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“Pretty rocks and sometimes a gem”

Emerald Hollow Mine
Ranked #1 of 3 things to do in Hiddenite
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The one and only public emerald mine in the world, covering 69 acres.
Huntersville, North Carolina
Level Contributor
102 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Pretty rocks and sometimes a gem”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 8, 2012

Our third visit to theEmerald Hollow mine in Hiddenite. The first one yielded a nice emerald that was made into a pendant for my wife. The mine is a pretty well thought out attraction. There is a small legality of signing in for a mining permit and then you can go to the sluice for your first bucket of dire to work. At sign in you can opt to just sluice or sluice and search through the stream or even go and actually dig. The Hiddenite area is a unique geology which is one of the few places in the world where you can find emeralds. The real finds, large crystal emeralds, are at the commercial mines that are more advanced than. emerald Hollow. We enjoy the sluicing. You get a free bucket of raw dirt and then have a seat at the covered sluice way. Dump some dirt in the framed screen that is provided and rinse/ sift and rinse and maybe you will find something good, there are also more buckets to pay for and depending on what they have "salted" in them you can get something worthwhile out of it. We got 2 $25 dollar 5 gallon buckets and ended up with two big bags of items to take home. I go through them at home to really check them out. I know we got several emeralds, some rubies and garnets. It is rare to find clear crystal gems of great value but we are happy with a few that can be cut by a lapidary and mounted. You will get a little wet and will definitely get dirty but it is good family fun and worth the trip. The staff working the sluice are very nice and helpful. They even pick up discarded stones that are actually of value and give them to you and will tell you. What you have found.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank LMcFred
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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282 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
107 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
“Par for the course. Good family fun not for the serious gem hunter.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 2, 2012

If you are bringing children 5-11 and don't mind getting dirty then this is the place for you.
I was there with my wife on 9-2-12 spent $10.00 got a free couple buckets of "till" to sift in the
water flumes. and had a pretty good time. Don't expect to find anything of real cash value. The whole point is for the kids to ind some neat looking minerals.
Be forewarned the facilities are pretty worn down and make sure to bring old rags and maybe even a change of clothes.
My wife and I love these kinds of places where we can sit down and pick though the sand, rock, and in this case red mud, and spend some time together. We didn't do all the activities there on this trip but plan on going back. you never know what fun you can have.
just keep in mind it is for family fun not the serous gem hunter. and you are not likely to find any thing of real cash value but you might make some good memories with your loved ones.
73's DE KG4MXV

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank KG4MXV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HGI-Customer-Service, Public Relations Manager at Emerald Hollow Mine, responded to this review, September 26, 2012
Hiddenite Gems would like to start by thanking you for visiting us here at the mine and we apologize for any problems you had during your visit to the mine. This three mile strip of land has produced the largest faceted emerald from the entire North American continent, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Digging is hard work yet can be very fruitful. We encourage serious gem hunters to come to our mine because statistically it takes more than a couple of days of digging to find emerald and hiddenite veins. A serious gem hunter is exactly what it takes to find a vein here at the mine. Although we have amateurs stumble upon vein on occasion. We currently have a full time restroom attendant. We have worked really hard to provide our customers with clean facilities with a rustic, outdoor feel.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Statesville, North Carolina, United States
Level Contributor
64 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Rude and Crude”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 31, 2012

This is a tourist trap. The gems you find in the buckets of dirt are put there for you to find. The gems on the ground are thrown out for you to find. The personel are rude to the visitors and treat you like idiots. It reminds me of a bunch of hippies in a commune by the lake in the 60's. We got told to leave because we picked up some crystals thrown out on the ground for schol kids that were being bussed in. We had no idea that they were thrown out for school kids. No one told us, so how were we to know? The staff raised Holy HELL are us for diging in what they called a private claim. No one told us we couldnt dig there. Digging on the property results in finding absolutely nothing. Everything is thrown out by hand for you to find or placed by the staff in very expensive buckets of dirt for you to buy. Don't waste your money going to this tourist trap. It is a setup!

Helpful?
9 Thank JohnHarveySmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HGI-Customer-Service, Public Relations Manager at Emerald Hollow Mine, responded to this review, September 26, 2012
Hiddenite Gems would like to start by thanking you for visiting us here at the mine and apologize for any problems that you had during your visit. We would like to explain how our process works; yes we do sell many “enriched” buckets as well as “native” buckets. The native bucket is locally dug ore/clay/material from our own dig pit with nothing added. Many people like to be ensured that they get something in their bucket, so in order to guarantee them something we have the “enriched” buckets. We strive to make our employees and customers happy. It is unfortunate that you had a bad experience with an employee here at the mine. We encourage you to speak with us in person in more detail regarding any rude behavior that you experienced from our staff during your visit.

