Metal Detecting is the use of a "metal detector" to locate ferrous (iron based) or non-ferrous metals. Metal detectors come in a wide range of designs and many are specifically designed for a particular type of hunting. Some people hunt old battlefields or bivouac sites of military units, and are looking for "relics" of those units. So, they would choose a metal detector that is designed for relic hunting. Some people nugget shoot for gold nuggets and want a machine that is very sensitive to detect the smallest nuggets. Some search beaches or underwater, so detectors are made to fit those purposes. And some detectors are designed to give good performance over the entire range of activities.
Even if you choose the fanciest metal detector made, with all the latest bells and whistles, it still will not perform correctly if you don't know how to use it properly. There are machines made to operate simply, but they all must be adjusted to one degree or another, and they all give visual or audible signals when a "target" is detected. You must be able to operate the machine correctly and interpret the signals correctly, or many targets will be missed, and worthless targets dug up.
It's not the number of targets detected, it's the quality of targets detected.
If you have never metal detected before, and don't plan on metal detecting for a living (at least not yet) then I suggest getting a metal detector that is moderately priced, with at least these minimums.
1) Ground Balancing (allows the detector to balance itself to the current conditions of where you are working).
2) Sensitivity adjustment (allows the detector to be less sensitive or more sensitive when necessary, especially in areas with a lot of electromagnetic activity, such as power lines).
3) Volume adjustment (doubt if you could find one without a volume control).
4) Discriminator (to reject trash such as old nails and cans, unless of course that's what your after).
5) Visual and audio target identification, showing depth to target and target ID (quarter, nickel, dime, etc).
Don't just run out a buy the most expensive machine you can find. They might be worth all that money, but only if you're going to use it enough to pay for it. Less expensive machines can give acceptable performance with a lot less money.
Where to metal detect? That depends on your target. Gold nuggets? Obviously you would not search in the local school yard. Search out those areas known to produce gold nuggets. Many recreational prospecting and metal detecting clubs have claims that members can work. There are also areas open to the public that can be worked. If you're after coins, you need to search areas that have been frequented by lots of people. Parks, ball fields, church yards, fairgrounds, beaches, school yards, and the list goes on and on. What about relics? Old battlefields, bivouac sites, march routes, wagon trails, old homesteads, ghost towns, and once again, the list goes on and on. What's the bottom line?
RESEARCH - RESEARCH - RESEARCH
Research will save you hundreds of hours searching areas that have not, and will not, produce that which you seek. Where can your start your search? Right here. Hundreds of ghost towns and hundreds of lost treasure stores are listed in the RESEARCH area, and more will be added continuously. Where else? Libraries, bookstores, newspaper archives, history books, magazines, local residents, and the list goes on and on. There is literally an endless supply of information about what you want to find and where you want to find it. You just have to look.
Anyone, young and old, can go metal detecting. Anyone can find treasures with their metal detector. It doesn't take a lot of machinery to do it, just a good metal detector.
Ask the experts!! Ask around!! There are only two (2) gemstone localities in the entire world capable of producing the WORLD FAMOUS and WORLD CLASS “ investors” or “collectors” grade “Pigeon Blood” colored rubies. #1) The Country of Burma, and #2) The Cowee Valley gemstone locality of Western North Carolina, situated near the Town of Franklin, NC.
Experts also agree that within the United States and it’s outlying territories, there are only three (3) gem mines considered by experts capable of producing WORLD CLASS “investors” or “collectors” grade sapphires. The Yogo Gulch sapphire locality located in the State of Montana, the Gem Mountain sapphire locality also located in the state of Montana, and the Cowee Valley ruby and sapphire locality situated in Western North Carolina, near the town of Franklin, NC.
Come enjoy the fresh mountain air, natural Caler Creek water flowing through our flume line, and the scenic and serene beauty of Cowee Valley, North Carolina!
OPERATION OF THE CHEROKEE MINE IS “WEATHER PERMITTING”. THE CHEROKEE MINE IS CLOSED DURING INCLEMENT WEATHER AT THE ON-SITE MANAGER’S DISCRETION (i.e. Extreme Cold temperatures and / or rain and thunderstorms.) If the Mountain Area weather forecast indicates inclement weather, please call the mine at (828)349-2941 prior to your visit, to ensure that the mine is open.
