Where to Find Amethyst in the United States?

Amethyst is a beautiful purple variety of quartz that is popular among rockhounds and gem collectors. While significant deposits of amethyst can be found overseas, there are also many excellent locations to find amethyst geodes and crystals in the United States. Here are some of the top places to find amethyst in the US.

Lake Superior Region

Some of the finest amethyst specimens in North America have been found along the north and south shores of Lake Superior in northern Michigan and Wisconsin as well as in neighboring parts of Minnesota, Ontario and Quebec. Major deposits are located near Thunder Bay, Ontario and Grand Marais, Minnesota where amethyst can often be found along Lake Superior’s beaches. Other productive areas include Iron County, Michigan and Douglas County, Wisconsin.

The amethyst found in this region occurs in fractures and cavities within Precambrian lava flows. Geodes ranging from walnut-sized to massive boulders over a meter across have been extracted from this area. The color ranges from pale lilac to deep purple, though white quartz and dark exterior rinds are also common. The region can produce jewelry-grade amethyst, though most finds are matrix specimens with white quartz attached.

Arkansas

The Ouachita Mountains of west-central Arkansas contain numerous prolific deposits of amethyst that have been commercially mined since the 19th century. Major deposits are concentrated in Hot Spring, Montgomery and Polk Counties. Crater of Diamonds State Park is a popular destination for digging through mine tailings in search of amethyst crystals.

The Arkansas amethyst occurs in vertical veins associated with granite intrusions. The crystals range in color from pale to deep purple and often form spectacular druzy coatings inside vugs and geodes. Arkansas yields abundant, high-quality amethyst specimens and is the source of most amethyst sold for lapidary purposes in the United States today.

Pennsylvania

Amethyst can be found in fractures and cavities in basalt flows throughout the Triassic basins of southeastern Pennsylvania. The best locations are in Lancaster, Berks, Lehigh and Northampton Counties. Historic mines near Harrisburg, Boyertown and Ardmore were exploited in the 19th century but many localities can still produce nice specimens.

Pennsylvania amethyst ranges from transparent to opaque and pale lilac to deep purple in color, though citrine-colored amethyst is also found here. The crystals and druzy linings are small, rarely exceeding a few centimeters across, but make lovely additions to any amethyst collection.

Maine

The state of Maine offers extensive opportunities for finding amethyst. Major deposits occur in Oxford County near Rumford and the Androscoggin River. Pleasant Mountain and Deer Hill in the vicinity of Route 26 are renowned amethyst locales. The Dunton Gem Quarry allows visitors to dig for amethyst and other minerals for a fee.

The amethyst forms in solution cavities within basalt flows associated with ancient rift zones. The crystals are typically small, measuring just a few centimeters, though large clusters and geodes over 20 cm across have been found. The color ranges from pale to deep purple and transparent to translucent. Maine amethyst is prized for its dark saturated color.

Whether you live near one of these deposits or are planning a rockhounding vacation, grab your tools, head out and explore these premier amethyst sources across the United States! With some effort and luck, you may uncover your own brilliant purple amethyst treasure.