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How to Actually Find Gems with a Metal Detector? It is Easy!

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When you left the house today, you joked that your metal detector was going to find you a diamond. Now, as you hunt for valuable metals beneath the ground’s surface, you start to wonder what other types of substances that metal detectors you’re using might be able to find. Everyone would love to unearth some precious gemstones, but you can’t help but wonder, are you really likely to do that with a metal detector?

While you cannot actually find gems with a metal detector, you can find the indicator materials. When you’re prospecting, you can use common indicators to lead you to those sought-after gemstones. Learning the different types of indicators will be the best way to find gems with a metal detector.

You may also get lucky and find gemstones attached to metal objects such as jewelry. So, even though the detector can’t find the gem itself, we’ll cover some great tips so you can try to hunt down some precious gems on your next metal detector outing.

If you are interested in checking out the best metal detectors for rockhounding you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).

Finding Gems Through Indicators

How to Actually Find Gems with a Metal Detector
How to Actually Find Gems with a Metal Detector

The first thing to understand about prospecting using indicators – is that there is a lot to understand.

The types of indicators you are looking for can easily vary from one location to the next. For example, while you might find great luck in using magnetite to locate diamonds in one area, it could produce a big fat goose egg for you at the next location.

You will want to use your metal detector to spot these indicators that will hopefully, lead you to the gemstones.

Learning the types of indicators to look for is step one.

Coincidentally (and luckily), many of the indicators that work for gold, will also work for leading you to diamonds. Here are some of the most common indicators you can use to find gemstones.

  • Glassy Green Olivine
  • Chromium Garnets
  • Magnetite

These mineral indicators are great leads when searching for gold or many types of gemstones. Some of the most common gems found when using these indicators are:

  • Diamonds

Many of these wildly sought-after gems are discarded by people who don’t have the eye for precious stones. They are commonly found around sites where gold is also present.

  • Rubies

Ruby is a type of sapphire that turned red due to the presence of chromium. While chromium is not always found with metal detectors because it is typically seen as alloys rather than pure metals, it can be detected sometimes, leading you to these beautiful red gems, according to Detecting School.

  • Sapphire

Sapphires are another gem similar to diamonds that appear around many popular gold areas. You will find the colors of the sapphire can vary based on the trace minerals present. So, when you find sapphire, be aware of the indicators you used and what colors you ended up with!

  • Peridot

Also known as olivine, is confused frequently with emeralds. If you are searching an area for gold and come across a small item that looks like an emerald, you most likely found peridot, as they are also common in gold-rich areas.

  • Garnet

Garnets are not only beautiful gemstones, but they are also an easy indicator that diamonds may also be nearby. So, if you can detect garnet, you may be led to diamonds through that discovery.

TIP: Almost all the minerals mentioned above are really valuable. It is always good to know how to recognize valuable rocks and minerals. Check out the article below and find out what are the 6 signs for valuable rocks and minerals:


6 Signs That a Rock Is Valuable + Examples & Location Tips


What Type of Metal Detector is Best for Finding Gems?

Using a gold metal detector will be your best bet for finding gems.

The features are more robust than standard, general metal detectors and they work better in mineralized soil. Their detection depth and superior functionality will better navigate the fertile soil, allowing you to find smaller items in harsh conditions.

Most metal detectors should have no issues locating any of the common indicators. But to be sure, always do your research on possible new detectors and ensure they are capable of seeking out the indicators you’re looking for.

I personally recommend Bounty Hunter TK4 Tracker IV Metal Detector, you can check the latest prices for this metal detector on Amazon here (Amazon link).

Where to Search for Natural Gemstones

If you’re out for a casual day of metal detecting and have no specific goal in mind, you may get lucky and uncover a lost ring or a forgotten necklace. But trying to target areas where you will find a particular specimen will always be your best bet when on the hunt.

Finding Diamonds

Gemstones such as diamonds are some of the more common stones found in nature, rather than attached to a piece of jewelry. Any areas where there has been erosion and volcanic activity will be great locations to look for diamonds.

A great tip is to keep an eye out for streams or moving water near those areas, as the water typically tends to sweep quite a few of them away. And even though your metal detector won’t be able to spot the diamond itself, it can help you identify the diamonds.

By using indicator tracing and seeing where there is a lot of activity of these mineral compounds, you will be able to focus on certain areas.

Diamonds in their raw form are nothing spectacular to look at. So the combination of using indicators to get to a mineral-rich area and being vigilant in your visual search will help you spot them.

You may also try to find old diamond mines to see if they are allowing anyone to come search. Most will not allow metal detectors, but for a small fee, you can do some old-fashioned prospecting!

Using Deep Mantle Rocks

When you come across deep mantle rocks, you may be able to find some gemstones nearby. When these rocks were pushed up to the surface by different geological processes, they came with some gifts in the form of small gemstones that had sat deep beneath the surface until now.

You may also want to search any waterways nearby, for the same reason you would check streams near volcanic activity for diamonds. The water can be rich in gemstones that were swept away.

Whenever you encounter these deep mantle rocks, get your detector out and begin looking for any common indicators that may lead you to this natural treasure.

Where to Search for Polished Gemstones

Using metal-specific detectors will also help in the case of finding gemstones that are attached to the jewelry. While the thrill of seeking out natural gemstones that have been crushed under the earth’s surfaces for years is exciting – you probably have a better chance of finding a lost ring with a beautiful ruby on the end.

The best places to look for jewelry with gemstones will be in high-traffic areas. Think about tourist locations, outdoor concert or sporting venues, outdoor restaurants, or popular romantic outdoor locations.

Farmers Insurance shared a delightful story of a man who has found over 225 rings with his metal detector and reunited the rings with their owners.

He mentions that beaches are one of the best places to find these items. Whether it was from a proposal gone wrong, or merely a gemstone bracelet that fell out of someone’s beach bag, the sand is filled with left-behind treasure.

On the Hunt for Gems with a Metal Detector

If you have a metal detector and you want to start finding some of the earth’s treasures known as gemstones, you can begin learning more about the indicators that will lead you to them.

Understanding which indicators are typically found around different gemstones will help you maximize your efforts.

While you may not be a master prospector, you can easily research common indicators in the areas you are looking to search in, and what those indicators may lead you to.

Make sure you have the proper equipment, a keen eye for natural gems, and a working knowledge of indicators and you will be on the right track.

TIP: Do you know where to find the best rocks and minerals in the US? If you are not sure, check my guides for the best places for rockhounding in different US states here:


The Best Places for Rockhounding in the US