Y’all know about my gem hunting hobby and how the gemstones are such an integral part of my fantasy adventure series The Gemstone Chronicles. You also know about my favorite gemstone hunting spot in the North Georgia Mountains. You might have even read about my trip to the Hogg Mountain Mine near LaGrange, GA or the trip to Hiddenite, NC. I hope the posts inspired you to go out on your own gem hunting excursions (or at least read and review my books)! Living in the Southeast, I decided to find new places fairly close to home and consider them for a visit, or share them with y’all in case you want to make a trip! To be fair, I didn’t look at other Southeast US states likes Florida, and Mississippi and Arkansas are a bit far for me (at least for a day trip).
Today, though, I want to give you an overview of places that I have researched on the Internet and where I might have to go for a visit over the next few months. Let’s start right here in Georgia, where I found this emerald and my brother John found the peridot that I had cut and set for a birthday present for the lovely and adorable Lana!
North Georgia Mountains:
The North Georgia Mountains have many places to hunt for gemstones (and gold, if you are so inclined).
- Graves Mountain (Lincoln County, Georgia): According to GeorgiaEnclcyopedia.org, Graves Mountain is a unique geological area filled with some of the finest specimens of kyanite, pyrite, pyrophyllite, rutile, and lazulite. They occasionally open the site to rockhounds, and I intend to be at the next dig!
- Consolidated Gold Mine (Dahlonega, Georgia): A great place to visit to get an idea of what it was like to dig for gold underground. You can tour the mine and will end up about 140 feet underground. At the end of the tour, you can pan for gold and screen for gems.
- Crisson Gold Mine (Dahlonega, Georgia): Another gold mine in Dahlonega, you can pan for gold here, too. If you want to, you can sign up to be a member of the Weekend Gold Miners at Crisson Gold Mine and gain access to the leased lands operated by the Weekend Gold Miners and prospect to your heart’s content!
- Diamond Hill Mine (Antreville, SC): The website for the Diamond Hill Mine says you can find quartz, amethyst (though rare), and other gemstones. For me, it would be about a 2 hour drive. Hours are 9-5 and no digging after dark. The website has some pictures of finds at the site and they look pretty good. I think I can foresee a road trip!
I have to say that North Carolina offers many opportunities for gemstone exploration. I will only list a few, but do your own research and find many more!
- Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine (Franklin, NC): This mine sounds like my kind of place. While they do offer salted buckets, they also offer the opportunity to dig your own dirt and keep what you find. I think this is a place for me! They are open from March 1 – December 1 and a day of digging will cost $30. This is about a 2 hour drive for me, so easily doable for a day trip.
- Cherokee Ruby Mine (Franklin, NC): Another mine that is now offering dig your own dirt option. This one comes with a little bit of a limitation: for the dig your own option, you can fill 6 buckets for $30 and you can fill 4 additional for $10 more. They do offer a flume to wash off the stones, but the fee seems a bit high for my tastes. The hours are 9 am – 4 pm Monday through Saturday and 10-5 on Sunday. The mine is open May 1 – October 31. The mine is also cash only.
Other than copper mines around Ducktown and barite mines in other areas, I couldn’t find much about gem mines in Tennessee. Any of you Tennessee readers who want to give us some ideas, it would be greatly appreciated!
Similar to Tennessee, I couldn’t find a lot about gem mines in Alabama, though I did fond some references to gold prospecting. As with the Tennessee folks, any hints you Alabama readers could give us would be appreciated!
For states outside the Southeast, please feel free to give us ideas about gem hunting opportunities near you. I can always try to plan a trip!