Gemstones form under conditions of high pressure and temperatures as minerals within the rocks or form independent minerals and crystals as products of hydrothermal processes at relatively low temperatures. As they form as rock derivate or accessory mineral, the occurrence of a gemstone depends on the rock structure, i.e. the chemical composition of a rock defines which gemstones can potentially be formed. Minerals and gemstones in rocks are formed when magma or molten rock begins to cool when some elements separate from the main mass and form crystals or separate entities. As for creeks, the material that forms the river bed consists of the surrounding material, and material that has been brought by water from the upstream. That means pebbles in creeks resemble the surrounding geology.

Since these glittering gemstones were uncovered from the earth in 1871 for the first time, the world has attempted to dig up diamonds to amass small and large fortunes for large companies and individual prospectors alike. 

When it comes to gemstones, you may think of them as only found in far-off lands or grown in jewellery laboratories. But even if you don’t see them on the surface, some common gemstones may be sitting right in your backyard.

How Old Are The Oldest Diamonds?

To sum things up in a nutshell, the oldest diamonds are pretty ancient. The oldest-known gems date back between one to 3.5 billion years. However, some may argue that stashes of the ancient stones are closer to 4.5 billion years old. 

Yet despite their long-standing occupancy in the earth, they were only discovered by humans much, much later. One of the reasons for this is that the mineral is buried deep underground and can require intensive excavation. 

Another is that unpolished and uncut diamonds’ nondescript appearance means they’re commonly mistaken for glass or quartz. 

How Is A Diamond Formed?

Interestingly, diamonds are formed out of carbon, which is a chemical element found in the earth. How long does it take to make a diamond? Scientists aren’t sure – one thing we do know is that diamonds have sat in the ground for approximately 3.3 billion years, which is nearly as old as the earth itself. 

Diamonds were created when carbon was exposed to extreme heat and pressure, hundreds of kilometres beneath the earth’s surface. 

Due to the intense pressure that carbon was exposed to, something like 50 000 more than the atmosphere, carbon atoms bonded together tightly to create diamond crystals. Due to this pressure and the particles’ strong bonding, diamonds are one of the earth’s hardest minerals, making them virtually indestructible. 

Common Gemstones in Backyard

Agate

This gemstone is known for its reddish or brown colouring and the marbled appearance of its surface. This is the most common colour (though it can be found in other hues such as green) that you’ll likely find in your backyard. If you live in the Western United States, you’re most likely to run across Agate in your backyard. If you live near old lava beds, you also have a higher chance of finding Agate nearby.

Garnet

Garnet is another gemstone with ancient roots. It was popular in Ancient Rome and has been found in Egyptian burial sites. Garnets are a group of minerals. The colour most commonly associated with garnets is dark red, but you can find garnets in orange, yellow, pink, and black.

Some common varieties of garnets include almandine, pyrope, and rhodolite. Almandine is the deep red colour and is the type most often used in jewellery. Spessartite is an orange form of garnet. Garnets are relatively affordable and are popular in jewellery.

The hardness of garnets varies depending on the type of garnet. Still, it is hard enough to be considered a good abrasive, and it has several industrial uses, including cutting steel. They can be found in Arizona, North Carolina, California, Utah, Montana, Colorado, and Idaho.

Jade

There are a few ways to ensure that your supposed Jade gemstone is legitimate. The first is to look for any flaws. While this may seem counterintuitive, flaws in the colour or texture, especially vein-like impurities when looked at under the microscope, could indicate a natural stone. If you take your Jade to the microscope and see any bubbles, though, it’s likely not authentic.

Jade is a stone that is most commonly green, although it can come in other colours like purple and white. Jade is two different minerals: nephrite and jadeite. Since ancient times, Jade has been used in jewellery and sculptures and is often used to make jewellery beads. It was also used as a tool in ancient times. In its rough form, it has a dull, greenish colour. It’s typically found in metamorphic rocks and can be found in California, Washington, and Wyoming.

Malachite

This is a dark green gemstone with rings, giving it a distinctive appearance. Although it isn’t the most durable gemstone, it is still popular and is considered by some to have healing properties. It usually forms within the limestone. It is often used to make beads and is used to make ornate carvings and, until the 16th century, it was often used as a pigment for painting. In the United States, it is most commonly found in Arizona.

