If you’re looking for a place to go that is completely family friendly, but can also give you the real aquamarine mining experience then you may want to head to Gem Mountain in Spruce Pine, NC for your next treasure hunting vacation.
Mining at Gem Mountain
The first and easiest way to do your mining at Gem Mountain is to purchase a bucket of ore from them and head to one of their many covered flumes, which are also enclosed and heated during the cooler months.
Not only does Gem Mountain have native ore buckets available, but they also have enriched buckets from many areas and with man types of gems in them.
Aquamarine Mining at the Brushy Creek Mine
For the real deal though, you can go to Gem Mountains actual working aquamarine mine. This is the Brushy Creek Aquamarine mine, and for only $65 for adults and $30 for kids 12 and under you get to go and experience what it means to do some real aquamarine mining.
This tour of the mine actually includes transportation, equipment, and a guide, so it is really a great value. Tours leave at 10am and return at 2pm from Gem Mountain.
So how is aquamarine mined at the Brushy Creek Aquamarine Mine? Well the mine has regularly scheduled times that they will actually blast at the mine to loosen up the pegmatite that the aquamarine is formed in.
Since they do the really hard part of breaking up the stone you can mine for your aquamarine one of two ways.
The easiest way is simply to walk around turning over some of the ruble and digging around to see if you can find the gems. If you’re there the first day after they blast this is a very productive way to find your aquamarine.
The other way of aquamarine mining that may require a bit more work is to look for some big chunks of pegmatite that may have crystals in them and use a sledgehammer to break them apart.
Either way you do your mining you shouldn’t go away disappointed. To go to the Brushy Creek Aquamarine Mine reservations are required, and the waiting list can be many months long. So get your reservations in early.
Equipment needed to mine for aquamarine
All the basic types equipment you may need are actually provided as part of your fee at the mine. So the list below is more food for thought then a need to have.
-Safety glasses (sharp pieces of stone in you eye will ruin your day)
-Rock hammer (useful if you plan on just digging a little or a lot)
-Heavy-duty gloves (hard rock mining is very hard on the hands)
-Sledge-hammer (Try to get one that has some weight, but remember you’ll be swinging it a lot)
-Chisels (get ones that are long and can be held in your hand comfortably)
-Wedges (to help split the rock and move large pieces of material from the walls)
-Food and Water
-Hand broom (can come in handy)
How to get to Gem Mountain
Gem Mountain is open from 1 March to 31 December, 9am to 5pm, closed on Sundays. On Memorial and Labor Day they are open 9am to 7pm.
To get to Gem Mountain and the Brushy Creek Aquamarine Mine you will want to fly into Ashville, NC. You’ll need to get a rental can since the mine is 43 miles away. You can make reservations at one of the hotels in Spruce Pine, NC which are just minutes from the mine.
Since the address provided below will take you directly to Gem Mountain, and they will take you to the Brushy Creek Aquamarine Mine from there, no further direction should be necessary.
Contacting Gem Mountain
For additional information about the mine or to make your reservations contact:
1370 Highway 226
Spruce Pine, NC 28777
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