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13 Common Rocks & Minerals You Can Find in Tennessee

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Tennessee is one of the most biodiverse inland states in the U.S., and its rockhounding world is just as diverse as the landscape itself. Explore the rockhounding opportunities and locations of Tennessee with this informative article. 

During your rockhounding ventures in Tennessee, you may come across these common rocks and minerals:

  • agate,
  • obsidian,
  • limestone,
  • jasper,
  • unakite,
  • fossils,
  • geode,
  • calcite,
  • gold,
  • quartz,
  • celestite,
  • sphalerite,
  • and pearl. 

Whether you are a Tennessee resident or a first-time visitor, the information in this guide will set you up for a successful rockhounding experience in the Volunteer State. Let’s dive right into the common rocks, minerals, and gems of Tennessee, along with their rockhounding locations.

Common Rocks and Minerals in Tennessee
Common Rocks and Minerals in Tennessee

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

What Rocks Are Found in Tennessee

The Volunteer State is one of the best places in the U.S. for collectible rocks, as you’ll see below:


LocationGPS Coordinates
Horse Mountain35.512362, -86.420852
Memphis (near Richardson’s Landing)35.512357, -89.934635
Greene County36.144340, -82.822830
Hawkins County36.395453, -82.956837
Sullivan County36.489353, -82.125830
Murfreesboro35.851572, -86.384762
Cookeville36.158360, -85.519031
Where to Find Agate in Tennessee

Tennessee has many unique types of agates, such as Lake Superior Agates and Paint Rock Agates.

While Lake Superior Agates are well-known for their bright red, orange, and white bands of color, Paint Rock Agates resemble jaspers more than agates. Paint Rock Agates don’t have distinct bands and patterns like many other agates, but they display stunning swirls of red, yellow, and brown. 

Horse Mountain is one of the best places to go in Tennessee if you want to collect multiple types of agates, and Memphis is a close second.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Benton County36.087388, -87.992146
Humphreys County35.997165, -87.868296
Cheatham County36.262456, -87.029159
Carroll County36.068520, -88.308003
Stewart County36.448344, -87.922108
Where to Find Obsidian in Tennessee

While obsidian in its natural form is rare in Tennessee, it is common for rockhounds to find obsidian artifacts that were once the possessions of Native Americans. In past times, the Native Americans traded with other tribes from all over the U.S., which enabled them to obtain these obsidian treasures. 

Benton County and Humphreys County are two of the best places to go in Tennessee for obsidian artifacts, but you can also look in the surrounding counties of Stewart and Carroll.

TIP: Obsidian fakes are hardly spotted with the unaided eye. Time, patience, and additional equipment are needed to differentiate between natural and fake obsidian. Find out more below:
Real vs. Fake Obsidian Stone: Check These 8 Key Differences


LocationGPS Coordinates
Wayne County35.196694, -87.782292
Benton County36.069630, -88.041585
Henry County36.316069, -88.146710
Marion County35.053860, -85.545416
Dunbar Cave36.555826, -87.304041
Where to Find Limestone in Tennessee

Did you know that limestone is the state rock of Tennessee? Tennessee is full of limestone, and many of the state’s important historical buildings were constructed from this rock.

This state is also known for its limestone caves, and even though you might not be able to collect rocks from the caves themselves, they are impressive sights to see!

Swing by Wayne County or Henry County for high-quality Tennessee limestone. If you want to visit one of Tennessee’s famous limestone caves, head on over to Dunbar Cave, which is known for its impressive limestone structures.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Greene County36.135468, -82.811844
Hawkins County36.403190, -82.932117
Jellico36.584944, -84.126499
Sullivan County36.495978, -82.114844
Bumpus Cove36.153753, -82.488824
Cookeville36.157806, -85.508731
Where to Find Jasper in Tennessee

Tennessee has some beautiful jaspers for rockhounds, including golden jaspers and dark blue jaspers. You’ll typically find jaspers along with agates in the Volunteer State, but they are a bit rarer than agates in this area.

Look for Tennessee jaspers near Greene County, Hawkins County, and Jellico. For dark blue jaspers, explore Bumpus Cove.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Unaka Mountains36.116149, -82.356268
Roan Mountain36.191496, -82.066586
Rag Mountain35.816034, -83.059654
Del Rio35.921934, -83.024229
Flag Pond36.014967, -82.556740
Where to Find Unakite in Tennessee

Unakite is common throughout the Volunteer State, and because of its stunning speckled green and pink patterns, it’s a popular choice for jewelry and art. This metamorphic rock was named after the Unaka Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee, where it was first discovered.

