depends on what you call a living?
long time gem hound here..well, actually i don't care much for it at all, but I'm married to one so I spend a lot more weekends than i otherwise would either in creek beds or digging 30 feet down in a pit for large cluster amethists, etc.
Since I'm not into the digging as much I tend to pay attention to other things around me.
here's what I saw couple weekends ago:
Hound 1 - mid 20s hippy dreds, minimal clothing concerns - living mostly out of a 1986 dodge van - bed on a box, cooler,comfy with using the area outhouse, not sure what he did for a shower , van stuffed full of all sorts of things...opens the side doors, pops up a canopy and folding table and hopes to sell some of his stuff when he's not down in the pit diffing himself. 3 days of hard work and he comes up with a huge plate of purple crystals. because of the size of the total piece, had to load it on a hand truck and it was about 2ft wide by 3ft long, it will bring him couple thousand $. He was offered $1k on the spot and just laughed.
Hound 2 and 3 - micro campers -8 footers..older 1970s, 80s models? repaired and modified over the years. old battery running some wires in ways that would make NASA scratch their heads. Again, small table of display to make some extra money off the day-diggers. Minimal food, clothing, hygene concern.
Hound 4 - retired guy ,enjoying a military paycheck every month, nice A frame pop up camper..enjoys sitting around talking about all the places he goes and where he'll be headed next.
hound 5 - would be my wife - has a husband with a good job, 26foot travel trailer with all the comforts. She is a lapidary with local jewelry store contacts. Does a lot of cutting/faceting herself and over the course of the year she probably pays for her hobby minus the fuel and the meals and the purchase of the camper and the propane and the other stuff she buys..it's a hobby...fine she enjoys it but God help us if we needed to eat off of it.