When uncracked, most geodes look like common rounded rocks, making them easy for the average passerby to ignore. But when cracked open, these hollow stones reveal a dazzling display of crystals that can make them exceptionally valuable. But how much are geodes really worth?
Geodes can be worth anywhere from a few bucks to several thousand dollars, depending on their size, the types of crystals they contain, and how they’re cut. The most valuable geodes are large, contain precious minerals, and have precise cuts that expose their interiors.
This article will reveal the values of different types of geodes. If you’d like to sell your collection of geodes (or begin a collection), this guide could be an excellent resource.
What Are Geodes Worth?
Geodes can be worth as little as $1, but they can also sell for $35,000 or more. The value of any given geode depends on its size, its mineralization, and the quality of its cut. Unopened geodes are the most affordable, while large precision-cut specimens are the priciest.
When determining the worth of a geode, it’s important to consider the stone’s size, the types of minerals it contains, and how symmetrically it’s cut. After all, these are the most essential factors impacting a geode’s price.
Valuable Geodes: Factors That Influence Price
Whether you’re a rockhound looking to sell geodes or an interested buyer, it’s important to understand the factors that influence a geode’s value. Otherwise, you could end up selling a geode for far less than its worth or buying one at an inflated price!
The three most significant factors to consider when determining a geode’s value are:
- The minerals inside the geode
- The size of the geode
- The symmetry of the cut
Let’s delve into each factor to discover how it impacts the value of any given geode. That way, you can ensure you’re buying and selling geodes at fair prices.
Geode Minerals: How Rarity and Demand Impact Value
Although size is often touted as the most significant factor impacting geode price, mineralization can be far more influential.
The types of minerals inside a geode and the size of individual crystals can make a geode almost worthless (valued at only a few dollars) or exceptionally valuable (valued at thousands of dollars).
But what kinds of minerals are found in geodes?
Types of Minerals Found in Geodes
Virtually any mineral found on Earth can end up inside a geode. However, some minerals (particularly those found in groundwater) are far more common than others.
The most common minerals found in geodes include:
- Calcite (white)
Other types of minerals are far less commonly found in geodes. Rare geode minerals include black calcite, amethyst, and pyrite. Because they’re uncommon, rockhounds might be able to sell them for higher prices than quartz or agate geodes.
Fun fact! Did you know pyrite is also known as fool’s gold? Check out my article to find out why: This is Why Pyrite is Called Fool’s Gold
It’s also worth noting that consumer demand plays a role in geode valuation. Some minerals are far more desirable than others due to their reflectivity, vivid coloration, and large pillar-like crystal structures.
Amethyst is the most desirable and in-demand type of geode mineral. It has a striking purple color that many people find aesthetically pleasing, and some believe this mineral has healing properties.
Whether used for alternative medicine, ornamentation, or spiritual purposes, amethyst geodes continue to sell for the highest prices, especially when they’re large.
Other high-demand geodes are equally eye-catching.
For example, multi-color opal geodes typically outsell colorless quartz geodes by hundreds of dollars thanks to their rainbow-like surfaces. Citrine geodes can also be quite valuable, in part because of the striking orange-yellow color of their crystals.
But the least desirable geode minerals often lack this aesthetic charm.
The least desirable geodes (the lowest-value ones) typically contain common or “dull” minerals. Quartz geodes are a fantastic example of this phenomenon.
Most minerals deposited inside the stones that eventually become geodes transform into quartz or agate over time. Quartz is composed of silicon and oxygen, the two most abundant elements on Earth. Agate is also made of silicon, which is why it’s considered a common geode mineral.
These minerals are more visually appealing than other low-value ones, particularly calcite and dolomite. These minerals often appear white or beige, lacking the same luster and coloration that make quartz and agate more enticing.
Buyer Beware: Artificial Geode Coloration
Because purple amethyst geodes are valuable and in high demand, some geode sellers choose to dye less valuable quartz crystal geodes and pass them off as amethyst specimens. Others dye their geodes to make them more visually attractive to buyers.
Learning how to recognize the signs of dyed geode crystals is crucial, especially if you plan to invest in high-value amethyst geodes.
One of the most common ways to tell natural and dyed geodes apart is to look at the color striation and variation.
Natural geodes have crystals of varying hues. Amethyst geodes might primarily consist of deep purple crystals, but they also tend to have a smattering of light purple and white crystals. If you see a geode that has an interior that’s a uniform color, there’s a good chance it’s been dyed.
