In August 2017, we visited the mountains of North Carolina to see friends, be closer to the path of totality for the eclipse and to get a break from the Florida heat.
When traveling, I am always on the lookout for unique learning experiences. The kids were very interested in gem mining so I researched a couple of places and decided on Emerald Village. It was a longer drive for us but I was intrigued by the history of the site as well as the gem mining opportunity.
The mines at Emerald Village were started during the depression as a source for feldspar as the main ingredient in the Bon Ami cleaning product. Ironically, any other items found including gemstones were tossed away as worthless tailings. Today, customers can pay for a pass to glean precious metals and stones from those tailing piles. I would imagine that you really need to know what to look for.
We toured the lovely grounds and museum for a fee and payed to sift through a medium sized bucket.
|One of the mines with old equipment about.
|Visitors can walk back in the shallow cave and feed the trout in the pond
|The Bon Ami Museum and Mine tour entrance at Emerald Village
|Inside the mine museum at Emerald Village
|An old post office on site at Emerald Village
|The Discovery Mill at Emerald Village
|Antiques in the Discovery Mill building at Emerald Village are numerous and diverse
|Gem mining flume at Emerald Village