Gem mining is a process that is determined by the reason or purpose for the mining and the condition under which the mining will occur. That is to say that gem mining may be undertaken for several reasons including for leisure or profit. The commercial mining operations are a major business that often involves a lot of planning and may occur on the surface or underground, while the tourist type is merely peripheral and is not nearly as intensive as the former.
The more commercial type of gem mining is a process that may be somewhat simple or very complex, according to the peculiar circumstances surrounding the place where the deposit of gemstone is located. In some areas, the process is one that involves a lot of manpower in terms of employees who will manually sort through extraneous material in order to reach the gems. This type of gem mining is usually more common in the area of river or stream panning where the gem deposits are separated from the rocks, gravel and other materials like sand. The process is usually more manpower intensive and less machinery intensive than other gem mining processes. An example of another type of gem mining process is quarrying, which involves the removal of rocks from their locations in order to scrutinize them for gemstone content.
Another type of gem mining is underground mining, a process that is both labor and capital intensive. This process involves taking the search for the desired gems below the surface of the ground in order to explore the possibilities that exist in those surroundings. Usually, this will involve a lot of planning that includes the use of scientists and other professionals who will use their knowledge about minerals and the study of soil and rock deposits to determine the possibility of the availability for any deposits in the location. This process involves the use of a lot of equipment in order to drill underground tunnels and other related methods.
Some mines are open to the general public and are run like a tourist attraction or recreational area where tourists, visitors and amateur treasure hunters can come to learn about mining and to try their luck at it. The rules for the gem mining process differ according to particular companies and their various marketing angles; however, the usual process would be to supply the visitors with equipment like sieves for sieving the soil and rocks in the quest for the gems. When anyone discovers some gems, he or she will usually get to keep the stones, which could be polished, cut and mounted for that person for an extra fee, depending on the terms of the company.