Are There Valuable Rocks in Your Backyard? How to Find Them

Collecting rocks – also known as rockhounding – is a pastime that has been around for centuries. As children, we all dug for rocks at some point in hopes of finding a diamond. While this may have seemed like a fantasy back then, finding valuable rocks in your backyard is entirely possible. However, if you don’t know what a valuable rock is, then this is a fruitless endeavor.

Understanding what makes a rock valuable is important before you even start looking for valuable rocks. In this article, you’ll learn how to find valuable rocks in your backyard and the different types of rocks you might find in your backyard.

Let’s jump right in!

Types of Rocks You Might Find In Your Backyard

Your backyard is full of various rocks – whether you can see them or not. The question is whether your backyard is full of valuable rocks.

The type of rocks you find in your backyard largely depends on where you live. If you live in the desert, you may have a higher chance of finding stones such as amethyst, copper, and even diamonds. However, if you live a little more north, you’re more likely to find limestone or even fossils in your flower beds or landscaping.

The good news is that no matter where you live, there’s a chance that you might find interesting rocks that carry some value. To help you identify the different types of valuable rocks, let’s look at some rocks you might find in your backyard.


Jade is a valuable rock, but you may be surprised to learn how prevalent it is across North America.

Jade is one of the rocks you’re most likely to find in your backyard, and it could be worth quite a bit. However, jade often goes overlooked, especially with other similarly colored stones with a greenish hue.

That said, while you’re unlikely to find a large chunk of jade just lying around in your backyard, there’s a chance that you may come across a small stone. Keep your eyes peeled!

Natural jade rock


Quartz is another common rock. In fact, it’s so common that chances are you’ve come across quartz before without even realizing it.

You may be most familiar with quartz crystal as a material used for countertops and other functions. However, quartz is a valuable stone that could be worth something if you find it.

You can recognize quartz crystal by its six sides and elongated shape. Depending on your area, they can also be found as clusters. You may also find sapphire, a type of quartz that is usually blue.

Quartz doesn’t occur everywhere, with New York, California, and Arkansas having some of the highest concentrations of the rock crystal. Before you start digging, make sure you can find quartz in your area. It may be worth a little money if you’re lucky enough to come across some quartz.

Pure quartz crystal


Agate is a classic gemstone that can be commonly found in backyards. While this means that it isn’t as valuable as other types of rocks, agate is still a great find that does carry some value.

The tricky part about agate is that it has ever-different characteristics and doesn’t come in just one color, which makes it challenging to identify. 

However, the one constant characteristic of agate is its bands of crystallized mosses which can result in a range of styles, shades, and colors.

If you’re looking to identify agate in your backyard, pay attention to these specific traits:

  • Waxy texture
  • Small rounded nodules
  • Irregular bumps
Beautiful agate rock

Now that you know what types of rocks may lurk on your property, let’s discuss how to find valuable rocks in your backyard.

How to Find Valuable Rocks in Your Backyard

Finding valuable rocks in your backyard takes some preparation. However, with the right tools and an idea of what you’re looking for, there’s a chance that you may be successful and find something valuable.

To start, you should have the following tools on hand:

  • Shovel
  • Rock hammer
  • Bucket to carry your rocks
  • Magnifying glass
  • Gloves

To help you out, here are some tips on how to find valuable rocks in your backyard. 

Scope out the scene

The first step in searching for valuable rocks is to start by checking out your backyard. Take a slow and careful walk around to try and spot unique and colorful rocks. If you see something interesting, pick it up and examine it closely.

Here’s a bonus tip: If you recently got some work done in your backyard, whether that be a new pool installation or a new garden, you should look for valuable rocks once the job is done. Areas with recent excavation have the hard work done for you and reveal hidden precious gems that were previously buried.

Check around trees and plants

If you have lots of trees in your backyard, you may find rocks that have been exposed to erosion. These are the types of rocks that are more likely to be unique and potentially valuable as they’ve been worn down by the elements.

If you have a water source in your backyard, such as living off of a lake, you may hit the jackpot. Water helps break down rocks and may expose hidden gems more easily.

Don’t be afraid to dig

While you don’t want to frantically dig up your backyard and ruin it to find a gem, it’s a good idea to have a shovel ready to dig up select places where you suspect valuable rocks may be.

One of the most significant indicators is finding one valuable stone and hoping to find others in the same spot. When this occurs, you should dig up that spot to see if you find other similar rocks. However, don’t dig too far – at some point, it isn’t worth having a giant hole in your backyard which may also cause unevenness. 

Use a metal detector

You can find valuable rocks by simply taking a look in your backyard; but, if you want extra help, consider using a metal detector.

A metal detector will reveal things that you would have never found otherwise. You may be surprised by what you can find in your backyard!

Valuable Rock in Your Backyard FAQ

How do I know if a rock I found is valuable?

To determine whether a specimen you found is valuable, you must look at all of the physical qualities of the rock, including:

  • Color
  • Shape
  • Transparency
  • Size
  • Density
  • Weight
  • Structure

Their rarity and history will also play into how valuable a rock is. Larger rocks are also typically worth more than smaller ones. To learn how valuable it can be, it’s a good idea to take your rock to a specialist with the expertise to analyze it properly.

What types of rocks are found in backyards?

Many different kinds of rocks can be found in your backyard, with some being rarer than others. There are three main categories of rocks. These rocks include:

  • Igneous rock, such as granite, diabase, basalt, diorite, obsidian, gabbro, pumice, scoria, and rhyolite
  • Sedimentary rock, such as sandstone, limestone, shale, conglomerate, and breccia
  • Metamorphic rock, such as marble, quartzite, gneiss, schist, and slate

What kind of rocks have gems in them?

Gems can generally be found in any type of rock. However, they are most likely to be found in igneous rock. So if your goal is to find a gemstone, it’s a good idea to search for igneous rock!

The Takeaway: Time to Go Digging!

Searching and collecting rocks does not need to stay in your childhood. Rockhounding can be a fun and great way to get you outdoors. You can even do it with your kids for some quality time.

Searching for valuable rocks in your backyard requires patience and perseverance. However, if you keep at it, you may eventually stumble across something truly unique. Even if you take a rock to your appraiser and they say it isn’t worth anything, you may still want to keep it for your own collection and admire your hard work.


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