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Aussie River Gems - A Prospectors Guide

Posted 10/03/2019 in Things to do

Hahnrock, Tooheys Agate, Crownite, Carltonine, Cooperstone and Smoky Fostersite are just a few of the pretty Australian creek-worn gems which often turn up in your classifier while prospecting. At first glance you may suppose you've scored yourself a nice piece of tourmaline or a garnet, but on closer inspection you find it's just one of these suckers instead. 

These Aussie gems are generally either brown or green and can be tricky to distinguish from one another unless they are still in their raw, intact form (or near enough to it). Here we have a fragment of common Carltonine pulled out of the creek.

A large piece of Carltonine, freshly pulled from the creek.

Carltonine is an inexpensive gem, a complete set of six generally only fetches around $21.50 AUD and this is only if they are pure and unshattered. Carltonine in its raw form is easily recognised and is one of Australia's most common river gems:

Carltonine in its raw form.

Another commonly found gem is Cascadeline, the green gemstone in the image below.

Cascadeline is often green in colour and can be found in creeks throughout the Victorian Goldfields

Cascadeline, like many of these gems, is typically found downstream from camping and recreation areas. This gem comes in multiple varieties but when pure and unbroken it commonly looks something like this:

Cascadeline in its pure form.

Australian river gems range widely in value. One of the rarest and most expensive is known as the Crownite Ambassadoraz, a dark and impressive gemstone.

A beautiful and rare Crownite Ambassadoraz specimen.

Crownite Ambassadoraz is extremely rare to find while out prospecting. One piece, if pure and intact, can fetch a whopping $95.99 AUD. Here is the Crownite Ambassadoraz in its raw form:

Crownite Ambassadoraz in its raw, intact form.

You must be careful while out prospecting in creeks, as these gems only gain their smooth appearance after many years in the water. The less time they spend in the water the sharper they will be, so watch your step! 

Watch you don't step on one of these gems in the creek, they can be very sharp when fresh from the source.

Current market price for various Australian river gems (single specimen, pure and intact)
  • Boagsot $4.89
  • Carltonine $4.09
  • Cascadeline $3.89
  • Cooperstone $4.69
  • Crownite $4.89
  • Crownite Ambassadoraz $95.99
  • Hahnrock $3.59
  • Jamesquirezide $4.99
  • Smoky Fostersite $3.59
  • Tooheys Agate $4.09
As you can see, there is not much money to be made in the collection of these gems. You're better off investing your time in rum. Or gold. Probably gold. 

Fossicking guidelines for Australian river gems

There are currently no restrictions on where/how many of these Australian river gems can be fossicked, but it is strongly recommended that you do collect any that you find. Do not return them to the creeks for although the water has worn them into pretty little treasures, they have no natural business being there and have only found their way into Australia's waterways through careless human activity.

Prospectors in general do a fantastic job of cleaning up the bushland and waterways of the Victorian Goldfields. Any rubbish detected is usually taken and binned to avoid the trouble of detecting and digging for it all over again at a later date.

Now, if you are actually seeking real information about prospecting in the Victorian Goldfields (rather than this beer bottle nonsense), check out some of these resources:


Established in 1980, the Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria is a voluntary body created to protect the rights and opportunities of those who wish to prospect, fossick or mine in the State of Victoria, Australia.

You can support the PMAV in their fight to uphold these rights by becoming a member. You'll also gain access to exclusive publications, field days, prospecting tips, discounts and competitions.

Check out the PMAV website for more information.




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