcite
  • Dolomite
  • Pyrite
  • Quartz
  • Sphalerite
  • Marcasite

The best time to visit the mine is during the summer, from May to August. The mine is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily.

4. Mississippi River

Mississippi River

The mighty Mississippi River has been a source of fascination and commerce for centuries. Along its shores, particularly in certain areas of southeastern Missouri, gemstone enthusiasts can find deposits of agate, jasper, and petrified wood.

The river’s constant flow exposes these treasures, making it a prime location for casual gem hunting. You can explore the riverbanks during low tide or after storms can reveal an array of colorful gemstones.

Along the river and its tributaries, you can find a variety of minerals such as agate, jasper, geodes, chalcedony, and petrified wood. Beyond that, you can also find gem-quality specimens of calcite, galena, dolomite, and sphalerite. 

5. Grand River

Grand River

Situated in northwestern Missouri, the Grand River is another gem-rich location awaiting exploration. The riverbanks and surrounding areas are known for deposits of geodes, agate, and quartz crystals.

The Grand River provides an excellent opportunity for rockhounds to find unique and beautiful specimens. You can explore the gravel bars, and streambeds along the Grand River to find colorful geodes.

Grand River is also a famous spot among rockhounds when it comes to finding Lake Superior Agates.

6. Kahoka

Kahoka missouri

Kahoka, a small town in Clark County, Missouri, is home to diverse geological formations that make it a promising destination for gemstone hunting. The area is known for its deposits of geodes. 

You will find plenty of geodes in the outcrops along the Fox River in Kahoka. The process of finding geodes in Kahoka typically involves exploring creek beds and exposed rock formations.

The town’s welcoming atmosphere adds to the overall experience, making it an enjoyable destination for both solo rockhounds and families.

7. Adrian’s Quarry

Adrian's Quarry

Adrian’s Quarry is located in Adrian, Missouri. This site is known for its fossil-rich limestone deposits, providing visitors with the opportunity to uncover ancient treasures from the sea.

Fossils found at Adrian’s Quarry include brachiopods, crinoids, and trilobites, offering a glimpse into the prehistoric life that once inhabited the region. The quarry provides tools and guidance for fossil hunting, making it an accessible and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

Some of the common stones found in the area are:

  • Calcite
  • Pyrite
  • Millerite
  • Marcasite
  • Chalcopyrite

Other Gem Mining Spots in Missouri

In addition to the popular gem mining spots mentioned above, there are some other excellent sites as well in Missouri that you can check out. Here’s a list:

  • Sugar Creek – Calcite, Celestite, Sphalerite, Pyrite
  • Pleasant Hill – Calcite, Vivianite
  • Gentry County – Lake Superior Agate, Jasper, Fossils, Petrified Wood
  • Livingston County – Lake Superior Agate, Fossils, Petrified Wood, Jasper
  • Kansas City – Opla, Sphalerite, Calcite, Barite, Dolomite
  • Sedalia – Pyrite (large crystals)
  • Elmer – Gold, Garnet
  • Chariton River – Calcite, Quartz, Goethite
  • Finger Lakes State Park – Aragonite, Gypsum, Halotrichite, Marcasite, Melanterite, Pyrite
  • Le Grange – Agate (gem quality), Jasper, Chalcedony
  • Saint Charles Quarry – Calcite, Dolomite, Fluorite, Fossils
  • Elk River near Bee Bluff – gem-quality blue Chert
  • Indian Creek in Boulder City – Quartz crystals smoky
  • Ruepple Iron Mine near Stanton – Amethyst, Gypsum, Copper, Azurite, Hematite, Pyrite, Quartz
  • Shepherd Mountain – Fluorite, Quartz, Hematite
  • De Soto – Fluorescent Calcite

Important Tools to Have for Gem Mining in Missouri

Gem mining in Missouri requires a set of professional tools and equipment. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Shovels and Trowels: For digging into softer soil, you need a sturdy shovel or a trowel. It also helps clear away the debris on the surface.
  2. Picks and hammers: To split rocks, and extract gems, you need a pick with one pointed end, and the other flat that serves as a hammer.
  3. Buckets: As you uncover gems, you need buckets to place them. Make sure you have durable buckets for the job to make sure your gems remain undamaged.
  4. Magnifying glass: For a closer inspection of your specimen, you need a magnifying glass to reveal details that are not visible to the naked eye.
  5. Zip-lock bags: As you collect gems, you need clear plastic containers or bags to store them. It also allows you to see the gems without having to open the bag.
  6. First aid kit: Mining is a risky venture, so make sure to keep a first aid kit with you at all times so you can address accidents or injuries promptly.


Gem mining in Missouri is a rewarding and diverse experience, offering enthusiasts the chance to uncover a wide array of treasures. From old mines to the tributaries of the Mississippi River, the state of Missouri offers plenty of gem mining spots.

Missouri has something for every gemstone enthusiast, beginner or seasoned. So, grab your pickaxe, sift through the dirt, and embark on a journey to uncover the hidden gems that await in the heart of America.

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