About The North Carolina Gemstone Mining

North Carolina gemstone mining is an industry that has happened almost by accident. Originally, it was gold that people were looking for in the mountains and rivers of the state. Although quite a bit of gold was found, the searching for it also led to several different important gem and mineral discoveries. Some of these include corundum (both ruby and sapphire), diamond, aquamarine, beryl, feldspar, mica, olivine and many others.

Another important discovery was that of abundant monazite sands found in the stream beds of the South Mountain region. (Monazite is a reddish-brown phosphate containing elements like helium, thorium, lanthanum and cerium.)

Gemstones in NC

North Carolina is a state that is rich in many different types of gemstones. Some of the gems found in NC include Amethyst, Aquamarine, Almandite Garnet, Beryl, Clear Quartz, Cyanite, Diamond, Emerald, Hiddenite, Pyrope Garnet, Rhodolite Garnet, Ruby, Sapphire and Smoky Quartz. Mining is a half-billion dollar per year industry in North Carolina and over 300 gemstone varieties can be found there.

About The North Carolina Gemstone Mining

North Carolina Gemstone Mining (Fee Mining)

There are several mines in North Carolina that will let you mine your own gemstones for a set fee. I have listed the ones I’ve found so far below.

Hiddenite Gems, Inc.

484 Emerald Hollow Drive

PO Box 276

Hiddenite, NC 28636


Phone: 1-866-600-4367 (GEMS)

Local Phone: (828) 632-3394

Fax: (828) 635-7986

Email: info@hiddenitegems.com

Description : Open 8:30 a.m. to sunset every day except for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Emerald Hollow Mine is the only emerald mine in the world that is open for public prospecting. Emerald finds worth thousands of dollars are not uncommon. In addition to mining opportunities, they also offer lapidary services and a rock, gem and jewelry store. Over 63 different gems and minerals can be found in the mine. Truly one of the best North Carolina gemstone mining opportunities! See website for more details.

Jim’s Gems and Gold

10327 Building #1 East Hwy. 211

Aberdeen, NC 28315


Phone: (910) 944-3703

Email: jim@jimsgemsandgold.com

Description : Open year-round Wednesday through Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. and Sundays from 1:30 pm to 5 pm. Take a step back in time and join the gold rush of years gone by. Pan for genuine gemstones and gold at Jim’s Gems and Gold. Small bucket fees start at $7.00. See website for complete details.

Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine

6961 Upper Burningtown Road

Franklin, NC 28734


Phone: (828) 369-9742

Email: dennisu357@peoplepc.com

Description : Open 8 am to 5 pm 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Dig your own dirt and wash it to expose gravels containing ruby and several different colors of sapphire. Ages 12-adult $30 and 6-11 $15.00. Children under the age of 6 are free. Cash only…no credit cards or checks accepted! Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more people. See website for more details.

More North Carolina gemstone mining opportunities…..

Sheffield Mine

385 Sheffield Farms Road

Franklin, NC 28734

Located in the Franklin, NC area (Please call or see website for directions-don’t use MapQuest, Yahoo or any other map service!)


Phone: (828) 369-8383

Description : Open April 1st through October 31st from 10 am to 5 pm 7 days a week. Please arrive early as mining takes at least 2 hours and they accept their last customer around 2:30 pm. Signing up for the waiting list is a good idea. If you arrive later than 10:30 am, be prepared for a waiting time. Mine for precious rubies and sapphires in native dirt. Plan for at least 2 hours of mining. Prices are $15 per person between the ages of 15 and 60 and $10 for all others. One of the more popular North Carolina gemstone mining opportunities. See website for complete details.

Thermal City Gold Mine

5240 US 221 North Highway

Union Mills, NC 28167


Phone: (826) 286-3016

Email: jnanney@blueridge.net

Description : Open March 1st through November 30th. Since 1992, Thermal City Gold Mine has been a fun recreational gold and gem mining facility. Every effort is made to provide a natural setting and authentic North Carolina gemstone mining experience. See website for details.

If you’re interested in North Carolina gemstone mining, but would like to mine your own gemstones plus take a tour, you might try…

Emerald Village

331 McKinney Mine Road PO Box 98

Little Switzerland, NC 28749


Phone: (828) 765-6463 (ROK MINE)

Alternate Phone: (828) 765-0000

Email: info@emeraldvillage.com

Description :Open Daily from April 1st through November 15th. Take a tour of the historic, underground Bon Ami Mine which is home to over 53 different minerals and try your hand at gem bucket mining at a real flume. Choose from aquamarine, emerald, corundum (ruby and sapphire) and topaz. See website for details on hours of operation, pricing and other important information.

Rose Creek Mine

115 Terrace Ridge Drive

Franklin, NC 28734

www.rosecreekmine.com Phone: (828)349-3774

Email: lsterrett@rosecreekmine.com

Description : Dig your own dirt in our mining tunnel and wash the dirt away in our flume in this fun North Carolina gemstone mining experience! Some of the gems you might uncover could include ruby, sapphire, garnet, amethyst, citrine, moonstone, topaz, rose quartz, smoky quartz and more. Open Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Closed on Sundays. Season begins on April 1st and goes through October 31st. Mail order mining is available year-round! See website for prices and other useful information.

Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine

Highway 226

Spruce Pine, NC 28777


Toll-Free Phone: 1-888-817-5829

Email: info@GemMountain.com

Description : Enjoy the exciting atmosphere of discovery as you find colorful, beautiful and valuable gemstones! Some of the gems you might find include amehtyst, amazonite, topaz, rutilated quartz, tourmaline, garnet, sapphire, ruby, moonstone and more. Our season begins March 1st and goes through December 31st. Closed on Sundays. Memorial Day through Labor Day hours are 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. All other days are open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. See website for pricing and other useful information.