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Famous for its astonishing variety of gemstones, crystals, and minerals, New Jersey is among the best rockhounding spots in the U.S. When it comes to its rockhounding location, New Jersey is just as rich as in its mineral and gemstone variety.
The best rockhounding locations are in the northern and central parts, of the state, at old quarries, ocean beaches, and mining dumps. You can find geodes, rubies, amethyst, Cape May Diamonds, jasper, corundum, axinite, gold, silver, copper, datolite, citrine, amber, and various other minerals, rocks, gemstones, crystals, and even fossils.
The southern part of the state is also worth checking out, and so are the gravels of streams and rivers, rocky exposures, and outcrops. Amber is particularly abundant in New Jersey, and you might find some trapped specimens inside it! With that being said, let’s check out the best rockhounding locations in New Jersey, and see what you can find!
If you are interested in checking out the best rockhounding book about rockhounding in New Jersey you can find it by clicking here (Amazon link).
Best Rockhounding Sites in New Jersey
The best rockhounding sites in New Jersey are Pennington Mountain, Manasquan Beach, Burlington County, Higbee Beach, Cape May, Stirling, Franklin Furnace, Pompton River, Bergen County, Snake Hill, The Palisades, Bayonne to Edgewater, Mine Hill, Prospect Quarry Park, Bound Brook, and many others.
The northern, southern, and central parts of New Jersey are generally among the most abundant regions. The northern parts are usually the richest and where most of the best rockhounding locations are situated. Let’s take a look at some of these rockhounding sites and see what you can find!
Bergen County might be the best location to rockhound in New Jersey. In the basalt, diabase outcrops, and road cuts, you can find several noteworthy specimens. Some of the things that you can find include amethyst, agates, geodes, amethyst crystals, carnelian, chalcedony, datolite, natrolite, and both common and fire opals.
At the Bergen Hill by Hudson River, in all the tunnels, exposures, and road cuts, you can find banded agates, albite, amethyst, analcime, apatite, calcite crystals, datolite, epidote, galena, malachite, fire, and regular opals, quartz crystals, siderite, and many other specimens.
In the area mining dumps of Mine Hill, northern New Jersey, you can bornite, tremolite, calcite, chalcopyrite, chlorite, garnet, hematite, magnetite, pyrite crystals, quartz crystals, spinel, sunstone, and many other specimens.
Near the summit, you can find feldspar and sunstones as well.
Prospect Park Quarry
The Prospect Park Quarry is also among the best rockhounding locations in New Jersey. Here, you can find chalcedony, banded agates, amethyst, barite, calcite, cuprite, datolite, dolomite, galena, goethite, hematite, opals, prehnite, quartz, silver, and various other minerals, even fluorescent ones.
In central New Jersey, enthusiasts should visit Bound Brook. Here, in the area quarries, one might find tourmaline, malachite, cuprite, quartz crystals, prehnite, silver, copper, chalcocite, calcite, bornite, and agate specimens.
BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals
- Gemstone & Crystal Properties (Quick Study Home)
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids)
Types of Rocks in New Jersey
New Jersey has a rich variety of rocks that you can collect. Some of the most popular specimens include geodes, flint, obsidian, agate, serpentine, sunstone, marble, jasper, soapstone, amphibole, augite, microcline, diabase, basalt, slate, quartzite, gneiss, shale, sandstone, limestone, dolomite, or franklinite.
|Geodes||Bergen County, Barnardsville|
|Flint||Rockaway River, Hudson River, Delaware River|
|Obsidian||Essex County, Morrison County, Passaic County|
There isn’t a big variety of geodes that you can find in New Jersey. And the locations where these beautiful rocks are present are few in number. However, if you head to Bergen County, northern New Jersey, you might find some beautiful amethyst geodes in the basalt and diabase outcrops, or road cuts.
In central New Jersey, you might be able to find geodes in Barnardsville. Head towards the area quarries in this region and search for them. Various geodes have been found here.
Finding flint in New Jersey is relatively easy. Most of the time you can find it in the area washes caused by floods, or river beds. Rockaway River is a great place to find native flint. You can also try the Hudson River or Delaware River.
New Jersey’s geologic history is quite rich and complicated, however, because of this, you might be able to find obsidian here as well. Obsidian may be found in Essex County, in the area river beds.
You can also try your luck at the Green Pond Mountain, Northern Passaic County, or in the western parts of Morisson County, or its southern parts at Peapack kipple. The Jutland Kipple south of Musconetcong Mountain is also an excellent place to start.
TIP: Acquiring a piece of obsidian that needs to be cut and polished can be quite a stressful task if you have never done it before. Check out the step-by-step guide on how to cut and polish obsidian:
How to Cut & Polish Obsidian: Follow These 7 Simple Steps
Where Can I Dig for Gems in New Jersey
The state of New Jersey is filled with various beautiful and even rare gemstones that you can find. Some of the most popular ones are amethyst, quartz gemstones especially Cape May Diamonds, opal, pyrite, carnelian, jasper, sard, zircon, corundum, ruby, tourmaline, rhodonite, titanite-sphene, axinite, or garnet, among many others.
|Amethyst||Warren Township, Bergen County, Snake Hill|
|Quartz||Prospect Park Quarry, Pompton Lakes, Rock Hill Quarry|
There are plenty of hot spots where you can find high-quality amethyst specimens in New Jersey. Bergen County might be the best place to find it.
