What Equipment to Take on a Gem Mining Trip

Save

A gem mining trip allows you to go prospecting for gems like sapphire, garnet and topaz. There are different ways of prospecting, but all require little equipment. Before you decide on which mine you want to prospect, call ahead to find out the kinds of prospecting you can do and whether the mine rents equipment for the purpose.

Sluicing

  • Sluicing is common in gem mining operations. You sit before a sluiceway or a flume, which is a channel of running water, and wash scoops of ore and dirt with a framed screen so that only stones are left. The personnel of the mining operation can help you identify which stones are actually gems in the rough.

    Buckets or bags of dirt and ore are provided, along with the screens and shovels/scoops, so you don't need to bring much. If you will be sluicing awhile, a cushion makes it easier. This is an outdoor activity, and the water can get cold in the winter. Wear warm clothes that you don't mind getting dirty and latex or rubber gloves to keep hands dry.

Creeking/Panning

  • Mountain mining operations may have creeks flowing through the terrain that are available for prospecting. The creeks will be up to knee-deep and can contain gems that have been deposited in the waters from surrounding mines through erosion.

    Some people like to look for gems by peering at the exposed gravel and rock. Screening, or panning, is more common and more productive. To pan, you need a hand shovel and a screen, which is some type of metal grid enclosed in a frame. Screening is similar to straining things in the kitchen: dump a shovelful of gravel on the screen and strain with the available water. Mining operations will rent or sell you equipment if you don't have your own. Bring sunblock and, perhaps, insect repellent. Wear shoes that can take a splash.

Digging

  • To dig for gems is to cut into the ground or in a mine's vein, hoping to find a mother lode that yields a valuable find. This kind of prospecting is real labor and requires a rock hammer, shovel and bucket. Mining operations will usually supply them for a fee. Equipment you bring from home might have to be approved before you can use it.

Other Bring-alongs

  • If you find gems, you'll need something in which to take them home. Sealable plastic bags work fine. A lot of gem mining can be wet and/or dirty, so old towels are a good idea. Your shoes might get muddy, so bring an extra pair plus a large plastic bag for the dirtied ones. Don't forget extra socks. You might find yourself kneeling, so kneepads can help. Besides hand shovels, a folding shovel can come in handy for times you need to dig while standing.

References

Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

Resources

You May Also Like

  • How to Mine for Gems

    Gem mining in the United States is a popular travel past time. One of the most popular states for gem mining is...

  • How to Find Star Garnets in Idaho

    Idaho is one of the only two places in the world that yields significant amounts of star garnets. Garnets are translucent, purple...

  • How to Find Minerals & Gems in Virginia

    Virginia is a nature-lover's paradise, with the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley offering a wealth of opportunities for exploration. If you're...

  • Panning for Gems in Virginia

    With over 400 minerals within its borders, the state of Virginia is a true playground for the avid rock and gem hunter....

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Build and Grow a Salad Garden On Your Balcony

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!