Finding the top 5 gems

Just a little west of the Atherton Tablelands on the Savannah Way are soils rich with some of the world’s most stunning and sought after gemstones. It is here you will find true natural clear blue topaz, aquamarines and if you are very lucky, members of the quartz family including citrine, smoky quartz and clear quartz. 

So where and how do you start digging? Fossicking for gemstones and gold is carried out in designated fossicking areas. To find out where these are you need to see the people at your accredited Visitor Information Centre to ensure you are in the right spot and have the correct licences.

Popular areas for gold fossicking include Flat Creek, Western Creek and Dells Hole. Gemstone areas include O’Brien’s Creek for topaz, aquamarine and quartz, Agate Creek for agates, thunder-eggs and quartz, and Lava Plains for sapphires.

You can seek expert advice from Mt Surprise Gems, where you have the option of sieving through a bucket of gem bearing ‘wash’ at the shop or ‘going it alone’, where they will issue a licence for a small fee, hire out the necessary equipment and explain how to get there with a map of the gemfields.

They will also show you examples of the gemstones in the field so you get a good idea of what to look for.

It is a good fun day for all the family. All the fossicking areas in the region are on gravel roads.

For more information visit  www.cairnsunlimitedcomterrestrialgeorgetown or www.thegemden.com.au