|Where To Gem Mine in
|Franklin, North Carolina
Franklin, NC is known as the "Gem Capital of the World" for good reason. The historic Cowee Valley has been mined for years for our native ruby and sapphire both members of the corundum family.
Franklin's gem and mineral heritage can be traced back to 1870 when companies began mining corundum in Macon County. Second only to diamonds in hardness, corundum is used as an industrial abrasive. Commercial mining stopped when synthetic corundum became a cheaper solution for industrial needs.
In 1895, New Jersey mining expert W. E. Hidden began supervising work on Cowee Valley lands and old claims that were newly purchased by the American Prospecting and Mining Company. The company intended to find the source of the rubies and sapphires by digging experimental shafts and test holes. Similar testing was performed by the United States Mining Company and other mining interests. Despite these attempts, the source for the gemstones was never located.
Today locals and visitors alike are still searching for the mother lode of ruby and sapphire and you'll never have more fun getting dirty! Gem Mining in Franklin NC is great fun for the entire family. A great tip is to wear old clothes when you go so you can get down and dirty looking for native gemstones.
Area mines offer advice and assistance in searching native dirt for natural gems native to the Franklin area.
Many of your finds can be crafted in to jewelry. In fact, many of the gem mines have experts on hand to recommend a cut for the stones you find. These gems can be mounted as rings, pendants or earrings.
If you're lucky you'll find a rare star ruby or sapphire. These gems have a silky look to them and when cut in a dome shape or caboshon a six pointed star is revealed when light hits the stone.
Native & Enriched
The Franklin NC area features both native (all natural mines) and enriched (gemstones added) gem mines. » Download a Gem Mining Map (PDF Format)
Most gem mines operate from early Spring through late Fall.
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Gem Mines & Gem Mining in Franklin, North Carolina · Design by Tony Angel Media