You can search in the area basalt and diabase outcrops or road cuts, or you can head to Begen Hill, the Hudson River region, and search in the road cuts and exposures. Snake Hill is another excellent place, whereas, in Warren Township, you can find amethyst in the brook gravels.
To find quartz gemstones in New Jersey, head towards the Prospect Park Quarry, in the northern region. The area quarries near the Pompton Lakes are excellent, and so is the Rock Hill Quarry, in central New Jersey. The area quarries in Barnardsville or the 3M Quarry in Belle Mead are also great places to find quartz gemstones in New Jersey.
List of Minerals Found in New Jersey
There are hundreds of mineral specimens present in New Jersey. You can find gold, albite, analcime, apatite, calcite, galena, malachite, magnesite, feldspar, garnet, prehnite, bornite, chalcopyrite, tremolite, allanite, chondrodite, barite, dolomite, goethite, silver, hornblende, willemite, azurite, braunite, or marcasite, among others.
|Gold||Cape May County, Sussex County, Burlington County|
|Silver||Bound Brook, Somerville, Pompton Lakes|
|Prehnite||Houdaille Quarry, Morris County, Lambertville Quarry|
To find gold in New Jersey, you might need to enter a gold prospectors club. Gold isn’t so documented in this state, however, it definitely is present with various hidden locations just waiting to be discovered.
Panning for gold might also be rewarding. Some of the best places to find gold in New Jersey include Cape May County, Sussex County, Burlington County, and Salem County.
TIP: You need to know something about how gold deposits occur to understand which rocks to look for when prospecting. Check the best rocks to look for in the article below:
5 Rocks You Need To Look For When Gold Prospecting (+ Why)
Where to Find Crystals in New Jersey
There are various types of crystals present in New Jersey. Some of the most beautiful and popular ones that you can find include datolite, natrolite, quartz crystals, calcite crystals, epidote, pyrite crystals, spinel, diopside, coccolite crystals, citrine, cerussite, zincite, axinite crystals, apophyllite, or chrysocolla, among others.
|Quartz Crystals||Bergen County, Long Branch, Ocean County, Manasquan, Somerville|
|Axinite Crystals||Lamberville, Mine Hill|
You can find some beautiful regular quartz crystals in Bergen County, New Jersey, or in the cavities and debris at the Palisades.
To find the astonishing rare quartz crystals known as Cape May Diamonds in New Jersey, head to Manasquan, and search the ocean beach gravels to the south. In Ocean County, Cape May Diamonds may be found in the entire stretch of ocean beaches.
Speaking of beaches, you can find some high-quality sea glass in New Jersey. Some of the best beaches to find sea glass in this state include Sunset Beach, Fortescue Beach, and Bay Head Beach. The Delaware Bay beaches are incredibly beautiful and rich in sea glass.
TIP: The mineral’s hardness is one of the most helpful characteristics in mineral identification. Check out the ultimate guide on how to test the hardness of your minerals in the article below:
DIY Guide: Testing Mineral’s Hardness (Explained by Expert)
Fossils Found in New Jersey
Although New Jersey is rich in its rocks, minerals, gemstone, and crystal variety, it also has its fair share of fossils. You can find trilobites, brachiopods, bryozoans, corals, crinoids, ancient shark teeth, dinosaur bones, plant fossils, and many others.
The Shark River Park is extremely popular due to its various shark teeth and megalodon teeth fossils. Various Miocene-era fossils reside here, and there are some limitations as to how much you can carry and what tools you can use.
The Big Brooke Preserve is also an excellent location to find shark teeth, megalodon teeth, and various other fossils in New Jersey. Petrified wood is also common in this state.
The Warren Township, Sayreville, and Manasquan areas are excellent locations to find petrified wood in New Jersey.
When it comes to finding relics and artifacts in New Jersey, such as arrowheads, the best places to find them are the bay beaches of Cape May. Search the sand near the Sunset and Bigbee Becheas to find various arrowheads, shark teeth, sea glass, and other specimens.
The state of New Jersey might not seem like a good rockhounding location at first sight. However, this state is rich in its diversity of minerals, rocks, gemstones, crystals, and fossils.
There are various common and rare specimens that you can find here, and the best part is that New Jersey is filled with rockhounding locations where enthusiasts can have some fun!
TIP: Rotary rock tumblers – the ones with a drum that turns – are the most common type of tumbler used by lapidary hobbyists. Find out the complete guide on rotary rock tumblers in the article below:
Rotary Rock Tumblers: How They Work & Which One Is Best?