Where To Find Amethyst in Arizona
Amethyst is actually rather rare in Arizona. Nevertheless, in this state’s rockhounding paradise there are still elusive finds to be made. There is one mine that continues to turn out world-class gems and others with their own unique specimens.
There are also Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands where rockhounds have made quality finds. It’s always possible to find a rare specimen in an unexpected location. But here are some of the more popular sites where you can find amethyst in the state of Arizona.
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1. Four Peaks Arizona Amethyst Mine Tour
If you say amethyst and Arizona in the same sentence, you must mention the Four Peaks mine. The mine’s spectacular dark-colored gemstones put off flashes of red when held to the light. This is a unique characteristic of the “Siberian Red Amethyst” that is found only in this Arizona mine and in the Ural Mountains of Siberia from whence it received its name.
Another unique feature of the Four Peaks Mine is its location. It may well be the only gem mine in the U.S. solely accessed by helicopter. Supplies and miners, as well as any tour visitors, must be flown in, and miners remain for 1-2 weeks at a time. Mining is done by hand and solar panels provide power for light and ventilation. There is no electricity or running water at the site, which is located in the rugged Mazatzal Mountains about 45 miles from Phoenix.
The mine has a rich history. Amethyst Indian arrowheads have been found in the area, and mining operations have been taking place for about 100 years. Although tours are offered, they have been, hopefully just temporarily, suspended during the present COVID-19 crisis.
The mine’s owner, Kurt Cavano, allows visitors to join his miners in search of their own amethyst treasure. If you’re interested in the tour, you can keep a lookout online or contact the mine for current information. There is also information on the Sami Jewelry site about what to expect during this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
2. Yavapai County
Near the now-demolished town of Constellation in Yavapai County, northeast of Wickenburg, are the ruins of several mines. Rockhounds frequent the area to hunt for gold, pyrite, jasper, quartz, and amethyst. Most of the area is now BLM controlled land, but it’s always a good idea to verify before going out.
The area is deserted, so bring everything with you that you will need, including water and food. Always be cautious around old mines. Current mine conditions and access is unknown, but may be obtained through local BLM sources. Surface deposits have been found in the area. Specimens are generally a smokey amethyst with small to medium crystals.
3. Fat Jack Scepter Mine
Located about 60 miles north of Phoenix and west of I-17, the Fat Jack Scepter Mine itself has now been permanently closed, though you may still find it talked about on the internet. However, some lovely specimens have come from the mine in the past, and access may be allowed to the surrounding area under BLM guidelines. Information about the mine itself is also available online, along with photos of amethyst and other quartz crystals found there.
BLM guidelines and limits for collecting are found on their website. The BLM allows up to 25 pounds of specimens to be collected per day. If you are rockhounding in an isolated area, make sure you have planned how you will transport materials from your collection site.
Navajo County is known as a source for agatized wood, especially south of Holbrook, which is located along I-40. Larger agatized tree trunks can contain Amethyst crystals that formed as the wood solidified into stone.
Again, much of this land is BLM property, so rock hunting is permitted. There are no facilities in this area. Come prepared for current conditions, and leave the area as you found it. There are several rock shops in Holbrook that may be able to point you in the right direction for a more productive experience.
5. Woodpecker Mine Area
Located about 65 miles southeast of Phoeniz, The Woodpecker Mine was a silver and lead mine that is now closed and under BLM control. Rock hounds have found amethyst deposits in the area, though the terrain is rough, and a four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended.
Along with the rough terrain, the area is also a free-range area for cattle, so you may get held up a bit by the large bovines. Be patient. Get a map from the local BLM office to help you find the site, and take tools to dig out specimens from the surrounding rock.