Emeralds are not only May's birthstone, but are beautiful gemstones that young Excavating Adventurers love to discover and collect. In this quick tutorial, we are going to show you how to make an Easy DIY Emerald Excavation. 
  • Container. I love to use small wooden treasure chests that are really inexpensive and available at craft stores. Almost an container will work for your emerald excavation and this is just a suggestion. Rummage through your recycle bin and you are sure to find something that will work. Feel free to decorate the container for a little extra flair. 
  • Sand (Colored sand works too!)
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Measuring cups
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Emeralds. Now you may be thinking that these are really expensive. Although they can be, with a little shopping around online, you can find reasonably prices real raw emeralds. You can also use fake plastic emeralds or costume jewelry. Another solution is to paint a few cool shaped rocks with a shiny green spray paint. 
  • Excavation tools - Safety goggles, small brush, and a chisel, nail, wooden dowel or some other tool to use to excavate. 
  • Optional - Gold glitter


Pro tip: Soften the emerald excavation with a little water if it is difficult for your young Excavating Adventurer to dig. 


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  1. Place your emeralds in the container. 
  2. Dry mix one cup of sand with 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris. Increase the recipe as needed to fill your chosen container at a three parts sand to one part Plaster of Paris ratio. 
  3. Add 1/3 cup of water and mix until you have a pancake like consistency. 
  4. Optional - sprinkle gold glitter over the top of the emerald excavation. 
  5. Allow to dry overnight.  
  6. Once the Emerald Excavation is completely dry, find an area that can get a little messy and be easily cleaned up. Distribute the safety goggles and excavations tools and let the fun begin!


Pro tip: This is a fun and easy little excavation activity to enjoy around St. Paddy's Day!


I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and had fun creating your own Easy DIY Emerald Excavation to investigate and explore. These excavations are very easy to make and a lot of fun!
Pro tip: Use this activity to create some excitement around discussions or lessons about gemstones, rocks, minerals, emeralds, and more!
If you love rocks, geology, and excavating as much as we do, be sure to check out our Excavating Adventures monthly subscription by clicking the link below and get an awesome new excavation delivered each month loaded with rocks, minerals, gemstones, fossils, and more!
Happy Excavating!
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