Geode Size: The Bigger, the More Valuable
Apart from mineralization, the most significant factor impacting a geode’s value is its size.
The average geode measures between one and twelve inches (about 2.5 cm to 30 cm) in diameter. Those on the smaller end of the spectrum might sell for a few dollars apiece, but those 12 in (30 cm) or longer can sell for much higher prices.
The most valuable geodes are truly massive specimens.
A 14-Ton Amethyst Geode: The Most Valuable Amethyst Geode in the World
Nearly all the world’s most expensive geodes contain rich purple amethyst crystals. But mineralization is the only reason these stones are so pricey. After all, some of these geodes weigh several tons.
The most impressive of these geodes has no name, being referred to only as “One of the World’s Largest Amethysts.” This 14-ton (12700.6 kg) behemoth was offered at a Bonhams auction in 2020, with an estimated auction price of $400,000.
This geode is so large that you could climb inside it without reaching its top, and it expertly demonstrates just how influential size can be when determining a geode’s value.
Geode Cut: How Cut Affects Pricing
Humans are naturally attracted to patterns and symmetry, and these inherent inclinations can have a noticeable effect on geode pricing—please, allow me to explain.
Geodes aren’t perfectly round, so breaking them open and creating a flush edge is almost impossible. And yet the highest-value geodes have even outer edges.
Even though a geode’s semi-hollow, crystal-filled interior might have a variety of depths, openings, and uneven surfaces, the most desirable of these stones always feature exterior edges (the layers made of chalcedony rock) that are perfectly aligned.
This unique type of symmetry makes a geode more aesthetically pleasing to the human eye and, thus, more valuable.
But not all geodes have professional-grade cuts. Those opened by amateur rockhounds often have jagged outer edges that aren’t pleasing to the touch or eye.
So, what can you do if you’re considering selling your geodes, and their outer edges aren’t symmetrical? Trimming them might be the best option.
Trimming a Geode To Increase Value
There are several ways to trim a geode’s edges to make it more symmetrical. Some of the most popular methods include:
- Using a damp piece of sandpaper to smooth the edges of a geode.
- Gently pressing a Dremel with a sanding tip against the geode’s edges.
- Carefully rubbing the open face of the geode against a sanding belt.
Of course, using these methods to get the ideal symmetrical cut can be tricky, as you can end up losing some of your geode’s precious crystals in the process.
For that reason, instead of trimming your geodes to create smooth edges, it’s often far better to crack them open using tools that naturally create this flush, symmetrical outward edge for both halves of the stone.
Creating a High-Value Geode Cut
Although you can use a standard geologist’s hammer and chisel to break your geodes open, you can end up with two jagged-edged geode halves by utilizing this method.
The better way to create a high-value, professional-quality geode cut is to use a lapidary saw (also called a rock saw). These saws function similarly to wood saws, but they output mineral oil to lubricate the blade and reduce heating caused by friction with stone materials.
You might need a few attempts to learn how to use a lapidary saw, but once you’ve got the hang of things, you can start cutting geodes into neat and even halves. From that point forward, you can begin selling these high-grade geode halves.
Because cut can influence how potential buyers value a geode, investing in a small-scale lapidary saw can be worthwhile, especially if you intend to earn a living selling geodes.
For a more in-depth look at how lapidary saws can create symmetrical cuts in geodes, check out this informative video:
Geode Value Comparison Chart
It can be challenging to estimate the worth of any given geode—challenging, but not impossible! This helpful value comparison chart can help you better understand how much geodes are worth based on their mineral deposits.
Keep in mind that smaller geodes (those only an inch or two in diameter) are worth less than larger ones:
|Geode Type||Coloration||Price Range|
|Agate||Cream or beige-colored; sometimes blue or purple (can have multi-color layers)||$3 to $900|
|Aragonite||White, beige, reddish||$10 to $5,700|
|Amethyst||Dark to light purple||$10 to $35,000+|
|Calcite||White; sometimes greyish||$2 to $3,500|
|Celestite||Blue-grey; occasionally bright blue||$4 to $2,250|
|Citrine||Yellow, orange, brown, or rust-colored||$5 to $11,500|
|Dolomite||White, yellow, or brown; often resembles the inside of a boiled egg||$10 to $300|
|Hematite||Pink, red, or brown||$10 to $1,400|
|Opal||Multiple colors||$5 to $5,700|
|Pyrite||Silver, grey, white, or golden||$3 to $1,900|
|Quartz||Colorless, white, beige; sometimes purple or blue||$1 to $3,500|
|Selenite||Colorless, white, or grey||$20 to $500|
As this price comparison chart confirms, amethyst geodes (particularly large ones) are the most valuable types of geodes. The least valuable geodes often contain dolomite, selenite, or agate.
