How to Find Emeralds in North Carolina

••• emerald headland 7. image by mdb from

North Carolina is known for its abundance of minerals and gemstones. Emeralds are among the many naturally occurring treasures in North Carolina. There are currently two emerald mines in North Carolina open to the public: the Crabtree Emerald Mine near Emerald Village, and Hiddenite Gems Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite.

Crabtree Emerald Mine

  1. Schedule Your Visit

  2. Contact the Mountain Area Gem and Mineral Association to schedule a visit to the Crabtree Emerald Mine. After being granted permission you must print two copies of a release form from the website.

  3. Release and Fees

  4. Sign and mail in one copy to the M.A.G.M.A. Club along with your check or money order for the total of your fees. As of 2018, the Crabtree Emerald Mine charges $20 per adult per day.

  5. Carry the Release

  6. Sign and retain the second copy of the release form. You will need to carry this copy with you during your visit to the mine. According to the Crabtree Emerald Mine, if you do not have the release form with you at the mine you will be asked to leave the property.

  7. Rules and Digging

  8. Follow the rules of the mine. Use only hand tools and do not tunnel or dig into the walls of the mine. Basic items like a shovel, pick, hammer and chisel are all that you will need. A bucket can be used for hauling specimens out of the mine for further inspection. Any gems or minerals that you find are yours to keep.

Emerald Hollow Mine

  1. Planning to Visit

  2. Visit the Hiddenite Gems Emerald Hollow Mine. This is the only emerald mine in North America truly open to public prospectors.

  3. Prospecting Choices

  4. Choose your prospecting method. The Emerald Hollow Mine offers visitors three different ways to search for emeralds. According to the Emerald Hollow Mine website, staff is available to help you identify any specimens you may find.

  5. Sluicing for Minerals

  6. Choose the sluicing method if you prefer to sit in relative comfort while searching for emeralds. For a $5 admission fee, prospectors can sit at the covered sluiceway and rinse buckets of ore to find minerals and other valuable gemstones. One bucket of ore is provided free with your sluicing permit. Additional buckets range from $2 to $100.

  7. "Creeking" for Minerals

  8. Go “creeking.” For an additional $3, you can use the sluiceway and mine the mineral-rich creek bed for emeralds. You can rent a creek screen and shovel for $1 plus a $5 refundable deposit.

  9. Combination Permit

  10. Purchase a $15 combination permit to enjoy the full experience of gem mining in NC. With this permit you can sluice, creek and even dig in the designated areas of the mine. You can rent digging tools for $2 plus a $10 refundable deposit. All gems and minerals that you find are yours to keep.

    Things You'll Need

    • Release form
    • Shovel
    • Pick
    • Hammer
    • Chisel
    • Bucket


    • Emerald Hollow Mines also has a complete lapidary shop that will cut your gemstones and even place them in jewelry for you.


    • The Crabtree Emerald Mine is patrolled but not supervised. Always use extreme caution when digging. It is best suited to prospectors with a little experience.

      The Emerald Hollow Mine website recommends that you wear old clothes and shoes. You should plan on getting very dirty. Bring an extra change of clothes along with a towel, sunscreen and bug spray.


About the Author

Jesa Lynn started writing over 14 years ago and writes primarily for various websites. She studied both criminal justice and psychology in college. Lynn has worked as a publicist and also in photo layout. She is a firm believer in self education and has pursued educating herself in several different skills and trades including automotive repair, business, creative writing and Web design.

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