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“A native gem mine that is a must-do! A fun, unique & dirty experience!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Mason's Ruby & Sapphire Mine

Mason's Ruby & Sapphire Mine
6961 Upper Burningtown Road, Franklin, NC 28734
828-369-9742
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Ranked #3 of 13 Attractions in Franklin
Type: Mines, Cultural
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Attraction details
Owner description: Mason's Sapphire Mine is an all-natural, dig your own sapphire mine that has been in operation since 1942 in Franklin NC. Masons mine is a safe, fun, and unique experience to add to your family trip!
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Ocean City, Maryland
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“A native gem mine that is a must-do! A fun, unique & dirty experience!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2012

Before heading to the mountains of North Carolina, I did my research on the different types of mines (salted vs unsalted, etc), read reviews, and put Mason's at the top of my list. I had big plans to find a few bell ringers, pay off my credit cards, and travel the world with the rest of the gem money..very unrealistic but hey-a girl can dream!
I went a few days after bad storms, so I called ahead to make sure they were open and headed out on the beautiful windy road to the mine. My GPS lost signal a few times, as did the Waze app on my phone, but I still didn't have any problem finding the place, and once you get close there are little yellow signs that lead you straight in to it. The $30 admission fee seems kind of steep until I rationalize it by thinking that if I were to go to the movies, or a baseball/football game I would be spending the same amount, if not more-and gem mining is a very unique experience. I chose not to rent the cart (not a smart move, for the record) but they are available for $5. Once my spot was all set up at the sluice, I grabbed two small empty buckets and headed up to the mining area to get to digging. I was told to stay away from the clay, as there wouldn't be any gems in that kind of dirt, and throughout the course of the day I dug from about 5 different spots.
I can't guarantee you'll find gems (you will) but i WILL assure you that you a) will get muddy and b) need patience. There was a couple next to me at the sluice that was in their 50's, and the gentleman was *completely* shocked that his pants and shoes got muddy. And looking around, he commented about how everyone else came prepared, wearing boots and not so nice jeans. Common sense, people. Use it. As far as patience goes, I know that often we try to fit a list of "must-do" activities into a vacation, so much that we barely stop to enjoy the what it is that we're doing, instead just doing it to say we did it. Make time for this. It takes hours to get the dirt, sift it through your screen, sort through the rocks to find the gems, and if you're in a hurry I can see where you could get easily frustrated. A family sat down and the young daughters were finding big stones (bigger than anything I found that day!) and the dad abruptly told them they were leaving because "it was too much work and he wasn't finding anything."
The guy Luke that was working the sluice is an asset to the mine and Mason's in general. He went through each of my screens to pick out all of the sapphires that I missed, and I missed a lot. He told me how to find them, what to look for, the difference between just plain rocks and gems (which are easily mistaken for rocks). (Hope you finally got your steak dinner Luke!)
I would without a doubt recommend this mine, it is full of native sapphires, well-staffed, and is a fun and unique way to spend the day. I ended up finding nearly 19 karats total, but the experience was priceless.

Visited September 2012
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183 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Johnson City, Tennessee
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Fun and dirty”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2012

This is a dig your own site so expect to shovel dirt and carry it back to the flumes or rent a cart for $5.00 (recommended by me). The staff (Charlie and Brandon ??) were very nice and helpful. We had a great day and found ~20 sapphires. I think most of the rubies have been mined at this site so we only found sapphires.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Newark, Delaware, United States
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“This was an amazing experience that my wife and I will never forget!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012

The staff here just plain rock! The owner of the place is plain cool as can be and very willing to help you! So after ya pay YOU GO DIG YOUR OWN DIRT. This is the only place around that you can do that at. Than you sit down and one of the two people outside will walk you through the whole thing. Luke and Charlie both the posters of southern manors. They would have donated a pint of blood if I'd asked them. Now that's customer service

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
St. Petersburg, Florida
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Disappointed”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2012

Definitely overpriced for the $30 admission per adult.This mine lacked a reasonable amount of good quality native material. The day we were there, we didn't see anyone find quality stones. The staff talked about people who had found "bell ringer" stones in the past, but we didn't see this happen. Water in flumes flowed slowly so it was hard to wash stones. Staff was very friendly, but not especially helpful or educational. Sometimes it took a half hour to 45 minutes for someone to come around to help. If we were not going to find stones that we could have cut, it would have been nice to learn more about the stones and how to recognize them. In the last hour, three staff members were present at the flumes, but only one, Charlie, was assisting customers. No potable water available. Not even water available for washing hands.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Naples Park, Florida, United States
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Better than the circus, fun for all ages, and you get great prizes to bring home!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2012

A wonderful way for the family or friends to spend a day together. Everyone seems to encourage and help others. No competition here, we're all looking for the same thing....fun and a few gems.
Todd is extremely knowledgeable of the mines, and can spot a gem at a 1000 yards. Brandon is a super young man, teaching you the tricks of mining and how to spots the gems.
I can not wait to return with more family.
It was a most satisfying adventure, and worth every cent.
ps...rent the dolley!

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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