Obsidian

Obsidian is an igneous rock. It forms when molten rock cools and is technically a mineraloid. It has a glass-like appearance and is often found above the Earth’s surface. Obsidian is usually associated with the colour black, but it can come in other colours as well, including green and brown. Stone Age cultures used it as a cutting tool.

Today, obsidian is sometimes used as a surgical cutting tool. It is also popular in jewellery and can be shaped into gemstone beads. It’s not the most durable stone, so it’s most often used in pendants and earrings. It can be found in Arizona, Nevada, California, Idaho, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, and Wyoming.

Opal

Opal is a form of silica, and precious opal has an iridescent quality that makes it appealing. Some rare opals can be more valuable than diamonds. It comes in a variety of colours, including white, black, purple, pink, brown, and green. Black opals are the most desired form of opal. White opals and fire opals are also popular. They are often used in jewellery, and common opals can also be used to carve figures.

Opals in the rough have an iridescent quality, making them relatively easy to find. It can be found in Idaho, California, Oregon, and Nevada, and it is the birthstone for those born in October.

Peridot

Peridot is the gemstone version of the mineral olivine. It is usually found in green colour variations due to the amount of iron in the olivine. Olivine is usually found in igneous rocks. As a gemstone, the peridot is relatively soft. It is easy to scratch and can burst under pressure. It’s relatively affordable and is popular in beads, necklaces, and bracelets. Peridot can be found in Arizona, Hawaii, and Colorado, and olivine in the rough has a distinctive green colour.

Quartz

Quartz is one of the easiest materials to find. Amethyst, agate, carnelian, and citrine are some gemstone varieties of quartz. Pure quartz is colourless, and impurities in the quartz are what can give it the vibrant colours you find in gemstones. Quartz is typically affordable and can be cut into jewellery as well as formed into spheres and sculptures. Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz, and it’s considered the most valuable. You can find amethyst in colorado, Arizona, Maine, North Carolina, and several other states.

Agate is a form of chalcedony, which is a variety of quartz. Agate isn’t the most attractive gemstone in its natural state. Once it’s polished, though, it is colourful and can be found in white, blue, red, purple, and more. Slabs of agate are sometimes used for decoration, and they are also perfect for beads and other jewellery pieces. You can find agate in Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico, Michigan, and other states.

Topaz

Topaz is a hard gemstone that comes in a variety of colours. It’s relatively inexpensive and can be found in large crystals. It’s one of the hardest minerals and forms inside igneous rocks. It can be found in streams as well. Natural topaz is lightly coloured, and colourless topaz is sometimes used as a diamond simulant. Topaz is used in everything from earrings to pendants. Topaz is most commonly found in the western United States and is the official gemstone of Utah.

Tourmaline

Tourmaline is a colourful gemstone that occurs in a variety of colours. Tourmaline refers to a group of related minerals, and prices for tourmaline vary depending on the gemstone’s colour and size.

Commonly found in Maine and California, Tourmaline is a gemstone that can be easily confused with more valuable gems. It comes in a variety of colours and isn’t the most valuable of stone, but can still be used in jewellery as an affordable alternative to other gemstones. With Tourmaline, you’ll notice the colour seems to change slightly depending on the angle you look at it. It’s opaque and shiny in its natural state, and black tourmaline is particularly distinctive.

You can find multi-coloured tourmalines as well, and the colour of tourmaline may vary depending on the light and viewing angle. Black tourmaline is particularly distinctive, with a dark, opaque, shiny finish. Tourmaline can be used in bracelets and necklaces, and large stones can be carved into unique shapes. In the United States, tourmaline is most commonly found in California and Maine. It’s easy to confuse coloured tourmaline with other gemstones, but you can have your find confirmed by a gemologist.

Turquoise

Turquoise has been used for thousands of years for jewellery, tools, and sculptures. Its distinctive colour is one of the reasons for its popularity. It is most commonly found in the southwestern United States. It is often used to make beads and other small jewellery pieces.

