Quartz is used in healing, home decor, and jewelry. They look beautiful, and wherever there is beauty, there is human interest in finding, appreciating, and commodifying it. Whether you’re an aspiring professional rockhound or a hobbyist collecting quartz for personal possession, you have plenty of options in Oregon.
You can find Quartz in Oregon if you visit Quartzville Creek in Linn County and Bear Creek in Jackson County. Specific varieties of quartz like jaspers, agates, and thundereggs can be found in water bodies across Oregon’s Wasco, Malheur, Wheeler, Jefferson, and Crook counties.
This article will teach you all you need to know before embarking on a quartz hunt in Oregon, including the type of quartz found in different counties and their uses. You will also discover if you can hunt for crystals without a license and what you cannot harvest while rockhounding in Oregon. But first, let’s look are the different places where you can find quartz in Oregon.
Where To Find Quartz In Oregon – 8 Best Places
1. Quartzville Creek, Linn County
Nestled in the captivating wilderness of Linn County, Quartzville Creek is a scenic 12-mile corridor running along a national wild and scenic river. Named after its abundance of quartz crystals, Quartzville Creek is a popular rockhounding site.
You can find gold, agate, and quartz crystals of various sizes at this location (as well as agates, Jaspers, and even petrified wood) but what truly sets Quartzville Creek apart is its plentiful deposits of milky, smoky, and clear quartz crystals that stud its banks and riverbed.
All it takes is a keen eye, a few simple tools such as a shovel, a screen, and a bucket, and a good measure of patience to uncover these hidden geologic gems.
2. Calapooia River, Linn County
Also located in Linn County is the Calapooia River, which boasts an abundant supply of agates.
While agates aren’t the type of quartz that typically comes to mind when hearing “quartz,” they do fall into the category of a specific variety of quartz.
The likelihood of finding silica quartz is lower here, but if you’re interested in jaspers and agates, this river is worth checking out.
3. Bear Creek, Jackson County
Bear Creek got its name from the once-present bear population in the area. With that non-existent, this Jackson County creek is relatively safe for visitors. And one of the reasons to visit it is the silica quartz, jaspers, and agates found in its waters and along its shores.
4. Maury Mountains, Crook County
Maury Mountains are located in the Ochoco National Forest in Crook County.
While mainstream quartz is hard to find here, you can see moss agate, which is technically quartz. However, it looks different from the silica crystals you’re familiar with.
Moss agate looks like a precious stone with layers of green color in it, and one way to describe its appearance is “green resin art on a white marble canvas.”
5. Whistler Springs, Crook County
Also located in the Ochoco National Forest is Whistler Springs. You can find multiple thunder eggs in a single trip to Whistler Springs.
These “eggs” are opaque rocks with an exposed quartz crystal core. They are also considered quartz in a technical sense.
6. White Fir Springs, Crook County
If the above description of thundereggs fascinates you, you may also check out the White Fir Springs (rockhounds also frequent them for their thunderegg abundance).
Thundereggs can sell for far higher prices than silica quartz, so if you’re looking to harvest quartz for sale, don’t overlook White Fit Springs.
7. White Rock Springs, Crook County
Since thunder eggs can fetch anywhere between a few dollars and $300 in the open market, depending entirely on their size, a rockhound doesn’t just visit one spot to harvest them.
This quartz is also found in White Rock Springs in Ochoco National Forest. If you visit the Ochoco National Forest, check out all the springs and water bodies within your reach.
8. The South Coast, Oregon
The south Oregon coast is open to the public in specific areas, while private development cuts off access to other sites.
Everything from silica quartz to jasper, from petrified wood to serpentine, washes onto the south coast beaches in Oregon.
Types Of Quartz In Oregon (That Are Commonly Found)
Quartz isn’t just plain silica crystals that the general public understands them to be. Various geological and environmental conditions result in a wider variety of quartz.
Here are the different types you’ll find in Oregon.
Agates are known for their multilayered appearance. They can be used in jewelry and home decor.
You have the highest odds of finding agates on Oregon beaches as they wash up with a predictable frequency. You know you have spotted agate quartz when you see a crystalline stone that resembles resin art.
Jaspers are red quartz, often rounded and polished to smoothen their surface curvature further. They are commonly used in finger rings.
Eastern Oregon is the best place to find this variety of quartz. You can find jaspers in Malheur County, Sherman County, Deschutes River, and the Willamette Valley.
3. Thundereggs (“Geode”)
The state rock of Oregon, a Thunderegg, is a particular type of quartz that is encapsulated in an egg-like silica formation.
It features an exposed crystalline heart with an opaque rockesque exterior and looks like thunder caught in a stone.
You can find thundereggs in Wasco County, Malheur County, Wheeler County, Jefferson County, and Crook County.
4. Silica Quartz
These are quartz that comes to mind when you hear the word “quartz.”
With sufficient purity, these quartz become crystal clear if not white. They don’t require as much polishing as their impure alternatives.
Most rock hunters simply call them quartz, often considered the main type of quartz by novice rockhounds. The clear quartz that is crystalline and sharp-edged stands apart from varieties like jaspers and agates.
Things to know before you start hunting for Quartz in Oregon
Now that you know where to find quartz and which variations of quartz you’ll find along the way, let’s go over a few things worth keeping in mind:
- You don’t need a crystal-hunting license – No license is required for hobbyist rock and crystal hunters. However, you need to rockhound only in areas open to the public.
- Know where you can’t rockhound – Some crystal or mineral-rich areas might be open for visitors but not for rockhounding. The Agate Lake in Jackson County is a great example of an excellent spot to visit as long as you don’t plan to rockhound. Taking any crystal or rock from the lake shores or water is not allowed.
- You cannot harvest anything with a bone – If you find fish or dinosaur remains, you might get a cool selfie with it but have to report your find to the relevant Forest department immediately. You cannot move your discovery even to take it to the local authorities.
- You cannot harvest pottery bits – Pottery bits can be of historical significance, and if you come across a rock that looks like a human once used it, you should stay clear of it.
- You cannot take any rocks modified by humans – Jewelry from ancient civilizations cannot be collected by rockhounds. If you find a stone that doesn’t look natural, report it to the local authorities or ignore it. Don’t pick stones that seem to have historical significance.
Is Oregon the Best State to Rockhound?
Oregon is a reasonably good state to rockhound, but it isn’t the best, especially for crystal quartz (that award goes to Arkansas). However, the value of quartz isn’t high enough to warrant going outside the state to rockhound.
Is Quartz a Lucrative Market?
Professional quartz miners make less than minimum wage in some states. But these are employees of mines, owners, and contractors.
Rockhounds can make as much money as their trading power and selling abilities allow.
It is generally not a good idea to restrict your rockhounding to one type of quartz or even a single type of rock. But that’s advice for pros, and you get it straight from the horse’s mouth once you apply for a license.
Hobbyist quartz hunters can restrict their hunts to a specific type or even color of quartz.