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“Fun Day Mining for Gems”

Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine
Ranked #6 of 33 things to do in Franklin
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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.
Ranger, Georgia
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Fun Day Mining for Gems”
Reviewed September 22, 2013

This was our second time here. After the first time we made sure to plan enough time to check our dirt properly. If it your first time they will help you with what to look for and even check your dirt after you think you are finished. Yes we missed some garnets and a few broken sapphires. Bring sun screen, plan to get your hands dirty, and plan for a great time.

Visited September 2013
5 Thank Jay B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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154 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Alton, Virginia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Second time fun”
Reviewed August 27, 2013

This is the second time I have been here with my 2 grandchildren. First for my husband. We basically had the owner all to ourselves. We did 8 buckets and found garnets, moonstones, rutile and sillimanite. We also found some beautiful rocks that we took home. Maria, the owner, went through all our stones with large tweezers. I found so much sillimanite that we called we the "sillimanite queen". We had great fun 2 years ago and we had more fun this time. We stayed about 4 hours or so. It took that much time for the 4 of us to go through the 8 buckets of dirt. I would love to go back there again. We didn't get very dirty which was great.

Visited August 2013
4 Thank JacsBay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mount Dora, Florida
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed July 31, 2013

This place is really great! It is actually an unsalted mine. The owner will actually double check what you've sifted through and thought was nothing, to make sure you get everything out of there. Great prices! We came home with a couple rubies and sapphires! Also, very educational!

Visited July 2013
7 Thank Chris and Sara T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Awesome day!”
Reviewed July 6, 2013

Maria and Ray were s great help! Spent 3 hrs on 6 buckets and got some great gems! Having 2 Sapphires and 1 garnet cut and polished. We can't wait to get them back! Awesome memories and vauable finds! This is the real deal...unsalted...wouldn't have it any other way!

Visited July 2013
3 Thank hokiefamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stow, Ohio
Level Contributor
21 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Authentic mining and very nice and helpful owner”
Reviewed July 3, 2013

We visited this mine on July 2 driving about 1 1/2 hours to get there from the Sapphire Valley/Cashiers area. It was well worth the drive - but don't follow your GPS - follow the directions on the mine's web site. Our GPS led us to some gated community off of Hwy 23. Once we got back into the town of Franklin, we found our way to the mine which is just a short drive out of town. We arrived and got our briefing from the owner who helped us all day along with her son. As other reviews say, this mine does not "salt" their dirt - so what you find will be authentic native gems. You do have to sort through your stones carefully to find something of value which can be easy to miss. However, after you sort through your gravel, you put it all in an empty bucket and then the owner or her son go through it again looking for anything you might have missed. We did miss a couple sapphires and other things which they salvaged for us. They were supposed to close at 4 PM, but we didn't end up leaving until after 5 since we got a late start.
The owner is a very nice lady who talks much like a teacher telling us all about each type of stone and how some of the ones we had weren't really gemstones but how they could still polish up nicely if we wanted to use them for something. She had been friends with the previous owners of the mine for years and learned from them how to identify the stones. She took a lot of time with my daughters going over several types of stones and showing them what to look for.
At the end of the day, the owner said she had been mining a little earlier in the day and brought out her bottle of gems to show us. After she poured them all out to show my daughters, she told them they could have them all!! This was a real treat. We spent a lot of time talking to the owner about the history of the mine and her love for mining as well as the history of the area.
I don't have any basis for comparison of this mine versus others, but I can tell you our experience was 100% positive and we'd recommend this mine any time. You do need to be patient as it takes a whole to sort through your dirt, but you may just find something nice. The cost was fairly small - $15 each which included two buckets of dirt for each person. We thought we would end up buying more dirt, but it took us about an hour per bucket to go through our dirt so we didn't end up buying any more.

Visited July 2013
7 Thank adjuster-jd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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