Gem Capital of the World

Warm water rushes through the flumes. Your hands are filled with gritty sand as you run your hand over top of the mesh mining pan. You feel something small, smooth and unexpected under your hand. You quickly begin to wash it off in the water and there it is; the small but perfect gem you have been waiting for. This is what being in the mining capital of the world is all about. Girl finding gemstones at Gem Mountain

The Spruce Pine area is best known for its world-class mining, and we are proud to be home to numerous mining establishments who know a thing or two about gems and the mining process. Spruce Pine has been a haven for rock hounds for many years and we are home to the annual North Carolina Mineral and Gem Festival. The NC Mineral and Gem Festival, held the first weekend in August,  brings thousands of people from all over the country to Spruce Pine every year to celebrate earth’s treasures.

We are home to  multiple award-winning gem mines that allow you and your family to mine for precious stones and gems. You also have the option to turn these newfound gems into jewelry that you can wear! Mitchell County is even home to a former Tiffany’s Jewelry emerald mine that local gem mines sponsor digs at every year. You may have even seen some of our gem mines on The Travel Channel and other national media.

Emerald Village, Little Switzerland, NC

Whether you are looking to mine for gems, or just purchase them already crafted into beautiful jewelry, we have a variety of locally owned and operated gem mines and jewelry stores. Our local gem mines will make sure that your mining experience here is one that you will treasure forever!

Our Area’s Gem MinesGem Mountain, Spruce PIne, NC

Emerald Village

Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine

Rio Doce Gem Mine

The Emerald Mine

Mine & Digging Trips

Hoot Owl Mine, Mitchell County NC
Gem Mountain’s Hoot Owl Mine Trip

Step back in time as we take you to one of the oldest mines in our area. This impressive mine has been dormant for many years. At one time Aquamarine stones weighing up to 150lb. were found along with Emeralds.

Crabtree Emerald Mine, Little Switzerland NC

Emerald Village”s Crabtree Emerald Mine

One of the unique experiences available to the visitor to Emerald Village is the opportunity to prospect and dig for emeralds in the dumps at the Crabtree Emerald Mine. This mine produced emeralds from 1895 (including for the Tiffany Company of New York) until the mine closed in the 1990s. The actual mine shaft went underground several hundred feet and lies flooded under a small pond.

Blacklight Mine Tours

Blacklight tours, Emerald Village Little Switzerland NC

Looking for an experience that’s “out of this world”? Emerald Village offers night-time underground mine tours that unlock vibrant hidden colors available only under ultraviolet light, commonly called black light. Check out on Emerald Village’s website.