We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Grandkids running the show”

Old Pressley Sapphire Mine
Ranked #5 of 5 things to do in Canton
Attraction details
Reviewed August 11, 2013

Though the grandkids were nice and personable the whole experience was nothing like other people indicated below. The grandkids were there the whole time, no owner, nothing. We opted to pick from the pile but had we known we were looking at the pile that had already been gone through we would not have bothered. The whole time we were there we found a few fragments. For us we could have spent our time and money on something that was worthwhile, never again.

1  Thank tripper098
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (32)
There are newer reviews for Old Pressley Sapphire Mine
See the most recent reviews
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

25 - 29 of 32 reviews

Reviewed August 6, 2013

visited the Old Pressley Mine with my two sons, the oldest 22 and the youngest 16, and had hoped to have a better find than at Mason's sapphire mine near Franklin. I have been in actual open pit mines many years ago in Sapphire Valley, which are now closed. I have done a lot of research on "dig your own" mines and had heard good things about the Old Pressley mine. Just like many of the other reviews, the last few hundred yards of the drive are rather rough and was quite muddy on our visit. We arrived right at 9am and were the only ones there for several hours. We had a very good opportunity to talk to George who was very willing to show off many of the very large and beautiful dark blue and gray sapphires that he has found. He also showed us several recently found sapphires of good size, well above 50 carats, that had been recently found by customers (found out later they were all by customers of some repute, mainly doctors, lawyers, and somewhat "known" people) who were wanting their finds to be cut. George then led us up to a pile of soil that had recently been brought down from up above to be sifted and then rinsed in order to find sapphires. The soil is actually easy to 'read' through if you know what you are looking for. My sons were sifting and rinsing while I was looking for the larger stones like what George had just showed us were possible to find. After several hours of only finding fractile sapphires in feldspar and mica that easily crumbled when trying to seperate them from their matrix, I asked George if there might be any way to access the upper area where the reviews I had earlier read said was where the real sapphires were at. His reply was that the shafts are not safe and that he himself did not go into some of them. I was later able to confirm by a member of MAGMA that he had let their group access the upper mines which is just outside of the one shaft and they were able to find several nice sapphires of some size, one of which had been on display at another mine and was proudly displayed with a label "Found at the Old Pressley Mine in Canton". This member of MAGMA also said that he was told by George that the soil in the lower areas had already been 'gone through' and that there was no significant finds in that soil.
We still were able to find some nice mica arrangements with some color mixed in. The cost was only $25 a piece for all day and you could take home anything you found and even was allowed to fill my own buckets with siftings and have many larger examples of feldspar and mica stones.George has many stories if you talk to him enough. We left about 3:00p after George admitted that what we had found so far was the best we would find in that pile. My oldest son was the only one to find a true sapphire that day and it was in the 5-10 carat range and was gray.
Just to let you know, I have found many sapphires ranging in color from deep blue to purple and even some that could be called rubies. All mines, including Old Pressley Mine, are mines that you go through the tailings of the original mines.Do not go expecting to find a 'Keeper' unless you are someone with money or influence. (just sayin')

4  Thank Stephen B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

We had a lot of fun and found some really cool sapphire's. This is not one of those fill the buckets with dirt and gems and pawn it off as gem mining. You get what you get. We really enjoyed our time there.

2  Thank Joe M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2013

Guaranteed sapphires picked out by owner. Very rustic. Shaded panning area. Able to dig your own bucket if you want to. Nice people and their pets. Just be VERY careful driving on and out of here. Easy to bottom out and do some serious damage!! The mine is 200 years old and holds the record for the largest sapphire ever mined.

2  Thank Kate E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2012

My family enjoyed the mine. The kids really love trying to find the largest stone and a few others that are just interesting to them. We will be back.

Thank FunTravelerz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Old Pressley Sapphire Mine also viewed

Canton, North Carolina Mountains
Hendersonville, North Carolina Mountains
Maggie Valley, North Carolina Mountains
Waynesville, North Carolina Mountains

Been to Old Pressley Sapphire Mine? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing