Wisconsin Gem Mining Locations and Spots

rocks found in Alabama

Wisconsin is one of the best states in the US for gem mining because of its large variety of gem minerals found across the state. The state boasts multiple rockhounding sites, worth your visit. In this Wisconsin gem mining guide, we will look at some of the best locations to visit and the gems you can find there.

Wisconsin, known for its picturesque landscapes and diverse geography, is a treasure trove of gems waiting to be discovered. From diamonds and pearls to rubies and sapphires, Wisconsin boasts a variety of gemstones scattered across its vast terrain.

Due to its proximity to Lake Superior and the Mississippi River, Wisconsin is known for various gems and minerals. The best places for gem mining in Wisconsin are the stream beds, river gravels, and lakeshore beaches.

How We Picked the Top Places for Gem Mining in Wisconsin

In order to find the best spots in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin

You can find both common and rare gems in Wisconsin. The state has a rich history of rockhounding. The Menominee and Ho-Chunk tribes mined quartz and agates for their spirituality. While the early European settlers mined lead and zinc in the state.

Here are some of the rare and valuable gems and minerals found in Wisconsin:

  • Beryl
  • Diamond
  • Ruby
  • Sapphire
  • Pearl (gem-quality)
  • Agate
  • Quartz crystals
  • Kyanite
  • Gold
  • Calcite
  • Azurite
  • Hematite
  • Galena
  • Smithsonite
  • Agate (Lake Superior Agate)

You can also find geodes in Wisconsin. Also, check out sites for Petrified Wood in Colorado and our guide on the worth of gems and crystals.

Our Favorite Spots for Gem Mining in Wisconsin

Let’s take a look at some of the most promising gem mining locations in the state:

Eau Claire River

Eau Claire River

Nestled in northwestern Wisconsin, the Eau Claire River is a gemstone heaven, particularly for beryl. Beryl is a mineral that encompasses various gemstones, including emerald and aquamarine.

The riverbanks and surrounding areas have been known to yield specimens of varying colors and sizes. You can explore the riverbanks and adjacent areas, especially after heavy rainfall or spring thaws, as this can expose new deposits of beryl.

Diamond Bluff

diamond bluff wisconsin gem mining

Wisconsin has its own diamond district, Diamond Bluff. Located along the Mississippi River, this area has garnered attention for its unique geological formations that harbor diamonds.

Although small in size compared to traditional diamond mines, the thrill of finding diamonds in such an unexpected location adds a touch of magic to the gem-hunting experience.

You can explore the gravel bars and riverbanks for a chance to uncover these glimmering treasures.

Plum Creek

Plum Creek

Plum Creek is located in the heart of Wisconsin and is a multifaceted gem mining destination known for both gold and diamonds. Gem hunters flock to this area in search of diamonds, which are often found in the gravel deposits along the creek.

Additionally, the presence of gold adds an extra allure to Plum Creek. Panning for gold in the creek’s waters can be a rewarding experience for those seeking a mix of precious gemstones.

It is important to note that proper permits and adherence to local regulations are essential when engaging in gem mining activities in Plum Creek.

The Bend Deposit

The Bend Deposit

The Bend Deposit is located in central Wisconsin, and a geological marvel known for its diverse range of gemstones.

Gem enthusiasts can find an assortment of minerals, including quartz, garnet, and tourmaline. You can also find other gems in the area like Azurite, Malachite, Pyrite, Chalcopyrite, and Chalcocite. 

The unique geological composition of The Bend Deposit makes it a fascinating site for both amateur and seasoned gem hunters. The area’s rich history of gem discoveries adds to its mystique, drawing in those eager to uncover the hidden treasures beneath the surface.

Outgamie County

Outgamie County

Outgamie County is located in the eastern part of the state and offers gem hunters the opportunity to discover rubies and sapphires. These precious gemstones are often found in the gravel deposits along rivers and streams in the area.

Rare ruby and sapphire gems are reported in stream gravels throughout Outagamie County, particularly in gravel pits near Seymour, and Oneida.

Farr Lake

Farr Lake

Farr Lake is located in northwestern Wisconsin and is a gemstone oasis boasting various deposits of quartz and beryl.

Beryl, with its various color varieties, including green emerald and blue aquamarine, can be found along the lake’s shores. Quartz crystals, prized for their clarity and beauty, are also prevalent in the area.

You can explore the lake’s surroundings, especially exposed rock formations and general deposits to find these stunning gemstones.

Eagle Area in Kettle Moraine

Kettle Moraine Eagle area

The Kettle Moraine region, specifically the Eagle area, is a hidden gem, harboring diamonds. Diamond hunting in this area requires a keen eye and patience, as diamonds are often found in small quantities scattered among the gravel deposits.

In 1876, a 16-carat diamond was discovered in Eagle Village, and it was displayed in the American Museum of Natural History until 1964 when it was stolen and never recovered.

Make sure to visit the Diamond Hill in the area, where you can find various diamonds scattered across the area if you dig deep.

Mississippi River Beds

Mississippi River

The mighty Mississippi River, flowing along Wisconsin’s western border, is not only a scenic wonder but also a source of gem-quality pearls. Mussels thriving in the riverbeds produce pearls of varying sizes and colors.

Harvesting these pearls requires careful exploration of the riverbanks and, in some cases, diving to collect specimens.

Pearls from the Mississippi River have been used in jewelry for the Royal Family in England, and other royalties across the world.

Apart from the Mississippi River, you can also find gem-quality pearls in Boscobel, in Wisconsin River, and Grant River beds.

Other Gem Mining Spots in Wisconsin

Apart from the spots mentioned above, Wisconsin has other popular areas as well that you can explore for rare gems. Keep in mind that the rules and regulations for collecting in these areas keep changing, so make sure you are informed well.

  • Bayfield County – Agate, Jasper
  • Ounce Creek – Azurite, Copper, Epidote, Malachite, Quartz
  • Robinson Landing – Kyanite
  • Montreal Mine – Barite, Calcite, Dolomite, Galena, Hematite, Pyrite, Quartz, Talc
  • Pine River Reservoir – Kyanite, Quartz, Hematite
  • Tigerton (Embarrass River) – Beryl (gem-quality), Quartz
  • Saukville – Diamond
  • Monroe – Galena
  • La Crosse County – Lake Superior Agate
  • Bluffs of Miss River – Lake Superior Agate, Diamond, Jasper
  • Hazel Green – Barite, Calcite, Pyrite, Sphalerite
  • Prairie du Chien – Agate
  • Estabrook Park – Geodes
  • Racine – Calcite, Gem crystals
  • Pine River Reservoir – Quartz, Hematite, Kyanite

Important Tools to Have for Gem Mining in Wisconsin

Gem mining in Wisconsin 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.


That brings us to the end of our Wisconsin gem mining guide. Each of the locations and spots mentioned here offers a diverse experience for those passionate about discovering hidden gems. From gem-quality beryl to diamonds and ruby, Wisconsin has a lot of potential for gem hunting.

However, keep in mind that it is essential to approach gem hunting responsibly, adhering to local regulations and environmental guidelines to ensure the preservation of these precious resources for future generations. Happy hunting!

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