Fun Across NC
Gem Mining In The State Where It Began
Try your luck at gem mining, a storied pastime in North Carolina dates back to the 1800s. It’s a fun activity for anyone, and there’s a chance that you just might leave with a valuable souvenir like the 50.5 carat emerald a North Carolina couple mined in March 2012.
The state has a glittering gem mining history that began in 1799 with the first discovery of gold in the United States at Reed Gold Mine in Concord. In fact, North Carolina led the nation in gold production until 1848, when it was surpassed by the great rush to California. Since then, many other gems have been found in the state including diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.
Reed Gold Mine
Today, Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite is one of the most frequented gem mining sites in the state. It boasts more than 63 types of gems and is the only emerald mine in the country open to the public for prospecting. You can also head to Franklin, the “Gem Capital of the World,” where there are about a dozen gem mines to choose from.
Learn more about the past and present of gem mining at museums including the Gem and Mineral Museum in Franklin, The Colburn Earth Science Museum in Asheville and the Museum of North Carolina Minerals in Spruce Pine.
added: July 26, 2012
updated: July 30, 2012