In addition to the Unaka Mountains, you can collect unakite from Roan Mountain, Rag Mountain, and Del Rio.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Coon Creek35.346719, -88.416011
Sugar Creek35.806802, -88.887251
Wayne County35.258393, -87.760319
Memphis35.119527, -90.138400
McNairy County35.152690, -88.536370
Knoxville35.968353, -83.895575
Where to Find Fossils in Tennessee

After the Gulf of Mexico receded millions of years ago, it left behind many marine fossils in Tennessee. The majority of the fossils in this state are of marine creatures, and occasionally, you might come across agatized fossils.

During your hunt for fossils, be sure to check out Coon Creek, Sugar Creek, and other bodies of water in McNairy County and Wayne County.

Recommendation box: All tools and equipment you need for rockhounding and rock identification* (Amazon links):

1. Estwing Rock Hammer – Light, comfortable, and extremely durable hammer.
2. Estwing Geologist Pick – Classic and the most trusted paleo pick in the world.
3. Finder 12-inch Chisels – Heavy-duty chisels set with hand protection.
4. Mini Handle Shovel – This is a great tool for digging deep in the dirt.
5 Ironclad Utility Work Gloves – Breathable, but they also protect the areas requiring them most.
6. 3M Safety Glasses – Comfortable and efficient goggles for rockhounding.
7. Convoy 8+ UV Light – 365nm UV LED flashlight with a patented glass filter.
8. Wesley’s Jewelers Loupe – High magnification options (30X and 60X) with carrying case.
9. Mohs Hardness Kit – A specially designed kit for rockhounds

*All recommended products are personally tested and regularly used by experts from this website.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Cannon County35.812488, -86.079240
Ben Lomond Mountain35.633680, -85.758955
Russellville36.258324, -83.195039
Lawrenceburg35.235592, -87.324968
Livingston36.379512, -85.327520
Where to Find Geode in Tennessee

Usually, the geodes of Tennessee contain quartz, calcite, amethyst, or chalcedony, and if you’re looking for large geodes, then Cannon County is the place to go.

Even though Tennessee isn’t as famous as other states for its geodes, it still has plenty of these beautiful rocks that are just waiting to be collected!

As mentioned, Cannon County is a great place to search for large geodes, but you can collect high-quality geodes from Russellville and Lawrenceburg.

What Minerals Are Found in Tennessee

We’ve gone over the rocks of Tennessee, and now it’s time to dive into the common minerals of this state:


LocationGPS Coordinates
Hawkins County36.395453, -82.956837
Greene County36.144340, -82.822830
Sullivan County36.489353, -82.125830
Livingston36.380618, -85.322198
Boatland36.399127, -85.038611
Nun’s Cove35.869397, -83.422045
Ben Lomond Mountain35.633680, -85.758655
Cannon County35.798566, -86.085419
Where to Find Calcite in Tennessee

No matter where you go in the Volunteer State, you’ll be able to pick up some calcite. Calcite crystals are spread all over the state, and you can find them on their own or inside geodes.

Keep a lookout for calcite crystals in Tennessee, especially near Hawkins County, Greene County, and Sullivan County.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Coker Creek35.265457, -84.285926
Montvale Springs35.640496, -83.961660
Copperhill34.990585, -84.377368
Ducktown35.036274, -84.387227
Hawkings County36.408717, -82.919764
Sullivan County35.265492, -84.286012
Where to Find Gold in Tennessee

While gold exists all throughout Tennessee, the best spots to find it are in the eastern areas of the state. Most of the gold in this state is in the form of specks and flakes, but occasionally, rockhounds will come across a nugget or two.

Many rockhounds enjoy panning for gold in Coker Creek, but Montvale Springs and Copperhill are also great areas to look for this shiny mineral.

TIP: Tennessee offers a wealth of opportunities for gold prospectors. From rivers and creeks to historic mines. Check out the complete guide below:
Gold Prospecting in Tennessee: 7 Best Locations & Laws


LocationGPS Coordinates
Big Creek36.377852, -84.082897
Wayne County35.296511, -87.790538
Lawrenceburg35.238676, -87.342822
Douglas Lake35.964406, -83.342318
Little Tennessee River35.606977, -84.187239
Copperhill 34.991851, -84.381316
Where to Find Quartz in Tennessee

In the Volunteer State, rockhounds can pick up gem-quality quartz, and this mineral can appear on its own or inside geodes.

Usually, rockhounds find clear quartz, but light green and purple crystals have been discovered in this state. Some areas even have double-terminated quartz crystals, and the specimens from this state are known for their clarity.

