North Carolina is easily the best state in the eastern U.S. for rockhounds. Not only are their a wide array of different minerals, but also some extremely valuable types such as emeralds, rubies, sapphires and gold.
The opportunities are great as well, with many different public mines that are active in the state. Below are a few that may be of interest to all you rockhounds and "gold bugs."
Brushy Creek Mine
This mine produces a nice variety of precious stones in North Carolina. The mine is particularly popular for beryls, both the golden and the aquamarine varieties, although many other minerals such as garnet, muscovite and tourmaline and many other minerals.
It is important to know that Brushy Creek mine diggings are currently done by reservation only. So be sure to contact the mine in advance to plan your trip to dig here.
Cherokee Ruby Mine
The Cherokee Ruby mine is located near Franklin in western North Carolina. This is one of the best mine for rubies in the world that is open to the public. So if you are looking for high-grade blood colored rubies then this is the mine to visit.
Visits to this mine are determined by the weather because the mine is not active during extreme cold weather or during thunderstorms. So check the weather prior to planning a visit to this mine.
Crabtree Emerald Mine
The Crabtree Emerald Mine is an exciting emerald mine that you should consider visiting. The mine is located in Grassy Creek Township in western North Carolina. The mine offers pay-to-dig mining opportunities for individual rockhounds and clubs. So you can bring your family and friends and have fun looking for green emerald.
Some other minerals you can find here include black tourmaline, green and yellow garnet, quartz, fluorite and mica among others.
Eureka Gold Panning & Carolina Gem Fluming
Eureka Gold Panning and Carolina Gem Fluming is a place to check out if you want to try your hand at gold panning in North Carolina. Eureka Gold Panning offers the chance to gold pan at the site using material brought in from local mines. So if you are interested in doing some gold mining, then Eureka Gold panning might be a good place to check out.
Emerald Hollow Mine
The Emerald Hollow Mine is located in the Brushy Mountains, near Hiddenite in North Carolina. It is a great mine for anyone interested in searching for North Carolinaís famed emeralds. In fact, it is one of the few emerald mines in the world that allow members of the public to prospect for minerals.
With no serious commercial mining activity, this mine has great potential for serious emerald prospectors. Set on a seventy acres forestland the mine offers sufficient space for family, groups, and individual prospectors.
The Emerald village is made up of a group of gem mining attractions located around the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina. There are 12 amazing mines at this site that you can explore. You can dig for numerous different kinds of minerals in these mines. You can purchase gem buckets and have fun sorting through material in search of your very own gemstones.
You can also have fun exploring other important attractions in the village such as the splashing Bon Ami Waterfall and the North Carolina Mining Museum.
Little Pine Garnet Mine
The Little Pine Garnet Mine is located north of Asheville in Madison County. It is an important mine, especially if you are interested in collecting giant garnet crystals. The mine is only accessed by appointment and it is thus important that you should plan for this, as you may not be allowed in if you donít make reservations in advance.
Lucky Strike Gold and Gem Mine
The Lucky Strike Gold and Gem Mine is located within the Vein Mountain region inside the Blue Ridge mountains in western North Carolina. It is set on a former commercial gold mine of the gold rush years thus has a lot of gemstones and gold in the flumes.
You may also check out their retail shop for a variety of jewelry, gold and gems made from local minerals. You can try your hand at gold panning and sluicing at this mine as well.
Mason Farm Staurloite Prospect
The Mason Farm Staurolite prospect is located near Hayesville in Brasstown, North Carolina. Although this mine is a relatively new site for many gemstone lovers, there are a lot of staurolite materials to find at the site, which makes it a unique collecting site for the serious mineral enthusiast.
Also Read: Gold in North Carolina
And: Rare Gems & Minerals found in North Carolina
Masonís Ruby & Sapphire Mine
The Masonís Ruby and Sapphire mine is one of only a few dig your own ruby mines in the United States. You can also hunt for other popular gems such as sapphires, garnets, mica, rutile and quartz in the mine. The staffs are quite helpful and you will enjoy your digging will all the information given during the orientation.
Rose Creek Mine
The Rose Creek Mine dates back to 1952. The mine is located in the heart of Smoky Mountains, close to several waterfalls that are excellent for white-water rafting. Visitors to the mine have an opportunity to search for ruby, garnet, amethyst, citrine, moonstone, topaz, Smoky quartz, rose quartz and quartz crystals.
All equipment is provided and help is available to beginners. Visitors dig their own dirt from the mining tunnel and wash it in covered flumes. The mine also has an excellent educational program and a fantastic gift shop.
The Sheffield Mine is located in Sheffield Farms in Franklin, North Carolina. The mine is one of the only remaining native mine of rubies and sapphires in the country and is located near the Great Smoky Mountains! Rates are reasonable and the experience is unforgettable. You can wash the dirt in covered flumes and search for gems.
Thermal City Gold Mine
The Thermal City Gold Mine is one of the oldest gold mines in North Carolina. The mine is located in Thermal City in North Carolina. Visitors are provided with equipment for panning, sluicing and dredging. Besides gold, visitors to the camp can also search for emerald, citrine, moonstone, rubies, aventurine, smoky quartz, rose quartz, tourmaline, etc. Recovered gems are inspected and identified for free. The flumes are covered so that you can mine rain or shine.
Vein Mountain Gold & Gems
The Vein Gold & Gems mine is a campground where offers a variety of activities including: panning, sluicing, high banking, dredging for gold; gemstone hunting; fishing, or just relaxing by the river!
It is located in Marion, North Carolina right in the middle of North Carolinaís gold country! Rates are affordable and reasonable. There is a lot of gold dust to be found in this rich gold-bearing area. The mine provides comfortable camping as well.
Next: The North Carolina Gold Rush