Gemstones are rocks or minerals which have been cut and polished. Many gemstones are used for jewelry and the rarer the mineral, the more valuable the gem.
Digging for Gemstones in Idar-Oberstein
After learning about gemstones and polishing techniques at the Idar-Oberstein, Germany Historic Mill, we spent two hours digging for precious stones. The field was fortified with rocks and minerals from around the world, so a successful dig was guaranteed.
Searching for stones in newly turned over ground
Digging with a pick-ax
Just getting started
Sifting dirt for stones
Cleaning stones in the wash basin
Scrubbing off the mud
Two hours of digging is back breaking difficult work whether the field is fortified or not. We were glad this was a field trip and not a regular job. Often stones under the ground all looked alike. They were not obviously good finds until they were cleaned.
Digging in this fortified field was a bit expensive, but was totally worth it. We gained an appreciation of what easy mining is like and began a diversified rock collection. After returning home we spent several afternoons clean rocks and trying to identify them.