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Gem Mining

Gem Mining | Franklin, NC

Rubies in the Rough

OK, full disclosure. The first time I went gem mining, I took a 30 gallon trash bag to hold all my jewels. I realized that was probably a bit optimistic when I noticed everyone around me carried small plastic sandwich bags to hold their treasures. Oh well, hope springs eternal, I suppose.

There are two ways to go gem mining near Franklin, NC. Most mines enrich the dirt with purchased, uncut gems. That’s a sure thing, which might be more rewarding for children. (And a gem is a gem, is a gem.) Others sell native dirt. You may find something wonderful, or nothing at all. Depends if you’re a purist. At every mine, staff will show you what to look for. To the uninitiated eye, the gray stone you pluck from the dirt will look nothing like the sparkling gems fashioned into rings and necklaces.

WOW factor: Imagine taking your unpolished stone to an artist in the area who will turn it into a thing of beauty. That’s heady stuff. If you need encouragement, remember that Jake Hertzog found a 300 carat ruby at the Sheffield Mine in 2008.

Hint: Gems are heavier than rocks. Wash and rub together more than once. Keep looking. Have fun. The mines are usually open spring to fall and you should arrive several hours before closing time.Afterwards, visit the Franklin Gem & Mineral Museum. Free admission. For lunch, consider the Hidden Gem Café. It’s earned three diamonds from AAA.

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