Places to Dig for Gems in Kentucky


Western Kentucky is known for its abundance of fluorite deposits, first discovered by Indians who inhibited the area. The region became important to global industry. Fluorite was used in steel, aluminum and glass. (Reference 1)

Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum

The main place to find gems in Kentucky is the Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum. The museum preserves the heritage of mining in Western Kentucky. It has a large display of gemstone mining equipment as well as historical documents and photographs that chronicle the history and importance of mining to the region.

Columbia Mine

In addition to the museum, you can go on a dig at the Columbia Mine. This is the oldest mine in the Illinois-Kentucky Fluorspar District and was opened in 1835 and is now privately owned. For prices and to schedule a dig, contact the Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum. It is open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Lost River Cave

Another place you can look for gems is at the Lost River Cave and Valley in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The Lost River Cave gives underground boat tours as well as Lost River Mining. You purchase a gem mining bag and sort out your gems with an identification key. You may keep any findings.

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