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, NCcherokeerubymine.com
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, NCcoweemtnrubymine.com
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, NCgoldcityamusement.com
Home of the 1061-carat
sapphire found at Gold City,
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
828-524-5850 • US 64 West • Highlands, NCjacksonholegemmine.com
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, NCmasonsmine.com
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, NCrosecreekmine.com
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.
828-369-8383 • 385 Sheffield Farms Road • Franklin, NCsheffieldmine.com
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, NCfunhorsebackriding.com
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.