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If you find yourself in Rhode Island and wish to do some rockhounding, rest assured. Although Rhode Island is small, and the variety of things that you can collect is scarce, there are still a couple of things worthwhile.
In Rhode Island, you can find sea glass, agates, amethyst, fossils, jasper, garnet, quartz crystals, serpentine, chalcedony, carnelian, or pyrite, among other things. The best rockhounding places include the beach gravels of Mt. Hope Bay, such as Bonnet Shore Beach, Pawtuxet, Warwick, or the beach gravels of Narragansett Bay.
Rockhounding in Rhode Island can be tedious, but some areas are worth the trouble. Let’s see exactly where you should go in Rhode Island to rockhound or beachcomb, and what specimens you can find!
Best Rockhounding Sites & Beaches in Rhode Island
The best rockhounding sites in Rhode Island are Providence, Mt. Hope Bay, Moosup River, Cumberland Hill, Sneech Pond, Pawtuxet, Warwick, Tiverton, Bristol, Johnston, West Greenwich, Jamestown Bridge, North Providence, Narragansett, Westerly, and various quarries or mines that allow access.
To better understand what you should expect if you visit any of these places, let’s analyze a few, and see what items are typically found there.
In Providence, Rhode Island, you can explore the area of gravels and quarries to the west. There, you might be able to find chalcedony, agates, jasper, or even sagenitic quartz crystals.
You can also try your luck in North Providence, at the northern area quarries where you may find bowenite (serpentine), and various quartz specimens.
Mt. Hope Bay
Mt. Hope Bay, Rhode Island, is another fantastic place where rockhounding and beachcombing can yield some amazing discoveries.
Apart from high-quality sea glass, you may also find in the surrounding beach gravels green or red agates, carnelian, amethyst, jasper pebbles, and thin hematite plates.
The Moosup River is another interesting place in Rhode Island worth checking out. Here, in the area near Bennett Hill, explorers might be able to find specimens such as hornblende, epidote, orthoclase, pyrite, apatite, biotite, garnet, chlorite, labradorite (in gabbro), or serpentine.
If you are feeling adventurous, you can explore the beautiful Cumberland Hill in Rhode Island, and check the area gravels and quarries. Chalcedony, jasper, agate, and even beautiful quartz crystals can be found.
Sneech Pond is another excellent rockhounding location in Rhode Island where rockhounds can use their skills to find various items.
There are many old prospects in the surrounding area where explorers might be able to find garnet, magnetite, chalcopyrite, molybdenite, rhodonite, and several other rocks, minerals, gemstones, and crystals.
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)
Best Beachcombing Beaches in Rhode Island
If you want to go for a swim, Rhode Island is filled with beautiful sunny beaches. However, if you want to collect something, you need to know where to know. Rhode Island beaches are filled with beach glass and other specimens that you might find, perhaps even shark teeth.
The best beachcombing beaches in Rhode Island include Cooneymus Cove, Block Island, East Beach Ninigret, Charlestown, Napatree Point Beach & Conservation Area, Watch Hill, South Shore Beach, Little Compton, Teddy’s Beach, Portsmouth, Third Beach, Middletown, Warwick City Park & Buttonwoods Beach, Warwick, or Viall Beach, Block Island.
TIP: Hunting for rocks at the seaside is a pleasurable pastime, and there are many treasures to be found. Find out how to clean rocks from the beach in the article below:
Cleaning Rocks From the Beach: 7 Ways How to Do It Properly
Types of Rocks and Gemstones in Rhode Island
Rhode Island has a couple of interesting rocks that you can collect, including the unique cumberlandite. Some other rocks that you can find here are agate, staurolite, serpentine, granite, gneiss, shale, conglomerate, marble, geodes (possibly), schist, quartzite, sandstone, limestone, and diorite, among others.
|Agate||Providence, Mt. Hope Bay, Cumberland Hill, Pawtuxet|
Many people assume that geodes might be present in Rhode Island. Although no instances of finding geodes were located here, it shouldn’t be ruled out as impossible. Geodes tend to appear near limestone, and Rhode Island has a couple of regions where it is present.
Agates, on the other hand, are much easier to find on Rhode Island. If you are in Providence, you can find agates in the area gravels, and quarries to the west. Beautiful green and red agates can be found at Mt. Hope Bay, in the surrounding beach gravels.
The area of gravels and quarries near Cumberland Hill is another excellent place to find agates in Rhode Island. You can also try your luck at the area beach gravels in Pawtuxet.
Staurolite rocks are found in Rhode Island as well. They are beautiful and usually rare, but you might be able to find some specimens at Jamestown Bridge, at the base near Jamestown.
Rhode Island is poor when it comes to gemstones. Some gemstones you can find are amethyst, bowenite (serpentine), amazonite, jasper (mostly pebbles), carnelian, olivine, rhodonite, and pyrite, or tourmaline among a couple of others. Some of the best places to find gemstones were the Diamond Hill and Iron Hill Mine, but they were closed.
|Amethyst||Johnston, Mt. Hope Bay, Pawtuxet|
|Jasper||Providence, Cumberland Hill, Bristol|
|Carnelian||Mt. Hope Bay, Warwick|
Amethyst is among the few gemstones worth searching for in Rhode Island. It can be found in a variety of places. For example, you can find amethyst in Johnston, at the cliffs at 295 and Rte 6. Mt.
