Gem mining is one of the top attractions in the Blue Ridge Mountains, ranging from North Carolina to Virginia. You can find sapphires, rubies, tigers eye, emeralds, amethysts, and more! Some attractions even offer to set your finds into jewelry of your own, as well as polish and cut them.
Gift shops at gem mines are always available, and sell everything little memorabilia items, to home decor items, from geodes to fossils. Some shops even have creeks you can walk alongside, museums, lunch, axe-throwing and other activities. Regardless, a visit to a Blue Ridge Mountain Gem Mine is bound to make your trip more enjoyable for the whole family.
But, where do you find these ... *cough cough* ...“hidden gems,”?? Our Best Gem Mines in the Blue Ridge Mountains guide below highlights our top picks. Feel free to check them out! We're sure you'll find one in the area your visiting.
1 - Rockhound Ridge Mine NC
Located in Sylva, NC, Rockhound Ridge Gem Mine is a highly-recommended gem mine by many visitors. With rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and more, you can mine from gems and minerals from all around the world.
Each gem you find will be identified by their staff for you, and you can even have the gems cut and polished. The mine has plenty of buckets to go, along with gem mining kits to take home. Before you leave, don’t forget to stop by the gift shop and check out all the shiny jewels.
2 - Pigeon Forge Gem Mine TN
In Pigeon Forge, TN, the Pigeon Forge Gem Mine is a popular attraction. You can pan for your own gems, and if you like, you can have them cut and polished in the store. If you want your gem as more than a keepsake, the staff will have the jewel set into jewelry for you as well.
Don’t forget to stop by the fossil and mineral museum and check out the remnants of the past. The gem mine also has a gift shop for you to peruse, holding jewelry, crystals, fossils, and more.
3 - Huck's Lost Mine GA
Huck’s Lost Mine is located in Blue Ridge, GA. It’s a family-friendly attraction that has plenty of mining for you and your family to do, ranging from a 2-pound bag to a 3-gallon bucket. Search for rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethysts, and more.
Geode cracking is also a fun option, and you can even view the fossils in store. Huck’s Lost Mine offers axe-throwing as well, and don’t forget to check out their store, too. The shop has all sorts of little souvenirs, such as polished stones, necklaces, raptor claws, and more.
4 - Chimney Rock Gemstone Mine NC
In Chimney Rock, NC, the Chimney Rock Gemstone Mine is the perfect place to spend your day. All equipment is provided for your experience, and the workers are there to help you identify all your treasures. Birthday parties and field trips are welcome, so feel free to check out their services.
Geode cracking and outside panning are great ways to add on to the fun, and there’s even a creek for visitors to sit and relax at. As always, their retail rooms are filled with sterling silver jewelry, minerals, rock decor, and more.
5 - Aska Mining Company GA
In Blue Ridge, GA, the Aska Mining Company is one of the many options for a fun afternoon. With rubies, sapphires, citrine, tiger’s eye, and more, you’re bound to find the perfect gem that suits you. No reservations are needed. Not only do they have gem mining, but they also have river tubing services for you to enjoy.
You can relax in the water as you float downstream on a bright and sunny day. The shop has many little trinkets for you to take home, and the Iron Bridge Cafe is there if you’re hungry. They have pizza, wings, their famous “Heart Stopper,” and more.
6 - Foggy Mountain Gem Mine NC
Down in Boone, NC, Foggy Mountain Gem Mine is a family-owned gem mine. They offer the finest gem ore from the top mines all across the world. A gem find is guaranteed in every bucket, so come along and check it out!
You can pan for jewels, and when you’re done, you can have them polished. You can also have your gems set into jewelry as a neat keepsake. They also have an online store where you can purchase jewelry and other gifts, as well.
7 - Old Smoky Gem Mine TN
Gatlinburg, TN is where you’ll find the Old Smoky Gem Mine. You can find amethyst, topaz, citrine, emerald, tourmaline, ruby, and plenty more. With friendly and informative staff, you’ll be able to learn all about the gems that you find.
Geode cracking is another fun activity to participate in, and there are a few showcase crystals for you to view, as well! Your gems can be polished and set if you like, and they’ll even make some jewelry out of it if you want, too. If you’re ever visiting Gatlinburg, feel free to check out the Old Smoky Gem Mine!
8 - Outpost Gold & Gem Mining Co. GA
Outpost Gold & Gem Mining Co. is a company down in Helen, GA. With both gold and gem panning for you to enjoy, this mine is a highly-recommended place. Fossils, geodes, and more are available, as well as a gift shop with jewelry and other goods.
You can choose bucket sizes from many different ranges, and the staff is very helpful and outgoing! Outpost Gold & Gem Mining Co. is a great place to take your family, so come check it out. Maybe you’ll even take home some rubies, too.
9 - Pisgah Forest Gem Mine NC
The Pisgah Forest Gem Mine is located in Pisgah Forest, NC. You’ll find rubies, sapphires, amethysts, fossils, and more. You can walk by the creek, and even stop by the koi pond to feed the fish. Field trips and birthday parties are welcome, and the mine is also pet-friendly.
Not only do they have outdoor mining, but indoor and blacklight mining as well! Stop by to crack some geodes, or listen in on the lessons of the different rocks and gemstones.
10 - Rio Dòce Gem Mine NC
Down in Spruce Pine, NC, Rio Dòce Gem Mine is a wonderful place to mine for all sorts of gemstones, including rubies, garnets, aquamarine, sapphires, and more. Have your stones cut to whatever size you like, and you can also get them made into beautiful jewelry.
All equipment is provided, and the staff is willing to help you out with whatever you need. The gift shop holds some of their finest jewelry, rock decor, and more! They partake in special events, and there’s even an online store to check out.
11 - Mystery Hill, NC
Miners can purchase a few different sized "mine rough bags" to use for mining, including one with real fossils.
Kids can sift through the dirt to find shiny gemstones from all around the world, that they can take home. They’ll even get a colorful miner’s helmet to remember their Mystery Hill Gem Mining adventure!
12 - Maggie Valley Rock Shop and Gem Mine NC
Visit Maggie Valley Gem Mining, Rock Shop and Jewelry with the whole family for a fun time mining for gems! Visitors can purchase raw bags, and sift the contents using flowing water to find hidden gems.
Be sure the visit the really awesome and cool Rock Shop for a unique and beautiful gift shop. They have tons of items, including memorabilia, geodes, fossils, and very large gem and minerals as well.