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Gem Mining

An important and fascinating part of North Carolina history is its

gem mining. The Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina are the

oldest in the world and have provided the area with more types of

gemstones than are found anywhere else in the United States.

More than fifty pounds of sapphires were mined from the area in the

1800s, and that is how the town of Sapphire got its name. In fact,

North Carolina is the only state where all four of the hardest stones in

the United States are found: diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire.

Gold from North Carolina was used to mint the first gold coins, and

the largest emerald, weighing over 1,600 carats, was found here as well.

Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine

828-349-2941 • 41 Cherokee Mine Road • Franklin, NC

The mine is not “salted” or “enriched” and contains only native North

Carolina gemstones, including rubies, sapphires, garnets, moonstones,

rhodolite, rutile and sillimanite. These gems occur naturally in the

Cowee Valley and are not as plentiful as in “salted” mines, but are

much more valuable and many are “facet quality.”

Cowee Mountain Ruby Mine

828-369-5271 • 6771 Sylva Road • Franklin, NC

Located four miles north of Franklin at the foot of CoweeMountain just

off Highway 441, Cowee Mountain Ruby Mine is open daily from 9 am

until 6 pm, March - November.

Two covered flumes allow you

to mine rain or shine.

Gold City Gem


828-369-3905 • 9410 Sylva

Road • Franklin, NC

Home of the 1061-carat

sapphire found at Gold City,

featured in

People Weekly


Disney Adventures



& Gem

Magazines. Native

and enriched gemstones

buckets. Gold panning also

available. New and improved

large covered flume for gem

mining rain or shine. New

inside heated flume for cold


Gem Mines

Jackson Hole

828-524-5850 • US 64 West • Highlands, NC

Featuring native and enriched stones. Located in waterfall country

above the breathtaking Cullasaja Falls on Hwy. 28 & US 64 halfway

between Franklin and Highlands. Gem cutting available, snack bar and

gem shop on site. Covered gem mine makes it the perfect rainy day


Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine

828-369-9742 • Route 28 North • Franklin, NC

Offering native only gem mining, this mine has an abundance of

beautiful sapphires and occasional rubies. It’s one of Macon County’s

oldest and most productive mines. Most will have success their first

time. Dig your own dirt. Located in the Burningtown Community off

Route 28 North. Follow signs.

Rose Creek Mine

828-349-3774 • 115 Terrace Ridge Dr. • Franklin, NC

Mine for rubies, sapphires, garnets, emeralds and so much more. Rose

Creek has special buckets, gem kits, lapidary supplies, jewelry, opals

and a world class collection of minerals. Dig your own dirt, first bucket

free with admission. Help for beginners, equipment supplied, covered

flume line, clean rest rooms, covered picnic tables and snacks. Group

rates available, as is “gem dirt to go.” Five miles north of Franklin on

Hwy 28, left on Bennett Road before river.

Sheffield Mine

828-369-8383 • 385 Sheffield Farms Road • Franklin, NC

As featured on the Travel Channel, Sheffield Mine features native

rubies and sapphires (some will “STAR”) or enriched rainbow buckets

with semi-precious gems from around the world. Mine rain or shine at

covered flumes. Also offers picnic tables, snacks and beverages, gem

identification, stone cutting and setting and gift shop.

WhiteWater Equestrian Center

828-966-9646 • 6420 WhiteWater Road • Sapphire, NC

Featuring native and enriched stones, WhiteWater is located in

waterfall country above the breathtaking WhiteWater Falls. Find gems

and minerals. Sapphire was named for the sapphire mines in the area.

Open year round.