At the Cherokee Ruby Mine, we DO NOT and WILL NOT offer gemstone ore that is "Salted", "Enhanced", "Concentrated", or "Enriched" with low grade, semi-precious stones from elsewhere on earth. All of our gemstone ore is 100% from our on-site excavation. We are the ONLY 100% unsalted mine in Macon County. Our two gallon buckets of ore contain a virtual treasure trove of naturally occurring Cowee Valley “gem quality” gemstones, including: WORLD CLASS and precious investors or collectors grade Rubies and Sapphires, the extremely rare Star Rubies, Star Sapphires, and Star Garnets, cabochon quality Rubies and Sapphires, and semi-precious gem quality Rhodolite Garnets, Pyrope Garnets, Moonstone, Rutile, Siliminite, Kyanite, Corundum, Clear Quartz Crystals and Smokey Quartz Crystals.
These gems are native to the Cowee Valley gemstone locality, and again, many found are of facetable investors or collectors grade quality. Gemstones are like anything else in life…….it is the QUALITY that counts. Although “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” a ruby of the exact grade and quality, as well as many other gems and minerals, are much more expensive than diamonds. In fact, more and more women around the world are trending toward desiring rubies and sapphires, over diamonds, as wedding engagement offerings.
Each year, thousands of people from around the world flock to the popular Western North Carolina Town of Franklin to experience the thrill of finding rare gemstones in the rough. Whether you are a serious or amateur rockhound hoping to fulfill dreams of finding hidden treasures, a teacher desiring a unique learning experience for your students, or a family seeking quality outdoor recreation, we invite you to browse our website to learn more about what the Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine has to offer. See you on the flume line!!
Mining History In Macon County - Franklin, NC
Mining for ruby and sapphire began in Macon County in 1870. Called corundum, low grade rubies and sapphires were mined commercially for abrasives (i.e. sandpaper) and gave work to many men. Corundum and other minerals such as mica and kaolin, were hauled to the railroad by horse and wagon and shipped out of Macon County in large quantities. Tiffany's purchased the entire Cowee Valley in the 1890's, and then two other companies, American Prospecting & Mining Co. and US Ruby Mining Co., also began work hoping to find the source of the extremely high grade rubies and sapphires found within the corundum mines. All three companies ended the search in the early part of the 20th century leaving the area open to rockhounds and gem enthusiasts. The actual source of our rubies and sapphires has never been found - yet.
May 1st thru October 31st
9:00am to 4:00pm
Last "Dig-Your-Own" Customers accepted
by 1:00 PM;
Last "Pre-filled" Customers
accepted by 2:00. Although the mine remains open until 4:00 PM, there are NO admissions after 2:00 PM.
If you are just interested in finding something neat, I would recommend one of the salted places. It takes less time and you'll find something, but won't be worth much. True rockhounds go to places like Cherokee to find only native gems and minerals. Mark L - Herndon, VA
News & Events
The Mine will be CLOSED on Tuesday, August 11th, 2015.
Effective 7/17/2015, New Mining Rates will be in effect.
Beginning Wednesday, September 16th, 2015, the mine will be closed each Wednesday until the end of the season. Those dates are: 9/16, 9/23, 9/30, 10/7, 10/14, 10/21, and 10/28. The mine will also be closed on Tuesday, September 22nd.
DIG YOUR OWN
In addition to offering buckets of mine gravel, you can also “DIG YOUR OWN” buckets!
You can keep what you find in a 37 acre plowed field
Crater of Diamonds State Park
Diamond Discovery Center
Diamond Springs Water Park
Information Center / Gift Shop
Kimberlite Cafe´ Restaurant
Hours of Operation
Why Diamonds Can Be Found
History of the Diamond Mine
History of the Park
Digging for Diamonds
What Should I Bring?
What Should I Wear?
What Do Diamonds Look Like?
What is a Carat?
How Do I Search for Diamonds?
Other Things To Do
Calendar of Events
Wildlife Observation Blind
Nearby Arkansas State Parks
Attractions, Lodging and Dining
Maps and Directions
Book Online. Click here to check availability for your vacation at Crater of Diamonds State Park.
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ENews Signup - Click here to register for the Crater of Diamonds State Park enewsletter.
Diamond Photo Gallery - Click here to view photos of diamonds found in our mine.
Latest Diamond Finds - Click here to learn about the latest diamonds found in our mine.
Heat Advisory: While heat indexes are high at this time, park visitors are urged to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses. Drink plenty of fluids but avoid beverages that contain caffeine or large amounts of sugar. Wear loose, cool clothing. Take breaks as needed in a shaded area. At first signs of heat illness (dizziness, nausea, headaches, muscle cramps), move to a cooler location, rest for a few minutes, and slowly drink a cool liquid. Seek medical attention immediately if conditions do not improve. Keep pets safe during this heat wave, too. Be aware that high temperatures can lead to heat stroke in your dog causing permanent damage or death in a very short time.