Where To Find High-Value Geodes
Now that you’re familiar with the value ranges of geodes and the factors that impact geode value, you might be wondering how to get your hands on some high-value geodes.
Well, you have two options.
Firstly, you can purchase unopened or wholesale geodes from online or local retailers. Buying unopened geodes tends to be the most affordable and convenient option, and you can occasionally get lucky and end up cracking up high-value amethyst or citrine geodes.
That said, opting for the unopened geode route is a high-risk choice, as there’s no guarantee you’ll end up with valuable geodes, even after spending hundreds of dollars on geodes.
Buying bulk or wholesale geodes at below-market prices can be more profitable, as you might be able to sell those geodes at higher prices. Still, your profit margin will be slimmer than if you found the geodes yourself.
If you’d like to go rockhounding for geodes, you’ll want to focus on a handful of specific environments and locations where geodes are comparatively plentiful.
Best Environments for Geode Hunting
Geodes can form in many ways, and understanding how these unique stones are created can help you locate the best geode-hunting spots.
For example, some geodes form after volcanic eruptions as lava cools and hardens around air pockets or gas bubbles. But groundwater can also form geodes, as the water erodes subterranean rocks, forming hollow spaces inside them and depositing minerals inside those spaces. To know more about this phenomenon, check out my article discussing why some geodes have water in them: This is Why Geodes Have Water in Them
As such, the best places to find geodes are:
- Near inactive volcanoes
- Rocky deserts
- Stone quarries
- Areas with lots of naturally-occurring limestone
- Caves near waterfalls
When rockhounding for geodes, it’s vital to only search for them on public property that permits rockhounding (such as U.S. Forest Service properties) or private properties (like quarries that are open to the public) that allow visitors to find and keep geodes.
Best States To Find Geodes
If you’re unsure where to start your geode search, you can opt to focus on specific states that are well-known for producing geodes. Some of the best states for geode-hunting include:
Let’s look at these states in more detail for better chances of finding geodes:
The Hauser Geode Beds are a hotspot for geode hunters, but getting there can be challenging. Located on lands owned and maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), these geodes beds are well off the beaten path.
But if you’re willing to drive down some dirt roads and do some exploring, you could be rewarded with a wealth of geodes.
Many of these geodes contain agate and quartz, so they’re not the most valuable stones. That said, geodes are plentiful in this area, so you could still turn a profit based on quantity alone.
Nevada is well known for its dry, arid landscape. And because deserts are a prime location for finding geodes, there are plenty of places to go geode-hunting throughout the Battle Born State.
Some of the best places to find geodes in Nevada include the Mojave Desert and the Black Rock Desert.
Geodes in the Mojave Desert can be particularly valuable, with some containing amethyst and tourmaline crystals. However, you’re far more likely to find quartz geodes throughout this arid landscape.
If you look for geodes in the Black Rock Desert, you’ll likely want to start at the southern end, where geodes are generally more plentiful. Geodes here can contain an equally diverse range of minerals, from agate to opal.
Did you know that Iowa’s state rock is the geode? This state is even home to Geode State Park! However, while you might be able to find geodes at this state park, it’s a popular destination for rockhounds, so picking might be slim.
According to the Iowa Geological Survey, geode-hunters can increase their chances of finding these hollow rocks by searching in Keokuk. Stream beds are some of the best places to search for geodes throughout this area.
Utah is one of the most popular states among rockhounds searching for geodes, and it’s not challenging to understand why. In Juab County, Utah, there’s a spot called the Dugway Geode Beds, where you can find a wealth of multi-color quartz geodes.
Geodes can be worth as little as $1 or as much as $35,000 (if not more). The value of a geode depends on its size, mineral composition, and cut.
The most expensive geodes are large amethyst specimens with professional-grade, perfectly symmetrical cuts. The least expensive are small, uncracked (unopened) geodes with unknown mineralization.
Areas once prone to volcanic activity are great places to find geodes, as geodes are primarily formed after volcanic eruptions. You can also find these unique stones in deserts, quarries, and inside limestone blocks.