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Learn to Mine Your Own Gemstones

Elvis Elvis

Learning to mine your own gemstones can become a lifelong passion that is fun for single people as well as for entire families. There are different methods that one can use when rock hunting. Some methods take high-powered, technical equipment while others simply take tools that can be found in your home or garden shed. As we explore each method, it should be pretty easy to see that most formal methods aren’t feasible for the average person to do on their own. However, there are some options available that will allow you to enjoy the hobby of digging for gems.

Types of Mining

Hard Rock-In this method, individuals use picks and shovels, drills, dynamite and other tools to dig into solid rock in order to find fine minerals in their ore form. (Ore = metal + oxygen) Either vertical or horizontal shafts are dug in order to follow particular ore bodies or veins. The shafts and tunnels can often become flooded, causing them to be abandoned. This probably isn’t a method you would use in order to mine your own gemstones.

Open Pit-Often called opencast and open-cut, this method involves digging large, open holes in the ground. Walls of the pit are dug at an angle in order to minimize damage and avoid rock falls. After this method is finished, the area where the excavation was done has to undergo rehabilitation to prevent access of rain and oxygen from the air which can result in sulfuric acid. This method is most often associated with minerals such as gold, nickel and copper. Other materials typically extracted from open-pit mines include coal, diamonds, marble and granite. As with the Hardrock method, the open pit method would not be something you would use to mine your own gemstones.

Learn to Mine Your Own Gemstones

Hydraulic-This method uses water pressure to dislodge rock material or move sediment. It originated in California in the late 1800’s.

Even though it was a tremendous engineering feat at the time, it had devastating effects on the environment. Tons of earth was delivered to mountain streams that fed rivers flowing to the Sacramento Valley. Cities and towns in the Valley experienced devastating floods due to rivers overflowing their banks. Vast areas of farmland were buried deep into the mining sediment. This method can be so devastating that large-scale operations are outlawed in many areas.

Placer (pronounced “plasser”)-This method involves finding minerals located in deposits of gravel or sand found in stream beds. The simplest form of the placer method would be panning. In panning, some mined ore is placed in a pan, combined with a large amount of water and agitated so that the higher density particles (such as gems or gold) will settle to the bottom of the pan.

Another placer method that employs the same basic principle as panning would be sluicing. This is used in order to pan on a larger scale. A large box with barriers along the bottom is used to trap heavier particles as the water washes them. Shovels can be used in order to get larger amounts of sediment into the sluicing box.

Sluicing and Panning are good options that you can use to mine your own gemstones and minerals. These methods require very basic equipment that is easy for most peopel to get a hold of or build themselves. In addition to this, these methods have very little negative effect on the environment when done on a smaller scale.

If you’re considering rock hunting as a hobby, an important fact to keep in mind is that most mines are not open to the public.Poking around in someone else’s diamond mine or digging in an area not designated for mining is illegal and can cause you to be heavily fined or experience other negative consequences.