A Gem Among Diamond Sites
Arkansas The Natural State is blessed with an abundance of geological wonders. Crater of Diamonds State Park, the only diamond-producing site in the world open to the public, stands out as a unique geological "gem" for you to explore and enjoy.
Here you can experience a one-of-a-kind adventure hunting for real diamonds. You'll search over a 37 1/2-acre plowed field, the eroded surface of an ancient volcanic crater that 100 million years ago brought to the surface the diamonds and some of the semi-precious stones lucky visitors find here today.
Diamonds come in all colors of the rainbow. The three colors unearthed here are white, brown and yellow, in that order. Crater of Diamonds State Park is a rock hound's delight since, along with diamonds, more than 40 types of rocks and minerals can found here, too. These rocks and minerals include lamproite, amethyst, banded agate, jasper, peridot, garnet, quartz, calcite, barite, and hematite.
In 1906, John Huddleston, the local farmer who owned this property then, found the first diamonds near Murfreesboro, Arkansas, and started the diamond mining rush. According to the history of Crater of Diamonds State Park, after a series of ill-fated diamond mining ventures, followed by tourist attractions, the diamond mine site became an Arkansas state park in 1972.
Many remnants of old mining ventures remain within the park boundary, including the Mine Shaft Building, the Guard House, mining plant foundations, old mining equipment and smaller artifacts. Nowhere else is North American diamond mining history as evident or as well preserved as here.
Along with the diamond search area, the park has hundreds of acres of natural forest featuring a diversity of flora and fauna and offering visitors interesting things to do. Arkansas's natural and cultural diversity evident here in the park's geology, history, plants and animals makes Crater of Diamonds State Park a unique Arkansas attraction. It is a one-of-a-kind experience in the world. You are invited to experience this unique attraction and enjoy the thrill of digging for diamonds in the rough. The park staff will identify your finds for you. And unlike other diamond-bearing sites, our park policy is "finders, keepers." Any diamonds, semi-precious stones, rocks, or minerals you unearth are yours to keep, regardless of their value.
To locate more attractions near Crater of Diamonds State Park, visit the Attractions, Lodging and Dining page on the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism website, Arkansas.com.
Crater of Diamonds State Park
Crater of Diamonds State Park
209 State Park Road
Murfreesboro, AR 71958
The Emerald Hollow Mine is the only emerald mine in the world that is open to the public for prospecting. Located in the heart of one of the only emerald bearing deposits on the North American continent, finds worth thousands of dollars are not at all uncommon here. One recent find in the area is currently valued at over one million dollars! Best of all, the surface has hardly been scratched, offering mind boggling potential for plenty more big finds. The latest finds are astounding, breaking the largest emerald crystal record of 1686 carats.
We invite all to visit the mine and try your luck at prospecting for valuable gemstones. We offer three large "state of the art" sluiceways where you may wash buckets filled with ore taken directly from the mine. Additionally, unlike most gem mines that are open to the public, we offer other prospecting options as well.
Encompassing more than seventy beautiful wooded acres with access to over a half mile of winding creeks, we also allow visitors to prospect for gemstones in the creeks and permitted digging areas.
Besides the excitement of finding valuable gemstones, the mine offers breathtaking scenic views, abundant wildlife and plenty of nature at its best. Please do not pick the wild flowers. We have wooded picnic areas and public restrooms. All set in a rustic mining town atmosphere, we also have a gift shop and lapidary shop where you may shop for fine jewelry and affordable gemstone gifts.
Located less than an hour from the Blue Ridge Parkway, there are plenty of hotels, restaurants and other accommodations available in the nearby towns of Statesville and Taylorsville. We also offer a very popular educational field trip program for schools, scout groups, and other organizations.
Whether a serious prospector or a family looking for great outdoor recreation, everybody enjoys a trip to the Emerald Hollow Mine! For your convenience, we have provided complete pricing information below.
Sluicing: (Sluicing Permit=$5.00) Sluicing is the most popular (and easiest) method of prospecting at the Emerald Hollow Mine. This simple process involves taking a seat on our covered sluiceway and washing buckets of ore to find gemstones. The buckets we offer are filled with ore taken directly from the Hiddenite grounds. Miners can sift through either "Native" or "Enriched" buckets. Any of these buckets are subject to produce big finds. More than sixty-three different types of natural gems and minerals occur here and are subject to being found in any of these buckets. Many of these are very rare, including emerald, aquamarine, sapphire, garnet, topaz, amethyst, citrine, rutile, tourmaline and hiddenite.
spacerSluicing Ore at the Emerald Hollow Mine
There is a $5.00 general admission fee for sluicing. We include one complimentary bucket of ore with your admission fee. Additional buckets of ore must be purchased.
