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“You can not miss this place”

Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine
Ranked #6 of 34 things to do in Franklin
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine is Macon County's ONLY 100% Unsalted Mine, located in the heart of the Beautiful Cowee Valley of North Carolina's Smoky Mountains.
Level Contributor
91 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“You can not miss this place”
Reviewed July 6, 2012

My first time at franklin i missed this place and went to another mine... it was good but this place is the best. The staff was so friendly and helpful. It is a family run business and they really do care about the guest. They go out of their way to make sure you have a good time while mining for gems... I will only go to this mine from now on. I found 2 rubys and had them made into necklaces for mothers day. If you can only pick one mine in town it must be CHEROKEE RUBY AND SAPPHIRE MINE.

Visited August 2011
Thank ronweasley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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163 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Wichita, Kansas
Level Contributor
379 reviews
187 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 140 helpful votes
“We must have hit this on a bad day?”
Reviewed June 9, 2012

From all the positive reviews we were expecting great things here. They didn't happen. We visited three mines today, this one was second, and this was the worst of the bunch. No help from the staff, no real exciting gems found and the seating, even with pads, wasn't good. I'll just chalk it up to it being a bad day.

Visited June 2012
1 Thank Leon67203
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Richmond, Virginia
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Awesome experience!”
Reviewed May 31, 2012

My fiancé and I visited the mine a few months ago. I called the mine a few days before we drove there to talk with "mom" about our chances of finding a ruby at the mine. When I called the mine Maria or Mom as many call her answered the phone. She informed me that this particular mine had at least seven native gems that folks found daily. She didn't make any false promises. She said that each of the seven gems are found daily but we weren't guaranteed a ruby. She said someone mining beside us could find a ruby and we may not. She was very up front and a great source source of information. We decided to make the 8 hour drive and go mining! We had so much fun at the mine. It was absolutely incredible. Mom was amazing. She helped us and every other patron there identify their gems. It was great. Mom's son was there too. He also helped us a ton! He was a very nice guy. We actually found a ruby there and used it for my wedding ring. It is so beautiful. I have gotten SO many compliments on it. Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire mine is an awesome place to go for the real mining deal. My now husband and I have told many people about how we had my ring made and how we came upon my ruby and this incredible experience. If you are looking to have a native mining experience Cherokee mine is the place to do it. We had an awesome time because of the help given to us by Mom and her son. It was an experience that we will never forget and we will definitely repeat in the future. Absolutely awesome. We were blessed to stumble onto this mine and onto the ruby that started our future. Big thanks to Maria and her son for an incredible adventure.

Visited April 2012
5 Thank Lisa C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fredericksburg, Virginia
Level Contributor
20 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Great fun for little ones”
Reviewed May 29, 2012

Our 4 year old granddaughter loved this one so much she went twice. She found an amethyst and a couple of immature emeralds. Lots of fun for her and very reasonable in cost.

Visited May 2012
1 Thank Shirley S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glen Carbon, Illinois
Level Contributor
42 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 120 helpful votes
“How To Get The Most Out of Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine”
Reviewed May 28, 2012

Our recent visit to the Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire mine was a new experience for my family and I. I panned for gold once as a kid in Cripple Creek, Colorado at a salted road-side attraction and recall enjoying it. With that in mind I thought gem mining would be an excellent family outing. Well, let's just say it was a learning experience that I would do again in a heart beat knowing how to get the most out of Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine.

First, let me be completely frank about the "family" experience. This activity takes A LOT of time and A LOT of patience and focus. My kids were expecting to find a baseball size ruby in the first four minutes and, when that didn't happen, they seemed to wander back to the van with no desire to make attempts to try. However, there was plenty of space for them to throw the football around and play while we sifted through their dirt and rock. If your children are natural rockhounds with an ability to sit still for hours at a time, this is an amazing opportunity for them. The tip here is to have something else for the kids to do when they do get bored and you still have a lot of sifting left to do.

Second, use the help of "mom". The mine is run by a lady and her son although the son seemed to do nothing to actually help "mom". She was having to take care of new customers and help sift through the rocks of customers while he talked on his cell phone for the entire 4 hours we were there. However, if you have patience and wait your turn she will go through your rocks with you and teach you exactly how to find the gems. Then you can return to the rest of your dirt and enjoy the search. Plus, she is lovely to talk to and shared some very interesting pieces of her life with me. I found her to unknowingly fill a desire for another moment with my grandmother who passed several years ago. She was soft-spoken, sweet, kind and it was fun to make her laugh.

Third, take your time. This is not a rushed, excitement a minute activity. It is very slow-paced. Don't come there with only an hour allotted. It is not enough time to really dig into this adventure.

Fourth, come early and don't forget the sunscreen. The more daylight you have the better it is to see the gems. So, although some people rented the large umbrellas, it really is something you need the sunlight to do it best. Slather on the sunscreen and bug spray, as well. With the unusually warm winter bugs did not have the opportunity to die off and they started swarming around 1 or so. Not bees or anything that would hurt but more annoying gnat like bugs.

Fifth, be prepared to laugh at the attention-seekers in your head so you don't get annoyed the whole time. There seemed to be several people who wanted everyone to notice them at the long sleuth box and would make loud comments non-stop. Sometimes even to the extent of being rude. I had to start finding ways to laugh at them in my mind to make it tolerable. Like why would a 60 year old man need everyone to know he had paid $1,000 to go diamond mining so bad that he loudly mentions it more than ten times in 2 hours? I'm sure you can guess my explanation.

Sixth, wear crappy clothes. You will get dirty. You will get a little wet. Save the cute outfit for dinner later that night to celebrate the gems you found because, more likely than not, you will.

Seventh, bring your own snacks. This isn't a quick jaunt and you will want a drink and, probably, at least a snack. The bologna and cheese sandwiches we took never tasted so good!

Overall, this is an inexpensive experience that taught me a lot about gems, rocks, mining, tolerance and myself. It was much cheaper than going to the movies and we got to be outdoors together. Enjoy "mom" because she is the "Field of Dreams" of grandmas. Get your directions before you go because even GPS signals went out. Enjoy the drive, enjoy the views and enjoy this must-do experience in the Great Smoky Mountains!

Visited May 2012
17 Thank AdaptiveTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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