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The Emerald Mines of North Carolina

Buzzle Staff Sep 27, 2018
Whether you are an amateur rock hound, a serious prospector, or would just like an interesting way to spend a summer afternoon, why not consider a visit to the emerald mines of North Carolina?
By Earl Hunsinger

Have you ever dreamed of finding buried treasure? Perhaps you imagined a treasure chest full of gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. For one man in the state of North Carolina, the dream came true in 2007.
Although he didn't find a chest full of buried pirate treasure, he did find what has been described as the largest high quality emerald ever discovered in North America. It weighed 972 carats and will be cut into smaller stones, which it is estimated will sell for as much as two million dollars.
Of course, as you might expect, it wasn't an accident that he found it. He said, "I've spent my life chasing these things, chasing the dreams, chasing the emeralds. I've found a lot of emeralds in my life but this tops them all."
Are you a rock hunter? Do you too dream of finding emeralds or other gemstones? Then you need to move to North Carolina. The state is the home to some emerald mines. Besides, emerald revealed earlier, the largest emerald ever found in the US came from North Carolina, weighing 1,869 carats. In fact, the 20 largest emeralds ever came from North Carolina.
Would you like to try your hand at emerald prospecting? The only emerald mines in the United States open to the public for prospecting are also found in North Carolina. The Crabtree Emerald Mine is located in Grassy Creek North Carolina and the Emerald Hollow Mine is located in the small town of Hiddenite, North Carolina.
More than 63 different types of naturally occurring gems and minerals can be found here. In addition to emeralds, this gem mine contains aquamarine, sapphire, garnet, topaz, amethyst, citrine, rutile, and tourmaline, as well as an abundance of world-class smoky and clear quartz crystals.
Hiddenite, NC is also famous as the only place on earth where the very rare gemstone "Hiddenite" can be found.
Every year, they have thousands of visitors. Some are just tourists looking for something interesting to do for an afternoon, but serious, or semi-serious, prospectors also visit, hoping to strike it rich. They also provide an educational field trip program for groups wishing to visit.
This program includes an earth science talk, where visitors learn about gemstones, with the content tailored to the age of the students. Such groups and other visitors also get to learn more by participating in actual mining activities that include sluicing, creeking, and surface collecting.
Unlike some mining operations that are open to the public, the Emerald Hollow Mine doesn't just allow you to pretend to be a prospector. Visitors can use two large state-of-the-art sluice ways, where they wash buckets filled with ore taken directly from the mine.
Creeking involves looking for gemstones in the creeks that wind through the seventy wooded acres of the property. They also allow digging in specific areas.
Whether you are a serious prospector or are just looking for an adventurous way to spend a summer afternoon, you must definitely plan a trip to the gemstone mines of North Carolina.