Prices for additional buckets range from $5.00 to $1000.00. We have many varieties and prices of buckets to choose from. For example, we have the popular $15.00 "Super Bucket" which is a large 5 gallon enriched bucket that is recognized as a great value. For the truly serious, we have the $100.00 "Cutter's Choice" bucket which is guaranteed to produce facet grade rough gemstones!
NOTE:All persons taking a seat on the sluiceway and sluicing ore, must pay the admission fee.
HELPFUL HINTS: Don't wear your Sunday best for this activity! During the chilly seasons, latex gloves to keep your hands dry will come in handy. Also, if you're planning to make a day of it, a seat cushion will make things a little more comfortable.
Creeking: (Sluicing/Creeking Permit=$10.00) Cutting through the gemstone rich ridges of the mine, there are creeks with sparkling clean, clear, mountain waters gently flowing through them. Through thousands of years of natural erosional processes, the creek beds have filled with gemstones from the mine above. Making for ideal prospecting, these creeks are seldom over ankle to knee deep.
Prospecting in the creek can be very rewarding. It is most productive to work the creek gravels with a screen, although some prefer the easier method of just "eyeing" the thousands of rocks in the creek bed, hoping to catch a glimpse of a nice gemstone. Full of beautiful, serene views and especially refreshing during the summertime, the creek is a great place to make a big find!
Creeking at the Emerald Hollow Mine
Access to prospect the creek is only $5.00 more added on to your general admission fee of $5.00. This $10.00 creeking/sluicing permit allows you unlimited access to both the creek and sluiceway. Also, if you don't have tools, we will rent you a creek screen and hand shovel for only $2.00 more. A $5.00 deposit is required for the creeking set. $3 of your deposit will be refunded upon return of the tools.
NOTE: All persons going to the creek must purchase the $10.00 sluicing/creeking permit. Children three and under are free (as long as they don't take up a seat on the sluiceway).
Digging: (Combination Permit=$20.00) Digging at the mine can be hard work, but many motherlode finds are made chasing veins. For those who prefer easier prospecting, there is also lots of bare ground for surface collecting in the mining area.
Purchasing a $20.00 "combination" permit will give you access to all the mine has to offer! Not only are you permitted to the sluicing and creeking areas, but you may also go up to the mine and try your hand at digging in our permitted areas. If you did not bring digging tools, we rent digging sets for $5.00. A $10.00 deposit is required for the digging set. $5.00 of this deposit will be refunded upon return of the tools.
NOTE: If you are a serious digger with serious equipment (i.e., anything more than buckets, shovels), the digging permit is $45 instead of $20, per OSHA/EPA regulations. YOUR TOOLS MUST BE APPROVED. Please understand that digging here can be very difficult. This mine is in a real Emerald deposit and is preserved for pick and shovel mining. Veins are vertical and are full of mica (the big key for our veins).
spacerDigging at the Emerald Hollow Mine
Our hours of operation are 8:30am to sunset (ranging from 5:00pm in mid-winter to 8:00pm in mid-summer). We are open every day of the year, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There are RV parks with complete hookups very nearby. Our friendly, knowledgable and helpful staff is always available to answer your questions, offer instructions, and help identify your finds. We also have a complete lapidary shop that will turn your rough gemstones into beautiful cut stones and jewelry. Click here to learn more about our lapidary services.
HELPFUL HINTS: Wear old clothes and shoes. Plan on getting soil on you! Bring a change of clothes and shoes, an old towel or two, and sunscreen and bug spray.
Sluicing Permit = $5.00
Sluicing/ Creeking Permit = $10.00
Combination Permit = $20.00 Not only are you permitted to the sluicing and creeking areas, but you may also go up to the mine and try your hand at digging in our permitted areas.
Creek Screen and Hand Shovel = only $2.00 more. A $5.00 deposit is required for the creeking set. $3 of your deposit will be refunded upon return of the tools.
Digging Tools = we rent digging sets for $5.00. A $10.00 deposit is required for the digging set. $5.00 of this deposit will be refunded upon return of the tools.
If you are a serious digger with serious equipment (i.e., anything more than buckets, shovels, small rock hammers & picks), the digging permit is $45 instead of $20, per OSHA/EPA regulations. YOUR TOOLS MUST BE APPROVED