View Full Version : Gemstone Mining?
We went to a mine that is near Boone/Blowing Rock - I'm blanking on the name, but it was on Hwy 105 going out of Boone. There are several in that general vicinity. My co-worker went to Emerald Hollow Mine (http://hiddenit.ipower.com/mining.html) in Hiddenite, NC. That's getting near the Boone/Blowing Rock area as well.
The Emerald Hollow Mine is one of the locations we've been considering. The other one is Gem Mountain (http://www.gemmountain.com/default.htm), which is also located near Boone, NC (their website is kind of corny, which makes me wonder if it's more of a tourist trap than Emerald Hollow; I'm hoping to find more info about each one before we make a decision as to where to go.
06-03-2010, 09:07 PM
Arkansas is a bit more of a drive from Atlanta, but it might be a better experience.
I've heard lots of good things about the crystal mine in Arkansas. They supposedly don't salt, and almost everyone comes away with something. It's physically taxing, especially in the heat, but if you're in good shape and are used to the weather, as it sounds like you are, then it should be okay.
There is also Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas (http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/). Don't go there expecting to find diamonds because only an average of three a day are found and probably even fewer by rookies, but there are some other rocks (you will probably need a guidebook or guide to help you identify them), and if your daughter is serious about rockhounding, it introduces her to the reality that most of the time you won't find anything, but you can have a good time nonetheless. And because it's a state park, it's extremely affordable.
Finally, if your daughter decides after a few hours that it's not her thing, Hot Springs National Park (http://www.nps.gov/hosp/index.htm) is within an hour of the other two. Because it's a National Park, it's affordable and not a tourist trap, though I'm not sure about the lodging prices in the area.
Some good stuff from TripAdvisor:
Franklin NC gem mining (http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g49146-i5983-k1357867-Franklin_NC_Gem_Mining-Franklin_North_Carolina.html)
List of mines and links to reviews of each (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g49146-Activities-Franklin_North_Carolina.html)
Arrowhead Mine in Arkansas (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g31796-d1011638-Reviews-Arrowhead_Crystal_Mine-Mount_Ida_Arkansas.html)
06-04-2010, 07:53 AM
The rarer (more valuable) the gem is, the less likely you are actually to find a gem-quality piece of it (as opposed to a cloudy, misshapen specimen) even if you go to a suitable place, so it's worthwhile to pay attention to the list of other minerals/gems present at the location. I'm always glad to see garnet listed, because it tends to be common. It's fun to find stuff, even a rather common gem. Agate locations also can be very prolific, and agate is nice because it is so variable piece-to-piece. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any significant agate locations in the southeastern US.
I spent a lot of weekends at one of the emerald mines in Hiddenite about 30 years ago. I didn't even find a quartz crystal. Emerald is really, really rare, and that particular mine involved hard-rock mining--which is slow work--rather than gravel-panning. I might have had more luck at the diamond mine in Arkansas!
I, too, have read good things about quartz crystals in Arkansas, but there are several options there, so it's definitely worth some online research before planning a trip.
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