Rare Gems and Minerals in Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the smallest of all the United States. Due to the size there is little variation throughout the state in which to search for various minerals, gemstones, and fossils. While it might be popular with beach goers because of its beautiful ocean beaches, it is not quite so popular with rock hunters.

However, despite its small size, there are still some interesting rocks to be found here. If youíre already in the state and are a collector you might want to take a little bit of time to search a few of them out.


Everyone recognizes amethyst. It is the beautiful purple gemstone that is regularly seen in jewelry. Though the shade of the purple may vary from light to dark it is a sight to see in any variation.

If you like amethyst you are in luck. Rhode Island has a famous hill called Quartz Diamond Hill in Ashway, Washington County. Despite its popularity lovely and large specimens are still found regularly. Much of what youíll retrieve may have some damaged facets but you never know you might get lucky and find a perfect specimen.


Cumberlandite is the official Rhode Island state rock. Not the most beautiful of rocks it is still interesting and collectible because it is only found in large concentrations within Rhode Island and because it is composed of a high level of iron it is somewhat magnetic.


Bowenite has been the Rhode Island state mineral since 1966. This compact serpentinite antigorite can be recognized by its light yellow shade. This mineral is considered semi-precious, so while it isnít worth a lot it does hold some value to collectors and is quite fun to search for.

The best places to search for this lemon-colored mineral are in the northern part of the state. If youíre into history you might be interested in knowing that this exact same stone was once used by the Maori in New Zealand for axes. The first Bowenite was found in Lincoln making it a great place to search.


In addition to amethyst, some garnets can also be found throughout Rhode Island. Around Warwick there has been green mica schists found that contain red almandine garnets. In East Warwick there are purple almandine garnets to be found in silver-colored mica schists. Various other color ranges can be found but these are the two most prominent.


Many states can be proud of the variety of fossils they have to offer, unfortunately Rhode Island is not one of them. Of course there are some to be found here but they are few and far between due to the fact that this small state has large geologic periods that are missing from its geological record.

This gap is because much of Rhode Island eroded instead of gathering sediment. This erosion happened during the very important Mesozoic Era and accounts for why there have never been any dinosaurs discovered in the state.

Donít let the lack of dinosaurs discourage you, there are still a few other interesting fossils to be found. If youíre keen on searching you can find prehistoric amphibians that traveled around the area during the Paleozoic Era. There are also plenty of trilobites and an unusual amount of fossilized insects to be discovered.

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