Hope Bay is the best place to find amethyst though, in the surrounding beach gravels. You can also search the beach gravels around Pawtucket for Amethyst.
If you want to find jasper in Rhode Island, you can go to Providence, and search the area gravels and quarries on the western side.
The area gravels and pits near Bristol are also excellent for searching for jasper, but mostly pebble specimens. Cumberland Hill though provides some bigger jasper specimens. Search for it in the area of gravels and quarries.
Finding a carnelian in Rhode Island is though. Carnelian pebbles are often found in Warwick, on the gravels around the shore. The gravel beaches around Mt. Hope Bay though, provide larger specimens. You can also find a carnelian at Pawtuxet, in the area of beach gravels.
TIP: Cutting and polishing jasper is not difficult and can be very rewarding. Check out the complete guide on how to cut and polish jasper in the article below:
How To Cut & Polish Jasper: Follow These 8 Simple Steps
What Minerals and Crystals Can You Find in Rhode Island
Rhode Island may not have a diversity of gemstones, but it has its share of minerals. Some minerals that you can find in Rhode Island include gold, chalcedony, hematite, epidote, hornblende, orthoclase, apatite, biotite, garnet, chlorite, labradorite, chalcopyrite, magnetite, molybdenite, rhodonite, bowenite serpentine, or beryl, among others.
|Gold||Providence County, Diamond Hill|
|Garnet||Moosup River, Sneech Pond|
When it comes to finding gold in Rhode Island, there are very few locations where it has been found. Most of the gold mines in Rhode Island were located in Providence County. Either west of Glocester, or in the northeastern parts, gold was found around Diamond Hill, west of Diamond Hill Reservoir.
A couple of old gold mines in Rhode Island were also located near the town of Foster, at Cucumber Hill, east of the Cucumber Hill Road.
If you want to find garnet specimens in Rhode Island, your best bet would be either Mossup River or Sneech Pond. At Mossop River, near Bennett Hill, you might be able to find garnet specimens, but you can also find it at Sneech Pond, in the many old prospects surrounding the area.
If beryl is your thing, you can find it in Rhode Island. Go to Narragansett, and search for it in the pegmatite outcrops at Bonnet Shore Beach. Beryl is also present in Westerly, in the area quarries.
Though Rhode Island has a variety of minerals and rocks that you can collect, the island is very poor when it comes to crystals. Very few types of crystals have been found in Rhode Island.
Some noteworthy crystals that you can find here are quartz crystals or sagenitic quartz crystals. Rhodonite crystals may also be present, or zircon.
|Quartz Crystals||Johnston, Tiverton, Providence, Cumberland Hill|
|Zircon||South shore, Hull’s Cove|
To find quartz crystals in Rhode Island, you should head to Johnston, and search the outcrops north of Belfield Drive.
Rutilated quartz crystals can be found in Tiverton queries, but sagenitic quartz crystals are located in Providence, in the area of gravels and quarries west. You can also try your luck in the area gravels and quarries of Cumberland Hill.
You can find zircon crystals in Rhode Island in Jamestown, at Hull’s Cove. Zircon is also present in New Shoreham, Block Island, and the South Shore.
TIP: Beryl and emerald have the same chemical formula. Both chemically and structurally, they are the same material. Check out the differences between beryl and emerald in the article below:
Beryl vs. Emerald: 7 Key Differences (Are They The Same?)
Where to Find Fossils in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island is a popular spot to find fossils. You can find marine fossils, annularia, trilobites, paradoxides, badulesia, plant fossils, hyolithids, alethoperis, pecopteris, ferns, cattails, insect fossils, neuropteroids, anthracomartus, amber, annularia, or protophasmids.
The best places to find fossils in Rhode Island include Bristol County, Jamestown, Newport, Newport Basin, Portsmouth, Narragansett Basin, College Hill, Pawtucket, Valley Falls, and Block Island, Mohegan Bluffs, Narragansett Pier, Washington County, Providence County, and a few other places.
Arrowheads are also fairly common in Rhode Island, especially around bodies of fresh water, such as rivers or creeks. One popular place to find them is the Nipsachuck Swamp. However, you should research the law on the collection of arrowheads in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island is a small patch of the world where rockhounds might not venture often. However, when they do, they might discover that there are a couple of sites and things to collect.
Rhode Island shines in its diversity of rocks, fossils, and minerals. Crystals and gemstones are limited though. Whatever the case, if you give Rhode Island a shot, be sure to visit some of the areas mentioned in this article.
TIP: Holes in rocks can be formed in strikingly different ways. Sometimes holes are a result of water erosion. Find out the full explanation of how holes in rocks form in the article below:
Holes in Rocks Explained: How Are Formed & What Causes Them