#125 Complete: Wrote a Blog Post About Mining for Emeralds in Hiddenite, NC

Today’s Resolution: Write a Blog Post

You’d think that as a professional blogger this would be easy for me, but actually we’re in the midst of our road trip to Florida, so technically I don’t need to write a dang thing. But here I am! So to make this a little more interesting than that, let’s talk about all the fun stuff we did today.

Basically we stopped for a hotel in North Carolina last night with the intention of spending the day at the Hiddenite Emerald Mine today, which is the only public emerald mine in the world! It’s also famous because it’s one of the few places you can find SO MANY varieties of gemstones and other rocks in one place.

The mine was a lot of fun. Basically you walk in and you have three options. You can dig for emeralds, you can go “creeking” where you pan the stones in the river, or you can just sit at the sluice with buckets that you buy and sift through them. Obviously we did all three.

The digging was the least of the fun, but I’m glad we started with it. Basically you have these huge buckets that are ridiculously heavy once you fill them with dirt. The sluicing station is about a half mile away, so dragging the buckets back and forth is not your average idea of a good time. Still though, we goofed off enough to laugh about the blood and tears and Napa dug some holes too.

Creeking was probably the most fun, especially since we were hot as heck from digging around and carrying buckets. You basically have this little sifter and you go around digging up the ground and then sifting  through the rocks and gems. Being barefoot in the river on a hot day was pretty much the best thing ever, especially after a new england winter and waiting for summer. Oh and wow, lots of gems in the river although I’m pretty sure they stock it.

Sluicing is pretty much the most relaxing part. You’re sort of sifting through the water and the dirt and the clay, and you’re examining, and you’re washing, and you’re dumping. And once in a while you find something cool and put it in a pile. It’s sort of like gambling, and if you buy one of their $25 or $100 buckets, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a good time. I ended up buying an emerald bucket at the end of the day because I hadn’t found any yet and realized I’d been tossing them out all along. Oops. In any case, I got a ton of emeralds from the bucket and have a pair of 2.5 carat emerald earrings getting cut!

After spending the day (very relaxing and fun, by the way), the plan was to stay the night after mining. Interestingly enough though, we were energized rather than exhausted and decided that driving 10 hours tomorrow didn’t sound like a good time, so we decided to drive 3 hours tonight instead to make tomorrow’s end of the journey to Florida a little easier.

Onward to Homosassa!!