We are home to one of the largest educational programs in this region. We make sure that these school groups get enough gemstones for each individual child that visits so that they may use them for educational purposes. To ensure that each kid is satisfied we do sprinkle gemstones in a roped off area that is clearly seen and visible at the dig area and the creek area. We do ask customers to avoid these areas during the fall season when school groups come to visit us.

Alas, digging for gems can be one of the most difficult but also rewarding activities. It takes a lot of work when digging for a vein. We do provide buckets ranging from $5 to $1,000 with gemstones enriched to ensure that you find something of value during your visit. It is also a really good thing to come after a rainstorm. The erosion from the rain causes alluvial deposits of emeralds and hiddenite to show up in the creek.
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Lexington, Virginia
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“*** BEWARE RIP OFF ***”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 30, 2012

Went here Many times for many years and then slowly year after year they started getting worst but nothing like this last time we spent over 125.00 for a bunch of useless rocks that just covered the bottom of a zip lock sandwich bag and when showed to an employee they just said "Oh Well".
I don't know what happened to this place, Greed or what but not worth the gas and the price to just get a few useless rocks................................Bad, Beware.

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
4 Thank Jack S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HGI-Customer-Service, Public Relations Manager at Emerald Hollow Mine, responded to this review, September 26, 2012
Hiddenite Gems would like to start by thanking you for visiting us here at the mine and we are sad to read that you were unhappy. It is unfortunate that you only left with muddy rocks. Please bring them back to us so that we may help identify these rocks. Many times gems in the rough can be deceiving. It is true that many gemstones may look like a rock (garnets, sapphires, kyanite). The gemstones in the rough can be deceiving and our staff is trained to help anyone evaluate your gemstones for free. If you are not able to make it into the lapidary shop, we are also preparing a gemstone ID page on our website at “hiddenitegems.com” that will be up and running within the next month or two.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vero Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
267 reviews
70 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 190 helpful votes
“Wonderful family fun!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 15, 2012

We’ve been making annual trips to Hiddenite for the past few years. Usually we go as a family group (4 adults, 3 kids), and the kids (ages 4-8) enjoy the experience as much as the adults. When you go gem mining, you go on a treasure hunt. Sometimes you find buried treasure and sometimes you don’t—unless, of course, you buy an “enriched” bucket—but hunting treasure is fun!

The mine area is very rustic. There are toilets, but it’s best to bring a picnic lunch since there aren’t any restaurants near the mine. You might also need sunscreen and bug repellant, and it doesn’t hurt to bring a change of clothing because mining can be messy!

You can sluice through native or “enriched” buckets at the flume for $5/person—that initial fee includes a complimentary, native bucket. After that, if you want to, you can purchase additional buckets which range in price from $5 to $1000. You never know what will be in a bucket, but we’ve found some nice stones in the complimentary buckets. On our latest visit, we found a citrine, an amethyst and a piece of tiger eye that were worth cutting. Check with the mine staff before you discard anything you find—even gems like garnets, topaz, rubies and sapphires might not look like much before they’re cut so, until you learn what to look for, you could easily discard a treasure!

The kids love to play in-and-around the creek. For an additional $5/person you can mine in the creek. The drought has really affected the water flow—it’s really just a trickle--but it’s still a popular search area. (We've never had much luck at the creek but on a previous visit, one of our grandsons found a 8-inch long chunk of amethyst with large veins of quartz running through it. It wasn't suitable for cutting, but it is beautiful and he treasures it.) For a total of $20/person, you have access to the flume, the creek and the open pit area of the mine to dig your own buckets. We’ve never opted to dig our own. (There is a fee/deposit if you rent tools to mine in the creek or dig in the open pit mine.)

When you find a precious or semi-precious stones, having something you found cut, polished and set as a keepsake piece of jewelry is a wonderful experience. The Hiddenite Gems lapidary is the best we’ve ever found. Everyone there is friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, and very skilled. Not only have we been thrilled with every stone they’ve cut for us, but the team at Hiddenite has even done a “rescue” project for us where they turned an ugly, poorly cut sapphire (done elsewhere) into a beautiful stone that was definitely worth setting. Their prices are very reasonable. Overall, we highly recommend Hiddenite Gems, Inc. (http://www.hiddenitegems.com/lapidary.html).

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank cmpvb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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