Major Mines & The Best Rockhounding Sites

Home to the largest silver discovery ever made, Nevada earned its reputation as the Silver State more than 150 years ago. Today, zero in on hundreds of ghost towns and historic mine sites that can be experienced in all corners of the state, or get yourself on a tour of some of the largest modern mines on planet Earth. No, really—if you’re after major mines of Nevada, Nevada Gold Mines is the largest gold mine in the world, and can be toured during summer months.

Want to get a bit more hands on? Nevada is a total paradise for rockhounds, with thousands of dig sites brimming with obsidian, chalcedony, agate, jasper, quartz, garnets, black fire opal, and turquoise, to name a few. Sink your pickaxe into massive tailing piles at the Otteson Brothers Turquoise Mine Tours in Tonopah. With gems spanning a color spectrum including robin’s egg blue, cerulian, indigo, teals and beyond, all you’ve gotta do is pick your hue, load up your dig bucket, and Otteson’s will cut and polish some of your best finds for you to take home.

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Whether it’s the newest item on your bucket list or the best wrong turn you ever took, whichever corner of this state you venture to, you’re bound to uncover the kind of unexpected encounters, memorable characters, and only-in-Nevada experiences that make this place so damn special.

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More Rockhounding Surprises

Another surprise? You might not expect to find opals in the desert, but northwest Nevada’s Virgin Valley holds the state’s official precious gemstone—black fire opal—plus opalized wood and opalite. For premium glasslike stones and one of the dreamiest Nevada rockhounding sites, visit one of the area’s “pay-to-pick” mines. Or head east to the Ely area for another Nevada rockhounding location prized by local rockhounders and professional geologists alike.

Known around the world for its cache of dark red gemstones, Garnet Hill offers pickers guaranteed access to sizable natural garnets with views of the largest active copper mine in the state, to boot. 

If you’re after some Silver State geology without the elbow grease, explore Nevada turquoise and gemstone shops at Austin’s Little Bluebird Turquoise, Erick Begay Native American Jewelry in Boulder City, and Garnet Mercantile in Ely.

#NVAdventure

Snap a photographic “gem” while you were getting after that rockin’ Nevada geology? Tag those shots #NVAdventure to share them with your fellow rockhounds. If we dig it, you may find it featured here!

In #Ely, #Nevada we found small garnets that look like the bright red seeds you find inside in a pomegranate. They are beautiful stones that can be find at the #Garnet Hill Recreation Area! You are even allowed to take them home with you.  We're here filming with geologist Brett Wagers for our #travel series #SeeingtheUSA. It's on amazonprimevideo and public TV stations in the USA including #PBS. visitelynevada travelnevada mypubliclands
Here is a sampling of what I found at the new claim (yet to be named). It cleaves like opal, has the color of the powderest blue turquoise and I think it's variscite. I'll send some to the lab just to be sure. 🥰 But I'm excited to polish some up to get a look at the
Valley of Fire, Nevada agates! So much druzy brilliance! Special thank you to the Southern Nevada Gem and Mineral Society for letting me come and slice them down so I didn’t have to travel back to Canada with  500 lbs of rocks! #valleyoffirestatepark #rockhounding #agate #druzyagate #sngms #nerdmom #iloverocks #gemdigger #agatehunting #travelnevada #outdoorfun #familyday
🕵️I Spy with my Scientific Eyes🕵️‍♀️
....#FossilFriday 🦖🦕🦖🦕🦖🦕🦖🦕🦖🦕
This dinosaur long bone was discovered in February with help from paleomel in the valley.of.fire. Looks more like a pile of rock, but scientists are currently trying to piece it back together to see what dinosaur was roaming around 100Ma. 
This specimen was recovered under a scientific permit, and a reminder NO fossils should ever be collected. If you ever come across a fossil: take a picture, get coordinates, and inform park personnel as soon as possible! 
There are fossils you can look for and collect however on private or BLM land! Invertebrate fossils (shells, corals, and trilobites) can be collected. If you are going on a fossil hunt on public lands, pack out what you pack in, social distance, and collecting is legal as long as it’s for your own rock collection. No trading, bartering, or selling. 
#nevada #jrscientist #Scientist #fossils #dinosaurs #paleontology #homeschool #distantlearning #EdChat #learning #teaching #scienceEd #k12 #travelnevada #homemeansnevada #neverstopexploring #stayhomenevada #nvpaleo #nvsciencecenter
Had a couple cool finds when I was venturing around the mountains between Virginia city and Dayton Nevada. The first cluster looks like a brain to me 😂🔥 the second picture is the highest grade of selenite I’ve ever found. A small haul today but felt good to explore some unknown area. #rockhound #rockhounding #rockhunting #crystals #crystalhealing #quartz #selenite #amethyst #nevada #explorenevada #minerals #geology #mineralcollecting #adventure #hiker #prospecting #crystalhunting
#Rainbow #quartz. Found this Eureka Nevada. There’s some copper oxide in there and some iron inclusions,  beautiful piece. What do you think? -
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#Crystal #Geology #ElleyCat #Gemstone #TravelGeologist #Nevada #Rockhounds #Rockhound #Rocks #Geologist  #PrettyAndSmart #elleyknowsrocks
White Pine County Will Be Here To Welcome You Back. Stay Strong. We Will See You Soon.

Our next feature to provide travel inspiration during these crazy times and counting down the days until life returns to normal is: Garnet Hill. Known as one of the best rock hounding sites in Nevada, Garnet Hill presents great views, including of the mine across the valley, delivers family fun collecting sharp, dark colored garnets, and is only a short drive from downtown Ely. More info can be found on our website by clicking this link: https://bit.ly/2UrcBhZ.  #visitelynevada #getelevated #mountaintown #getoutside #greatoutdoors #rockhunting #rockhounding #familyfun #nvroadtrip #familyfun #photooftheday #epic #awesome travelnevada ponyexpressnevada
Inside #chollarmine where riches still hide... no wonder #virginiacity is said to be one of the most #haunted towns in America - some of those old miners still think they’ll strike it rich!🤠⚒ 👻
My sparkly find at The Royal Peacock Opal Mine this weekend. #digginginthedirt #ignorethedryhands #homemeansnevada
Today my hubby, pup and I escaped to do a little rockhounding 30 minutes from home. One of the advantages of living in Nevada is the vast rockhound opportunities everywhere! Overlooking Gold Hill, with Virginia City in the background, we found some interesting quartz crystal clusters. Nothing earth shattering, but fun nonetheless. Still caked in mud, it will be fun to see how these clean up! 🤩
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#rockhoundingnevada #nevadarockhound #rockhounding #goldhillnevada #virginiacitynevada #quartzclusters #nevadaoutdoors #naturelover #explorenevada #givingearthminerals #gemsandminerals #rockhunting #naturalstones #rocksandminerals #ilovenevada #homemeansnevada
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