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Welcome to the Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine!
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. Check out www.awesomegems.com to learn how gemstones are graded, and to examine their monetary values per carat.
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 CHROKEE MINE IS CLOSED, AND IF OPEN, WILL BE CLOSED DURING INCLEMENT WEATHER AT THE ON-SITE MANAGER’S DISCRETION (i.e. Extreme Cold temperatures and / or rain and thunderstorms.)
At the Cherokee Ruby Mine, we WILL NOT offer gemstone ore that is "Salted" or "Enriched" with low grade, semi-precious stones from elsewhere on earth. We are one of the two (2) last remaining *Native Gemstone ONLY* mines currently open to the public in the Franklin, NC area. 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, Almondine Garnets, Pyrope Garnets, Spinel, Zircon, 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.

Photo Courtesy Rick Jacquot

Our Gemstones

Browse our constantly growing
gallery of both rough and cut
gemstones which can be found
right here at the Cherokee Mine!

How to Mine
 
Here's a little primer so you
know what to bring, and what
to expect when you get here.

Getting Here
 
Open 7 Days a Week
*Weather Permitting*
April 1st thru October 31st
9:00am to 4:00pm
Last Customers accepted
between 3:00 and 3:15pm

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
EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2014
BEGINNING JULY 1st, 2014 the Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine Will Proudly Open For Business as a “DIG YOUR OWN” Gemstone Mine.