Douglas Lake is the place to be if you want to collect double-terminated or colored quartz crystals. Gem-quality quartz crystals can be found in Big Creek or Wayne County.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Cannon County35.811594, -86.079987
Livingston36.378959, -85.329580
Monterey36.147666, -85.278197
Boatland36.398367, -85.037624
Ben Lomond Mountain36.087388, -87.992146
Del Rio35.921934, -83.024229
Where to Find Celestite in Tennessee

If you visit central Tennessee, you’ll have the opportunity to collect gorgeous pieces of celestite! You can also find this mineral in eastern Tennessee, but it’s more common in the central areas.

Cannon County, Livingston, and Del Rio are some of the top spots for celestite in Tennessee. As mentioned, most of the celestite is found in central and eastern Tennessee,


LocationGPS Coordinates
Sweetwater35.596663, -84.463365
Mossy Creek36.111405, -83.477445
Cleveland35.154894, -84.872066
Nun’s Cove35.869223, -83.421573
Greenville36.157296, -82.831091
Bumpus Cove36.154377, -82.486335
Where to Find Sphalerite in Tennessee

You can collect high-quality sphalerite specimens from the dolomite exposures of Tennessee. In the Volunteer State, this mineral is often discovered alongside barite or galena.

For high-quality Tennessee sphalerite, visit Sweetwater, Mossy Creek, or Cleveland. Nun’s Cove and Bumpus Cove also contain beautiful specimens.


LocationGPS Coordinates
Tennessee River35.110311, -85.408630
Knoxville35.924994, -83.992394
Kentucky Lake36.450820, -88.097103
Camden36.034390, -88.049880
Douglas Lake35.941039, -83.448735
Where to Find Pearl in Tennessee

In 1979, Tennessee designated the river pearl as its official state gem, and this state has some of the most beautiful and durable river pearls in the world. River pearls from the Volunteer State come in many colors and shapes, including pearl, irregular, and spherical. 

The Tennessee River and its tributaries have been known to produce some of the finest river pearls in the U.S. and the world. 

TIP: The world of gemstones is a fascinating realm where the unexpected often occurs. Find out more in the article below:
What Are Organic Gemstones? Complete List With Explanation

FAQ About Common Rocks & Minerals in Tennessee

To learn more about the common rocks and minerals in Tennessee, check out these FAQs:

What Rare Rocks Can You Find in Tennessee

The Volunteer State is a top-notch place to go for rare rocks, and during your travels, you might come across agates, geodes, unakites, jaspers, agatized corals, obsidians, and fossils.

There are a few types of rare agates that exist in this state, including Lake Superior Agates, Paint Rock Agates, and moss agates. In addition to agates, rockhounds also visit this state for its gorgeous unakites, which can be found in the Unaka Mountains.

The best way to find the rare rocks you’re looking for is to look at the locations listed above for each rock. With that being said, there are a few locations in Tennessee where you can find multiple rare rocks at once, such as Benton County and Del Rio.

What Rare Minerals Can You Find in Tennessee

Tennessee is more famous for its rocks than its minerals, but it does have some rare ones for rockhounds, including gold, celestite, pearl, sphalerite, galena, barite, calcite, gem-quality quartz, amethyst, fluorite, onyx, and garnet.

Even though Tennessee is far from the ocean, its rivers produce pearls that are said to be some of the most beautiful and durable in the world. These same rivers and creeks also contain gold and many other minerals.

The Tennessee River, Sullivan County, Del Rio, and Ben Lomond Mountain are some of the best rockhounding sites for rare minerals in Tennessee. If you’re searching for something specific, take a look at the rocks and locations listed above. 

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):

What is the Most Famous Rock or Mineral Found in Tennessee

Tennessee has some interesting rocks and minerals, but its agates tend to take the spotlight in the rockhounding community. This is most likely because Tennessee has many different types of rare agates, including the popular Lake Superior Agates and Paint Rock Agates.

You can also find banded and moss agates all over this state, so no matter where you travel to in Tennessee, you’ll be able to collect some agates.

There are so many locations where you can find agates in Tennessee, but essentially, this rock is so common that you should keep an eye out for it no matter where you go in the state. Take a look at the agate section above to see specific sites and coordinates.


It’s clear that Tennessee is a great place for rockhounds who enjoy collecting many different types of rare rocks and minerals!

While the minerals of this state are interesting, it’s the unique rocks that make this state truly shine. Who wouldn’t want to collect unakite, rare agates, fossils, jaspers, geodes, and so much more!

For your next rockhounding adventure, consider planning a trip to Tennessee; you’ll return home with all sorts of new treasures for your rockhounding collection!

TIP: Tennessee is one of the top rockhounding states in the United States since it offers numerous areas where gem hunters can collect specimens. Find out more below:
Best Rockhounding Sites in Tennessee & What to Find