5 Types of Gems Often Found When Metal Detecting for Gold

May 6, 2015 in: Minerals & Such, Techniques

by: Michael Bernzweig

Metal Detectors, given their name, are thought by many to find only metal objects.  While this is true to an extent, metal detectors can also locate a variety of other objects that occur along side metal objects.  Items like glass bottles with metal lids and clay relics inside a case with metal closures are just two examples of non metal objects that have been located with metal detectors.

A naturally occurring example of a non metal item that’s often found by metal detectors is gems.  The metal detector may be designed to search for gold, however, since a range of gemstones are known to occur within and around the gold there’s a high potential to find not only gold while out prospecting, but precious gems as well.

Some of the gems that can be found with a gold prospecting metal detector include:


One of the most sought after gemstones today diamonds were often found and actually discarded during the California gold rush.  The 49ers just didn’t know what they were since diamonds didn’t become popular until about 20 years later.  They thought they were quartz!  So, not only can you find diamonds in the ground with your gold prospecting metal detector, you may happen upon them when searching old tailings piles, or when metal detecting former gold rush sites.


Depending on where you’re searching, sapphires are another precious gem that’s often found by gold prospecting metal detectors.  Sapphires are generally thought of as blue, but they can occur in several different colors depending on what trace minerals are present including yellow, pink, grey, and black.


Sapphires can also occur in red.  When they do, they’re called rubies.  The presence of chromium is the cause of the red tint to the sapphire.  The redder the sapphire the more valuable the ruby.


Garnets can make beautiful gemstone jewelry when found in the right condition.  They’re often found more than gold when prospecting and, some types of garnets, including pyrope garnets, are diamond indicator minerals.  This means when you see pyrope garnets, keep searching, there’s likely diamonds nearby.


Peridot, or Olivine, is a lovely green gemstone found near gold deposits that’s often confused with emeralds.  While peridot is fairly common, gem quality peridot is quite rare and very beautiful.

If you love gemstones and want to begin finding them yourself, getting a gold prospecting metal detector may be just the tool you need.  Then you can begin finding a variety of beautiful, and valuable, gems and as well as gold, and maybe even more!


About the author: Michael Bernzweig manages MetalDetector.com in Southborough, MA. He has written on the subject of treasure hunting and metal detecting since the mid 1980’s. He enjoys traveling with his metal detector and helping to educate others in the correct use of metal detectors in their explorations.


4 Responses to 5 Types of Gems Often Found When Metal Detecting for Gold

  1. Tony Bellomo says:

    I have been reading numerous articles from finding gold to gems and even meteorites. Most of the areas are located in the southwest and western states as compared to the eastern seaboard. Metal detectors can also be used for finding jewelry lost on sandy beaches. Iam considering buying one.

  2. shilo Lavalley says:

    what are the odds of finding gold in NH? Where would I begin to look?

    • jacobpan says:

      Shilo, the odds are only as good as your experience and ability to locate the gold. Vague answer I know, but as they say, “gold is where you find it!”

      The Wild Ammonoosuc River is the most popular location. Just be sure to stay on public land unless you have permission to dig on private land.

  3. Gold Dude says:

    Fun and Interesting Hobby