Prospecting Tips and Hints

Last year I published an article How to Find Crystals that detailed some of the techniques I use and general prospecting tips, hoping to give several tips and hints to aid in expediting the learning curve of digging crystals.  I’ve gotten some great feedback from that article and appreciate all the comments.


One of the things I tried to cover in that blog posting was what to look for on the surface and how to know if you are in a good spot and should continue digging, or bury the hole and continue the prospecting elsewhere.  I knew it would be difficult to share that experience, as I’m still learning myself and it’s one of those things you can read about all day long but you don’t “get it” until you actually can see and experience how it is done.  The pictures and text in that article were helpful I feel; but it still left me with questions after reading it–knowing that I had a plan for this year’s prospecting trips…

That blog posting was just the first of many postings I plan to do sharing what I’ve figured out on finding pegmatite crystals.  I was able to get out digging late this spring and my goal was to take some video while I was on the hunt, hopefully showing what I look for on the surface and what I look for as I follow the pegmatite trail to the crystals (assuming I find crystals, which many times I don’t)!  This video hopefully will provide some tips and hints of what works for me in the toughest part of the process, the initial prospecting and test holes.

Unfortunately due to leaving the camera in the sun too long, the pocket extraction video was corrupt, but the good stuff from a prospecting perspective was saved showing progress as I was hunting for the pocket.  You’ll see that demonstrated in the video below.

I would love your feedback, questions and suggestions.  I plan to do other videos showing different techniques.

The small crystal pocket I eventually hit I’m calling the OneTwo.  It was mainly Microcline crystals, most were Carlsbad twinned!  On these, once cleaned up, opposite faces had a blue tint of Amazonite to them; not as deep of green color as you find elsewhere in the region, but still really nice and a lot of fun.  The smokey quartz I found all had secondary coatings of a darker colored quartz which will be very difficult to remove.

Interesting cluster of Amazonite / Microcline joined at a ~45 degree angle.
Amazonite Carsbad Twin
Carlsbad twinned Amazonite (light blue) with a small amount of cleavelandite sprays.
Carlsbad Amazonite
Nice little pair of Carlsbad twinned Amazonite with a bit of cleavelandite.
These are the largest crystals from the pocket, each about 3.5 inches tall. They had to be repaired as they came out in 3 pieces, the cap to the larger crystal was cleaved off and the two crystals had been separated and were found about a foot from each other in the pocket.
smokey quartz
Smoky Quartz showing the secondary quartz growth. These have been soaked in a heated chemical bath for several weeks and look at lot better than they originally did; but this is as far as I will clean them as the quartz underneath is not worth the effort.
Some of the nicer twinned amazonites from the OneTwo pocket.
Smoky Quartz
Examples of the coated smoky quartz from the OneTwo. The larger crystals are nearly 3 inches long.  There were mostly microcline crystals in the pocket; which is opposite of what I typically find in the region.


  1. Nice video! Too bad about the part that got garbled. Those twins are interesting showing different rotation angles. I would certainly dig deeper and around that location since you have twins and some color. I hope you find that the emails I sent you regarding digging and Taylor Mountain prove to useful for you.


    1. Thanks James. Yes, I got the info on Taylor Mtn, not sure if I will get up there this year or not, but I really appreciate the info. And on the digging info, I appreciate that too! Loved the pictures!

  2. Congrats on your recent find. I will soon be going up to Devil’s Head with a friend for a few days. I’m sure this info, combined with other tips I have learned from your site will come to great use! Thank you for sharing this knowledge.

  3. Loved the follow up post. I’m always a sucker for tips on prospecting so if you ever feel like writing more on this topic, please do. I end up on your site a lot!

    Would it be possible to get more zoomed out pics/videos of some of your dig spots? This video was great because you showed the initial float. Like you said, the hardest part is initial prospecting and picking a spot to dig. And everyone seems to be sharing videos zoomed in on the dirt after they are already into their dig!

    I have a hard time envisioning how a peg vein ‘runs through the hillside’ or into the ground. On many occasions I have found huge chunks of peg (boulder sized) with extremely large grains of quartz/feldspar. Usually at the bottom of a hill. I try to follow the source up the hill, but I can never seem to make sense of the landscape. All my digs have come up empty… never even really found a good peg vein yet. Anyways, some zoomed out shots would be interesting. Thanks!

    1. Hi Blake. There isn’t much signs of organization on the hillsides where I dig, so zoomed out shots of what I am finding is not overly helpful. The best thing to probably do is find other digs and follow that peg along the hillside by digging test holes what appears to be aligned with how it is trending. That is how I often find new spots to dig. Other times its simply test holes and luck. Once in a while it pays off. Happy prospecting!

  4. I’ve stumbled upon a very large chunk of quartz. It looks to have been mined already. There are 6 holes around it that have been filled and those holes have sunken a good bit. A section protrudes from the ground. I can tell it is large and much under ground by the distance between the trees that have quartz crumbles around the bottom of them. So far I’ve found three types of quartz Smokey, rose and milky. I’ve found pieces that look to have had crystals broken from it.
    My find is 80 miles from Asheville nc. Any information or guidance to where to begin will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

    1. Howdy. Sounds very interesting. I have not had experience with this large of rock. I have seen crystals grow in cavities in solid rock, but busting rock is a lot of effort. Check for veins or seams and follow those.

      Sounds like this is not where it once was, the holes may have been where it was a fixed to s ok me thing to pull it out? I would look for areas around that may be worth digging as there could be other veins. Be curious of what you find. Good luck!

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