All that glitters in the last frontier is not gold. Miners have found diamonds and uranium in the mountains and streams of interior Alaska. Recently emeralds were discovered in Canada’s Yukon Territory in association with geology that extends into Tok, Alaska, according to Dick Swainbank, development specialist with the state Division of Mining and Minerals in Fairbanks. The property owner, True North Gems, has explored the area and found further deposits. Pit-mining is too difficult and expensive for most individuals but, given the rivers and streams crisscrossing the area, you can mine Alaskan emeralds the old-fashioned way.

Things You'll Need

Locate creeks feeding into the Tanana River near the Tok, Alaska area. Select a creek to mine that is on public land located near a road, then travel to the area.

Use your pick to loosen rocks and sand from the floor of the feeder creek. Dig a shovelful and deposit in your bucket.

Move some of your diggings from your bucket to your sluice and shake to separate out the sand. Add creek water as necessary until all sand is sluiced out and only rocks remain. Inspect the rocks carefully for flashes of green emeralds.

Remove all emeralds from the sluice, dump out the remaining rocks, and replenish the sluice from your diggings bucket. Shovel additional sand and rock from creek bed as necessary.