Similar to the therapeutic relaxation of tossing a fishing line or hand-pressing fresh dough, a methodic hunt of natural resources—that is, finding gems—is worth a vacation, too. Besides their fascinating geologic beauty, uncovering precious stones is an awesome way to land a rock-solid investment, straight in your pocket, with no question of the source!
Here are three locations in the U.S. for gem mining vacations, perfect for rock hounds and their families.
More than a century ago, in 1906, farmer John Huddleston was plowing his field when he saw a glimmer in the soil. He leaned over, and picked up the shiny object.
Jackpot! He’d uncovered a diamond.
Now an Arkansas State Park—and the world’s sole diamond-producing site that’s open to the public—the once-farmland, diamond site sits in an eroded volcanic crater. The 37 1/2-acre plowed field is open to the public to hunt for their own frosted rocks: the diamond. The park’s interpretive center provides exhibits and lessons regarding three of the most used methods for diamond seeking. After you’ve uncovered your worthy rocks the park rangers can identify and certify your diamonds, too.
Famously popular, Hiddenite Gem Mines is known for the discovery of some of the largest gems in the world. In 2003, an emerald of 1,869 carats was uncovered. Worth more than million dollars, it is the largest emerald known to date.
Comprised of several mines, Hiddenite Gem Mine’s group includes Emerald Hollow Mine—which is open for public mining—Adams Mine and NAEM (North American Emerald Mine).
Cradled in the Bushy Mountains, the 70-acre Emerald Hollow Mine, is the only emerald hunting location in the globe that’s open to the public. You can sit in a covered sluiceway and wash buckets of ore—which have already been filled with ore from the grounds of Hiddenite Gems, Inc.—or go prospecting in the creek beds. With more than sixty-three varieties of gems and minerals you’re highly likely to find a few ranging from emeralds and aquamarines to sapphires and topaz. You can even turn your treasures into jewelry at the on-site lapidary shop.
If you are a fan of the elusive aquamarine, Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine is the place for you. First, enjoy a walking tour of the Brushy Creek Aquamarine Mine (reservation only), which has Gem Mountain’s top-most abundance of aquamarine. A gorgeous green and blue hue, the gem is freed from the rock, collected, cleaned and sorted.
Then, get hands on by flume mining, which entails taking a bucket of mine soil and running it through water to spy local findings including amethyst, ruby, sapphire, moonstones, and Crabtree emerald. Then, the staff inspects your findings (free of charge) and you can have those gems cut and made into jewelry right on site!
Regardless of whether you work at a recycling facility, at a desk job or oversee construction grounds, it is essential to schedule fun family vacations throughout the year. Hunting for treasure (rocks!) is playful and light hearted for all, but also reconnects us with the organic beauty and wonder of our natural world. After such a reminder, General Kinematics is excited more than ever to be putting forward an eco-conscious foot!
*Research inspired by the Travel Channel’s, “Top 10 Treasure-Hunting Hot Spots,” by Kwin Mosby.