Most mines sell gem dirt in a bucket or bag (few allow digging) and you may have to pay an admission fee for the day. You are provided with a screen for washing and there is a flume - a trough of running water - with a bench along it's length. The dirt goes in the screen, the screen goes in the water and the mud is washed away. Well, it's not quite that easy but it is completely safe and mine operators are on hand to help with technique and identification.

Miners soon learned the richest deposits were composed of blue and yellow clays called illam which lay just below the surface of lush valley farmlands. During their tortuous journey downstream , most gem crystals were worn to rounded pebbles, but harder than host minerals, they managed to retain much of their size.Every available square meter of stream bed was mined until all known gem areas were exhausted.

The miners discovered that the rivers they were working were in reality "surface streams" and that by digging downward from 7 to 30 meters, "ancient streams" could be encountered. Unfortunately most of the ancient streams lay beneath cultivated fields. Prospecting and mining operations caused great destruction to crops and created considerable animosity between farmer and miner Keep in mind most mines are open from spring through autumn. As always have you have further questions or need additional information call our toll free number or use the request information form link found at the top of this page Bring ziploc bags or a plastic butter dish to take your stones home in (no glass). Rubber gloves are handy if it's chilly or you have a nice manicure and a hat and some sunblock if it's sunny although many mines provide cover on the "flume".

The wooden benches get hard as the day goes on so you might need a cushion to sit on or old towels work well too and you can use them to wipe your hands. Wear old clothes and tennis shoes or boots and bring a plastic bag to put your muddy shoes in and an extra pair to wear in the car. Bring a picnic lunch, most mines provide a place to eat out of rain or sun , plan to spend the day! And you will need to bring the camera for those pictures to show friends you played in the mud in North Carolina and found beautiful gem stones.

Have a question or need a custom quote?

If you would like to ask a question or need custom quote, please email me or call me at 080-22288855 or 9164558855.