Geodes are absolutely fascinating rocks; they almost always have a surprise inside of them. If you do not know what to look for, you can walk right by a geode, thinking it is just an obscure-shaped rock. Inside every geode, there can be many different elements, but I wondered whether a geode could have gold or diamonds in it?
Typically, geodes do not have gold or diamonds in them. The type of rock formations usually associated with gold is quartz, and with diamonds its kimberlite. Geodes are known to contain gems called Herkimer diamonds, Bristol Diamonds as well as Gold aura quartz, but they are not real gold or diamonds.
Although certain quartz rock deposits have gold, it is different from the quartz crystals commonly found inside geodes. Breaking open a geode is very exciting because there is almost always some fascinating formation inside.
Geodes come in various shapes and sizes, some as small as dove eggs and some larger than a full-grown man. The geodes’ geographic location should indicate what you are likely to find inside, whether it be a Bristol diamond or some Gold aura quartz. Let’s have a look at what you should expect to uncover inside a geode…
What Gems Can Be Found Inside Geodes?
Although it is almost impossible to determine what exactly you will find inside a geode, going by location and country, you can get a pretty good indication of what you will likely encounter. The outside of the geode is usually quite dull and not colorful at all. Here is a list of gems you could expect to find inside a geode;
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- Amethyst crystal (purple)
- Clear quartz crystal
- Calcite crystal
- Celestite and Dolomite
- Bristol and Herkimer diamonds
- Blue gem silica
- Gold aura quartz
Once you have broken open the geode, you can then attempt to identify the contents. There are many markets and online gem stores that sell geode-breaking kits, allowing you to discover what is inside for yourself. Gem trading is prominent in certain countries and specifically geodes due to the incredible treasures they store inside. Some museum-quality geodes are extremely valuable and sell for thousands of dollars.
Where Can You Find Geodes?
Geodes are not distributed worldwide, and there are a few countries that have deposits containing geodes. Most commonly, they will be found in limestone-rich areas, deserts, riverbeds, and volcanic ash beds. If you were to explore these areas, you are most likely to have success. Countries that are known for geode deposits are:
- The USA – Nevada/ Arizona / California and Iowa are the most prolific, but they are located in other states.
- Brazil – In the Rio Grande do Sul province.
- Uruguay – In the Artigas province.
- Mexico – In Chihuahua area.
- Madagascar – In the Majunga province.
Limestone deposits can typically be found in warm water areas. Their blue-grey or tan-colored stone identifies them. You might end up having to dig a little on the river banks to locate a geode. They always have bumpy, lumpy textures and resembles cauliflower heads. Usually, they have oval shapes or round and do not have very sharp edges.
A geode may appear very heavy, but it is generally relatively light since it is hollow inside. If you shake it, you might hear a noise if there is a loose crystal inside.
Do All Geodes Have A Gem Inside Them?
Finding a real gem inside a geode is very rare; the main semi-precious stones you can find inside a geode are usually purple amethyst. The rock formations around them are more likely to have vugs and voids where crystals can grow. That is where you are more likely to find precious stones such as tanzanite, emerald, garnet, aquamarine, and rubies.
While I lived in Uruguay, land of the largest Amethyst geode, I was fortunate to find a rare Enhydro agate or a geode with water trapped inside it. There are rock and gem markets all over that have incredible geodes on display. While amethyst-containing is the most valuable geode, another valuable geode containing black calcite is highly sought after and precious.
There are reports of silver being found inside geodes; this would be possible in areas where there is volcanic rock, which is where silver is typically found. Not all geodes will contain anything of value, but they always have some form of crystal or mineral deposit inside. For some, that is a gem on its own.
What Is A Bristol Diamond?
A Bristol diamond is a type of quartz found in geodes in the dolomite-rich areas of Avon Gorge in England. They are not natural diamonds but a novelty to those who collect geodes.
What Is A Herkimer Diamond?
Herkimer diamonds are double terminated pieces of quartz crystals typically found in dolomite formations in Herkimer County. They are called diamonds because of their clarity and shape.
How Do You Open A Geode To See What Is Inside?
Upon discovering a geode in its natural location or buying a closed geode from a gem fair, you might want to open it up to see what is inside? You can use several methods to break open a geode without hurting yourself or smashing the rock into pieces. The splitting method you choose will depend on the size of the geode.
Things you might need to Open a Geode
- Gloves – To protect your hands from injury.
- Goggles – to protect your eyes from shards
- Hammer and chisel
- Plumbers pipe cutter
- Carpenters vice or Vice grip – mounted onto a bench for stability.
- Diamond saw – only if you are planning to cut many geodes.
How To Cut The Geode Using The Diamond Saw
Take the geode you want to cut open and secure it inside the carpenter’s vice or vice grip. Try not to tighten it too much, as this could crush the geode. Carefully begin to saw in the middle of the geode with even back and forth motions until you are through the bottom. Holding the geode, release the grip of the vice and remove the geode. You can now separate it to see what is inside.
How To Open The Geode Using The Plumbers Pipe Cutter
A plumbing pipe-cutter is a fantastic tool to have if you are serious about collecting geodes. These are tough tools used when homes had cast-iron pipes, and plumbers could cut these rigid pipes with this cutter. It uses a bicycle-type chain with links on it and has round rollers made from carbide inside, and they have sharp edges used for cutting.
It has two long handles at the top, and you can wrap the chain around the geode, proceed to squeeze the handles together until it snaps the geode in half. This tool can break open large-sized geodes and is best operated by two people. This tool is not that easy to find, so if you see one, snap it up. You will certainly see this kind of device used at gem fairs where geodes are cut open, much to bystanders’ delight.
How To Cut Open The Geode Using A Hammer & Chisel
If you are not planning to collect many geodes or don’t have access to the tools mentioned above, you can use a basic iron chisel and a strong hammer. Secure the geode as best as possible and proceed by placing the chisel in an indentation on the geode. Make sure you keep it as centered as possible and start to hit the chisel.
Rotate the geode and do this all around the center until you see a groove forming. You can now give a couple of hard hits onto the chisel until it cracks open. Be patient with the process to ensure you do not crush the geode and damage it.
Although geodes do not contain real gold or natural diamonds, they have some of the most amazing crystals and other minerals you can imagine. Only very seldom have certain geodes been known to contain copper and silver. The gold that some geodes do have is almost a fool’s gold akin to the alchemist stone and not worth a great deal of money.
Geodes are very valuable when they have amethyst inside and can sell for thousands of dollars. Common geodes are invaluable to the collectors because each one is different, and not one formation will be similar to another.
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