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“Fabulous Family owned Business”

Cowee Gift Shop & Mason Mountain Mine
Ranked #1 of 10 Shopping in Franklin
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Attraction details
Owner description: Tom and Ginger Johnson own and operate the mine and shop. The mine has grown over the years to provide you with the best environment for all your rockhounding needs. We offer full access for the handicap to enjoy all the fun as well. Check in at the gift shop for instructions to our access road, so you can drive right down to the flume. At our gem mine we offer strictly native dirt at the dig pile, plus enriched buckets and all the best help so you can start finding gems right away! In our gift shop we carry a wide variety of snacks and drinks to keep you going. There is also a nice deli nearby if you need a little extra and for the really hungry, Franklin is only 12 minutes away. We also have a wide range of rough specimens from all over the world as well as from our "back yard" which is literally our mountain where the mine site is located. You will see many different types of gold and silver mountings and jewelry already manufactured from our jewelry bench that will astound most folks. So stop on in if you can, we will be happy to see you even if it's just to say hi and catch up on things!
North Charleston, South Carolina, United States
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fabulous Family owned Business”
Reviewed April 6, 2012

Tom , Ginger and Brian made my family's visit a highlight of our trip.
Brian spent a good deal of time helping everyone with our search and was very patient in answering questions of my 8 year old niece.

Tom and Ginger were great at showing us our "finds" and helping design our new jewelry.

I would highly recommend Mason Mountain Mine and Cowee Gift Shop. I feel like family and hope to return again soon.

Visited April 2012
Helpful?
Thank Donna N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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95 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 6 Contributor
90 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“People make businesses & the owners are HONEST & WONDERFUL!”
Reviewed April 1, 2012

I have mined and shopped at this business for over 12 years. You can dig UNSALTED or SALTED! You tell them what you prefer and they will provide it. I have purchased or dug up more than 30 gem stones from them and the work and quality have never been in question. This is a wonderful family run business.

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank GPSMike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amelia Island, FL
Level 4 Contributor
44 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Way more fun than I espected!”
Reviewed March 21, 2012

My wife and I went for me to do a half-day of mining but stayed the whole day! I mined in the dig pile, which contrary to another reviewer who reviewed the wrong mine with a very similar name, it is not salted at all and comes directly from Tom and Ginger's family mine. People who may want to purchase salted buckets and sift through those may do so also at this mine. That is what my wife decided to do after she saw samples of what people were finding in them, i.e., specimens of minerals and semi-precious stones (emeralds, rubies, and sapphires) in addition to (non-local) beautifully quartz crystals, blue kyanite, aquamarine, smoky quartz, rose quartz, rhodolite, garnets, amethyst, tiger eye, pyrite and who knows what else. I found rubies, sapphires, and emeralds in my dig pile which I enjoyed as I filled bucket after bucket and washed though everything in the running water sluice trough. Brian was there to help me identify and separate the good stuff from the leverite (leave it right there) and fun to talk with about the history of the mine and the area. Tom and Ginger (owners) are very nice people as well and have a great attitude about making sure customers are happy with their experience whether mining or buying or browsing in the rock, jewelry, and gift shop. It was one of the highlights of our visit to North Carolina. Wear some clothes you won't mind getting dirty, but I didn't come away too bad for the day's work. Bring a lunch, too! This is a seasonal business, so best to call ahead to make sure they are open if not during the busy summer months.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank mcbswolf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, GA
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Misleading about what you are buying.”
Reviewed October 29, 2011

This place is not terrible as long as you know what you are getting into. First of all, this place has a dig pile, but everything is salted. We thought we had some great finds, only to find out from a lapidary that most of what we had was garbage and imported from other countries. For example, we were told we had found a star ruby, but later discovered it was a sapphire from Africa. I thought we would be digging for native gems only. That was disappointing. Also, you should note that even though you can pay a flat fee for a half day of mining, if you get there after 1pm, they won't let you dig. However, we got there a little before 2pm and the attendant was not going to let us dig, but then he let us dig til 3pm, (the time the group currently digging was scheduled to be finished) for only $5 each. If you have kids, this is probably a fun place to go because you are sure to find something but chances are, it won't be from the area.

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
2 Thank mjhall78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Conway, South Carolina
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“cuts and mounts absolutely beautiful”
Reviewed October 23, 2011

After a fun trip to Franklin and lots of mining at Mason Mountain Mine, we selected a few of our sapphires and rubies to have cut and mounted. We had a earring neckless set in lighter blue sapphires with cabracon cut in silver for our daughter. Then I had the darkest sapphires faceted in yellow gold and watermelon ruby in yellow gold. My husband and I were amazed at the quality of each piece. They did an amazing job with our finds and it gives us a lot to show off when we tell our mining story. Thank you Cowee Gift Shop!

Visited July 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank keysrat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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