Nevada has exceptional opportunities for rockhounds to go out and collect a variety of different gems and minerals. The most popular (and valuable) minerals commonly mined in Nevada include opals and turquoise. Here are a few areas where to public can go and dig:
Bonanza Opal Mine
When it comes to fire opals, Nevada’s Virgin Valley is known almost all over the US as one of the best sources of these unique, world-class precious gemstones. You can dig alone or with a group while viewing the beautiful rugged desert and wildlife.
Just 30 minutes from the mine is a camping site and a hotel, typically full of mining enthusiasts. For a great outdoor adventure in the northern Nevada desert, Bonanza Opal Mine is your number one destination.
Garnet Hill Recreation Area
This is not actually a pay-to-dig site. Garnet Hill is actually a free collecting site managed by the Bureau of Land Management. Two square miles of BLM land have been set aside for recreational collecting. The area produces quality garnet specimens of dark color which are found within the volcanic lava rock.
This collection area is located roughly 4 miles northwest of Ely, Nevada in White Pine County.
High Desert Gems & Minerals
This is a newly opened turquoise mine that has just been opened up for public digging. It is located in Hawthorne, Nevada, south of Fallon in Mineral County. There is not much information about this newly opened mine, so contact the company for the latest collecting information.
Northern Nevada is popular because of the opal mines that are found in the region. Kokopelli Opals is among the most popular sites to visit and view these opals. Being a privately owned mine, a visit exposes you to the various ways of mining and how they are designed as well as the many buyers of these precious stones. You can also participate in digging the gemstones.
Rainbow Opals is found northwest of Nevada, roughly 135 miles from Winnemucca. Opals from Rainbow Opals are some of the most sought after in the world and while visitors are allowed to find them on their own, the site’s staff is always around to help with the digging. A visit to the shop will help you view the many opals for sale as well as the minerals, fossils and jewelry.
Royal Peacock Opal Mine
This is the best mine you can go to if you love collecting world class black opal specimens. This pay-to-dig mine was opened to the public in 1981 and still produces countless world-class opals each year. The mine is situated in northwestern Nevada, towards the end of the Virgin Valley Road about 35 miles from Denio, Nevada. The mine is also a popular destination with its own eateries, a lodge, and camping facilities.
Also Read: Gold in Nevada
And: Rare Gems & Mineral in Nevada
Royston Turquoise Mine
The Royston Turquoise Mine is one of the few turquoise mines in the United States that is open to the general public. Tours of the mine are open during the warm months of the year. For a fee, visitors can dig through the tailing piles and collect pieces of turquoise that were discarded at the mine.
This mine is located near Tonopah, Nevada in the Royston mining district. This is a remote part of Nevada, so be sure that you come prepared. Some exceptionally beautiful turquoise specimens can be collected at this mine.