This page was updated 6/28/2018

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When you come to visit Emerald Hollow Mine you will have the opportunity to experience the North Carolina mining heritage as well as our fully equipped lapidary ran by the legendary Mike Watkins (inventor of the Emerald Scissor Cut) and his team of certified geologists and gemologists. 

We have three main activities: SLUICING,CREEKING & DIGGING.

 You can choose one or do all three! Since we are an active mine, our guests are miners while they are here and require permits issued to prospect. Your mining permit is valid the entire day of purchase.

You may even leave for lunch and return to continue.

Permit fees cover your entry into the corresponding mining area ONLY. If you would like to sluice through enriched

or native buckets, they can be purchased separately.

 

Most Asked Question: "If I just want to watch/take pictures do I still have to pay?" Yes. Anyone who is in ANY designated mining activity area MUST be on a permit. By obtaining a a permit, you are

purchasing a single day extension of our permit that includes a waiver.

We have created a way for families to experience mining without the hard work of digging all day. We have native and enriched buckets. Our enriched buckets are made from our native earth and enriched with minerals from around the world as well as our local minerals. They range from $5 to $1000. Our native buckets are made with our native dirt and are not enriched with anything except what may have come out of the veins from where we dig. Be careful with your dirt. It can be hard to tell a "rock" from  a "Gemstone" when everything is dirty.

Our helpful staff will assist you in telling them apart and identifying your finds.

We have created a way for you to find minerals from around the world without leaving your seat!

 

We do not sift or "pre-screen" our native dirt prior to filling buckets.

Every bucket of native dirt has the chance to have something surprising and fantastic in it!

Children 3 and under get free entry

Sluicing & Creeking

Combo Permit

 

$20 per adult (12 yrs. & above) 

$10 per child (4 yrs.- 11yrs.)

Purchasing this permit grants your

entrance into the sluice way and creek.

 Native & enriched buckets must be purchased separately.

 

Plastic trowels and sifting screens are available to rent for $3.00 per set.

NO DIGGING INTO THE BANKS ALONG THE SIDES OF THE CREEK IS PERMITTED. Digging in these areas can cause damage to our creek and further erode the banks. If found doing this PERMIT REVOCATION WITHOUT A REFUND can occur. 

​IF YOU BRING YOUR OWN TOOLS PLEASE NOTE WE DO NOT ALLOW METAL TOOLS OR ANY BUCKETS ABOVE 1 GALLON IN THE CREEK!

Sluicing Permit

$12 per adult (12 yrs & above)

$7 per child (4 yrs - 11 yrs)

Purchasing this permit

grants you entrance into the sluice way. 

Native & enriched buckets must be purchased separately.

 

 

Sluicing is the most popular (and easiest) method of prospecting at the Emerald Hollow Mine. This simple process involves taking a seat at our covered sluice way and washing buckets of ore (dirt) to find precious minerals. The buckets we offer are filled with ore (dirt) taken directly from the Emerald Hollow Mine.

 

Miners can sift through either "Native" or "Enriched" buckets. Any of these buckets are subject to produce big finds. More than sixty different types of natural gemstone quality minerals occur here and are subject to being found in any of these buckets. Many of these are very rare, including Emeralds and Hiddenite. Some others that can be found are: Aquamarine, Sapphire, Garnet, Topaz, Amethyst, Citrine, Rutile, Tourmaline and many others.

 

Prices for buckets range from $5.00 to $1000.00. We have many varieties and prices of buckets to choose from. For example, we have the popular $15.00 "Super Bucket" which is a 5 gallon enriched bucket that is recognized as a great value. For the truly serious, we have the $250.00 "Next Best Thing" bucket which is guaranteed to produce MANY facet grade rough gemstones and specimen grade mineral formations.

Ask us about our rock Id chart!

Funds from purchases go towards

supporting our Field Trip Program.

*available for purchase on site*

NOT REDEEMABLE IF PRINTED

AND BROUGHT IN!

Only available on site**

Creeking Permit

$12 per adult (12 yrs & above)

$7 per child (4 yrs - 11 yrs)

Purchasing this permit grants you entrance into the creek.

Plastic trowels and sifting screens are available to rent for $3.00 per set.  NO DIGGING INTO THE BANKS ALONG THE SIDES OF THE CREEK IS PERMITTED. Digging in these areas can cause damage to our creek and further erode the banks. If found doing this PERMIT REVOCATION WITHOUT A REFUND can occur. 

IF YOU BRING YOUR OWN TOOLS PLEASE NOTE WE DO NOT ALLOW METAL TOOLS OR ANY BUCKETS ABOVE 1 GALLON IN THE CREEK! This helps us control the amount of damage done to the creek. Thank you for your support.

Cutting through the gemstone rich ridges of the mine, there are creeks with sparkling clean, clear, mountain waters gently flowing through them. Through many years of the natural processes of erosion, the creek bed continues to fill with minerals from the mine above. This makes for ideal prospecting after a hard rain. These creeks are typically not over ankle to knee deep in most areas.

Prospecting in the creek can be very rewarding. It is most productive to work the creek gravels with a screen. However some prefer the "easier" method of just "eyeing" the thousands of rocks in the creek bed. Always hoping to catch a glimpse of a nice shimmering Gem Stone..

The creek is a favorite among our guests for its beautiful and serene views which are especially refreshing during the summertime. The creek is a great place to make a big find!

Purchasing a "Creeking" permit will give you access to the creek only and can be upgraded if necessary. Just speak with the attendants at the sluiceway.

Sluicing, Creeking & Digging Combination Permit

$30 per adult (12 yrs. & above) 

$10 per child (4 yrs.- 11yrs.) 

 

Purchasing this permit grants you entrance into the sluiceway, creek and dig site. 

Native & enriched buckets must be purchased separately.

Plastic trowels and sifting screens are available to rent for $3.00 per set. 

NO DIGGING INTO THE BANKS ALONG THE SIDES OF THE CREEK IS PERMITTED. Digging in these areas can cause damage to our creek and further erode the banks. If found doing this PERMIT REVOCATION WITHOUT A REFUND can occur. 

Metal shovels and 5 gallon buckets are available to rent for $7.00 per set for the Dig Site only

IF YOU BRING YOUR OWN TOOLS PLEASE NOTE WE DO NOT ALLOW METAL TOOLS OR ANY BUCKETS ABOVE 1 GALLON IN THE CREEK!

Purchasing a $30.00 Sluicing, Creekin', and digging  permit will give you access to all 3 areas. Take your chances to find all that the mine has to offer.

Digging at the mine can be hard work. Many very nice mineral specimens are found while identifying and chasing mineral veins. For those who prefer easier prospecting there is also a lot of bare ground for surface collecting in the mining area.

This is especially good after a hard rain.