It’s also very porous, so don’t clean it with anything other than water if you do find it. It is also sensitive to sunlight and should be properly stored. Turquoise in the rough has the same colour as the finished gemstone.

Tools And Methods

While you might get lucky and find a gemstone lying on the ground, others may require a little more effort to remove. Here’re some basic tools you might need:

  • Pickaxe to chip away at a rock or compact dirt.
  • Trowel or Shovel (on standby) to dig deeper into the soil.
  • Classifier for removing small gems (commonly used in finding gold). You may be like this lady and find a group of different-sized gemstones while digging in your garden. To sift out the smaller gemstone pieces from the larger stones and unwanted debris, you’ll probably want a classifier. Just be sure to sift above a large box or bucket so that you don’t lose any potentially small, but valuable pieces.
  • Tweezers. These can be used to pick out gems that may be hard to get with your fingers.

Where to Look

If you want to find gems within your property, you must first learn the places where you can find them. Following are some of the areas where gemstones can be discovered:

Sedimentary Rocks- Some of the common gems found in sedimentary rocks are cat’s eye, rhodochrosite and opal. Sedimentary rock is produced when organic matter is trapped within mud or clay. While the organic matter decays, sediments and minerals settle around it.

Some of the common gems found in sedimentary rocks are cat’s eye, rhodochrosite and opal. Sedimentary rock is produced when organic matter is trapped within mud or clay. While the organic matter decays, sediments and minerals settle around it. Metamorphic Rocks- If you have a look at metamorphic rocks, you will find a large number of gemstones. These gemstones include garnet, olivine, staurolite and topaz. The process of transformation is called metamorphism. Metamorphic rocks can be found in the interiors of mountains. The cause of metamorphism is the intense heat and pressure due to collisions between tectonic plates.

If you have a look at metamorphic rocks, you will find a large number of gemstones. These gemstones include garnet, olivine, staurolite and topaz. The process of transformation is called metamorphism. Metamorphic rocks can be found in the interiors of mountains. The cause of metamorphism is the intense heat and pressure due to collisions between tectonic plates. Igneous Rocks- Commonly found in volcanic regions, these rocks can provide gemstones such as aquamarine, axinite, peridot, garnet, ruby and zircon. Igneous rocks are formed when the molten (or liquid) rock cools down and solidifies. Common examples of this include magma and lava.

How Do You Know If You Found A Diamond?

Finding real diamonds is often attributed to sheer luck; a recent story of a 14-year-old boy finding brown diamonds at The Crater Of Diamonds State Park worth 15 thousand dollars is a testament to this.

However, it would help if you also had a keen eye because rough, uncut diamonds don’t look similar to the polished gems advertised. If you aren’t sure if you’ve found diamonds, there are several diamond tests you can utilise. 

Real Diamonds Shimmer

Do real diamonds sparkle in the dark? While real diamonds don’t sparkle in the dark (they need light for that to happen), they do emit a brilliant shine under the right circumstances. 

Place the rock against other shiny rocks, if yours outshines the other, then congratulations – you’ve uncovered a glittering diamond!

Rough Diamonds Are Transparent But Not Entirely Translucent

Can you see through a real diamond? If the object is transparent, then you’ve accidentally picked up glass instead or may have purchased a fake.

Diamond Strength 

How strong is a diamond? It comprises hard and durable components where only another diamond can cut through it and leave marks. 

Can real diamonds cut through glass, though? Yes, although any number of substances stronger than glass can cut through glass. So don’t use its toughness as the primary indicator because you may not necessarily have found glass, but something that looks similar, like quartz, for example. 

Repels Water

Drip water over the stone; if it runs off the surface, then you could have a real diamond on your hands.

Rounded Edges

Does the stone you found resemble a jelly bean shape-wise? Rough diamonds have rounded edges, indented with tiny triangles.

If what you’ve found has jagged borders, it’s probably not a diamond.

When it comes to gemstones, you may think of them as only found in far-off lands or grown in jewellery laboratories. Inside or outside, your backyard is a beautiful place to relax and spend time, and it only takes a small bit of effort to create that relaxing atmosphere. But even if you don’t see them on the surface, some common gemstones may be sitting right in your backyard. Who knows what gems are just right beneath your feet!

Scroll to Top