Posted on July 02, 2015 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments
What will you find on your next mining adventure?
You guessed it—head to California for a little Gold Rush nostalgia.
Sift for flakes of gold and learn about the 49ers (the gold prospectors—not the football team) at Gold Prostecting Adventures in Jamestown, CA. The family price (includes 2 adults, 3 children) for the 3-hour old-fashioned Sluice Box and Pan Adventure is $155. Guides are available to help.
Alternatively, head over to Roaring Camp, an old gold-mining camp on the Mokulmne River in Pine Grove, CA. This camp was frequented by gold prospectors from 1848-1855. Visit the gold mine (still in operation) to pan, sluice, dredge, or dry-wash for your own gold. If you’re not having any luck digging for gold, enjoy other family activities like camping, rafting, swimming, rafting, fishing, and hiking. You can also check out the museum or take lessons on panning for gold.
The Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro, Arkansas is the only diamond-producing site in the world where the public can search for diamonds. Fortunately, you don’t need any heavy-duty tools for diamond hunting. Onsite, you may rent a wooden box screen, shovel, bucket, and knee pads and look for diamonds near the surface of the soil. Any diamond you find is yours to keep! Park guides can help you determine whether or not your finds are diamonds.This scenic site makes a lovely family trip destination. When not looking for diamonds, you can visit the water park and camping facilities. You may also stroll through the surrounding woodland. Keep your camera handy—you may spot deer and turkey.
6.19-carat white diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park
Search for Emeralds at Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite, North Carolina, less than an hour from the breathtaking Blue Ridge Parkway. This is the only U.S. emerald mine open to the public for prospecting. Prepaid permits are available for creeking, sluicing and digging. The park offers educational field trips during which you can learn about emeralds, sapphire, garnet, and tourmaline (all of which you may find yourself!). The $5 admission includes one bucket. You may also purchase additional buckets.
Findings from the Emerald Hollow Mine (cut on site!)
While you’re in North Carolina, stop by the Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine in Spruce to look for aquamarine stones. You may also uncover garnet, moonstones, rubies, and more. Guides will inspect your stones for quality, free of charge. Even better, on-site gem-cutters are available to transform your finds into jewelry. Talk about a fantastic souvenir! Spruce Pine gemologist Jerry Call can advise you on more exotic locations for gem mining. He organizes trips to the Rio Doce Mine in Brazil.
If you’re looking for colorful black fire opals, check out the Royal Peacock Mine in Virgin Valley, Nevada. The mine charges $180 per person for a day of digging along the fire-opal-rich bank and $75 to dig in the mine dumps and tailing (piles of rock extracted from the mine).
Opal bolo tie featuring an opal from the Royal Peacock Mine
You may also look for opals in Denio, Nevada at the Bonanza Opal Mine, which was founded in the early 1900s. Mining season begins in May and ends in September. (Be sure to take necessary precautions against the heat!) It is also recommended that you bring a small rake and buckets for collecting your findings.
Travel to the beautiful shores of Big Sur, CA to search for Jade. Underwater, luminescent jade is easily distinguished from other rocks. The best time to find jade is shortly after a winter storm. (Be sure the waters are calm!) A serious jade hunter uses scuba gear, a flashlight, and a sealable bag to contain stones. You don’t have to dive to find jade, however. During low tide, comb through the gravel along the shore and see what you can find!
Experience the beauty of Big Sur while hunting for Jade.
Visit the Cherokee Ruby Mine in Franklin, NC to search for rubies, sapphires, garnets, and moonstones. This family-owned mine is known for its collectors-grade rubies. At the mine, you’re provided a seat cushion and a screen box. Guides will show you samples of rough gemstones, so you know what to look for. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for children, and shade umbrellas are available to rent for $1.
A beautiful find from the Cherokee Ruby Mine
Photos: James St. John via Flickr, Roaring Camp, Crater of Diamonds State Park, Emerald Hollow Mine, Royal Peacock Mine, Steve Dunleavy via Flickr, Cherokee Ruby Mine