Rare Gems and Minerals in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has a large number of minerals and an enormous range of animal and plant fossils. The state is most famous for its vast deposits of coal.


There are three varieties of garnets that have been found in Pennsylvania. The varieties include almandine garnet, andradite garnet and spessartine garnet. The sites where these garnets have been found were once active mines; however no commercial mining takes place at these locations now, and specimens can still be found at some of the old sites.

The almandine garnet is composed of iron and aluminum and occurs mostly in a deep red or reddish purple hue. Almandine garnet have be found in Pennsylvania in the area of Merion Station and Miquon located in Montgomery County, Boothwyn in Delaware County.

Andradite garnet is composed of calcium and iron and occurs in colors such as red, green, yellow, brown and black. The localities of Pennsylvania where this variety of garnet have been found are at Cornwall Iron Mine located in Lebanon County and at French Creek Iron Mines located at St. Peters Village among other areas.

The Spessartine variety of garnet is composed of aluminum and magnesium and is found in colors such as reddish violet and sometimes yellow and orange. The spessartine garnet variety has been found at Boothwyn located in the Delaware County.


Calcite mineral is not very commonly found in Pennsylvania; however York County has a few sites where the mineral can be found. A unique character of the calcite crystals is that when broken into smaller pieces, it always breaks down into a rhombic crystal again.

York County has a limestone belt in its central region and this is where calcite deposits are usually found. One of the locations where this mineral has been found is at the Codorus Stone and Supply Company Quarry located near Emigsville. The other location is the York Building Products Roosevelt Avenue Plant in York County. This quarry was earlier known as the York Stone and Supply Company Quarry and is said to have produced some of the finest samples of calcite.

All these sites require permission in order to visit the quarries.


The localities in Pennsylvania where pyrite has been found include the Blue Ball Stone Company Quarry in Lancaster County, French Creek Mine located at St. Peters Village of Chester County, Cornwall Iron Mine located in Lebanon County, and several locations in Berks and Luzerne Counties.


Pyromorphite is a mineral made up of lead chlorophosphate and is the chief ore of lead. The mineral occurs in colors such as light green, white, greenish white, dark green, yellowish green, brown, brownish green, orange and grey and is found as hexagonal, barrel shaped crystals.

The most known locality of Pennsylvania where pyromorphite has been found is the Wheatley Mines located at the town of Phoenixville in Chester County. Pyromorphite can also be found at the Brookdale Mine at Phoenixville.


There are quite a few places where quartz crystals can be found in Pennsylvania.

The Mud Grubb Lake located between the towns of Mountville and Columbia in the Lancaster County, the Brookdale Mine located at Phoenixville in Chester County and the Rossville Road Cut which is around a mile to the north of Rossville are some locations in Pennsylvania to find quartz.

Southwest Chester and Brookdale mines are now abandoned and located south of Phoenixville. Both of these mines produce quartz among other minerals including wulfenite on occasion.


Pennsylvania is a great state for fossil hunting. There are a wide variety of prehistoric corals, mussels, clams, and occasionally even trilobites are found.

There are also vertebrate marine fossils that are found throughout Pennsylvania from a time when sea water covered much of the state. Bones and teeth of fish, amphibians and reptiles are found in many locations.

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