Gemfield - Atlas Obscura

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Gemfield

One of the best places to dig—some say on the planet—for six different types of chalcedony.  

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Nevada’s desert landscape is chock full of natural gemstone and minerals awaiting discovery, but when it comes to chalcedony, Gemfield is the cream of the crop. 

Located in western central Nevada, this public dig site is believed to hold the United States’ largest deposit of gemstone-quality chalcedony. This smooth, quartz stone—whose varieties include agate, jasper, and opalite—is prized for its hardness and luster and is ideal for polishing and for creating jewelry. 

Gemfield’s chalcedony appears in many shapes, patterns, and hues ranging from green to black and pale blue to pinkish-purple. With so many options to choose from, visitors can easily spend all day scouring the hillside for a prize gemstone.  

But Gemfield isn’t a one-hit wonder. The site is a rockhounder’s paradise and is prized for its vast mineral diversity within a relatively compact space. Along with chalcedony, Gemfield boasts deposits of turquoise, jasper, borax, silver, and even gold.

Know Before You Go

Gemfield is four miles northwest of Goldfield and 30 miles south of Tonopah, off Highway 95 along Gemfield Road. It’s open from sunrise to sunset daily, year-round. Digs run $1 per pound, cash only and paid on the honor system. Be sure to sign the visitor log at the entrance sign, which not only grants visitors permission to collect (the site is located on BLM property) but also serves as a liability release. 


There are no gas stations and/or restrooms in either Goldfield or near Gemfield, so plan accordingly. 


Be sure to stay on designated roads and avoid any fenced-off areas—these are old mine sites and are unsafe to enter.


Don’t forget your rockhounding tools, including a bucket for collecting, a rockhounding pick, spray bottle, trowel, and gloves. Once there, you’ll find a welcome kiosk detailing Gemfield’s various mineral deposits in the area and how to find them. 

This post is sponsored by Travel Nevada. Head here to get started on your adventure.

 

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