My wife are always looking for interesting things to do. One day we stumbled across a show titled Cash and Treasures on The Discovery Channel. Thee host Kirsten travels to various places and hunts for valuable stuff of some sort. One of the episodes took her to North Carolina to search for emeralds at the Emerald Hollow Mine.
My wife and I were planning a trip to Virginia Beach, VA and realized that the emerald mine in North Carolina was about 5 hours drive away. We decided to do it. Our plan was to do at least one day, or possibly two days.
We arrived in Statesville, NC, on Monday, which is only about half an hour drive from the mine.
We got up early Tuesday morning, grabbed a free breakfast at the hotel, and headed for the mine. We were there shortly before they opened at 8:30am. We parked, and headed to sign in. The guy wasn’t ready yet, so we waited. Be careful with this guy as he is kind of gruff. After a bit he was set and read to go. We purchased the combo permits that would allow us to digging, creeking, and sluicing. I told him we only needed a single digging tool set. I didn’t figure my wife would be doing any digging. We got our free buckets of dirt, and sluiced them. They were pretty obviously seeded with various small chunks of quartz and other stuff. Nothing valuable. There were other buckets that you could buy that were seeded with other stuff. But we wanted to dig, and find stuff. So we took our shovel and bucket and headed off to dig. We only knew the general area where were supposed to dig, but we had no idea of the best places to dig. In the red dirt, or brown dirt? Deep? Shallow? Near chunks of mica? We had no idea. We dug some dirt in one spot, filled a bucket, and carried it back to the sluicing area. The five gallon bucket was kind of heavy when filled with dirt. We sluiced the dirt finding not much but very small pieces of quartz. We made multiple trips back to refill the bucket for different areas, but for the most part found very little except very small pieces of quartz.
We were kind of disappointed, and had petty much decided that we wouldn’t be coming back the next day.
We got kind of got tired of carrying the heavy bucket, so we turned in the bucket and shovel. We wanted to get a couple of the creeking setups. The gruff guy said we only paid for one. I told him that I wanted to get a second one and was willing to pay for it. But he was kind of a pain, so we just let it go and headed down to the creek with the one kit. The tools are just a small handheld gardening shovel and a small screened box.
The creek produced stuff much better than the digging. The pieces of quartz were larger, and nicer. We were also finding amethyst, blue rocks, green rocks, orange rocks, and who knows what else. We don’t know what half the stuff we got are. Our opinion of the place changed, and again we were talking about coming back for the second day and just do creeking.
So that is what we did. We came back on Wednesday morning, just bought the creeking permits, but this time we paid for two creeking tool kits. We head straight for the creek. This time I planned to skip most of the quartz stuff and focus on finding the other more interesting stuff. And I found a bunch of interesting stuff. I tried various strategies such as digging in front of big rocks, behind big rocks, under rocks, in deep pools. These all yielded colorful stones. Also productive was walking through the creek and watching for colored stones. I found a bunch of cool rocks like this.
We also bought a $25 Killer Beryl/Emerald bucket. The bucket again was obviously seeded. But we got a bunch of emeralds from the bucket. I am sure the emeralds and other stones that came in the $25 bucket are worth much less than the $25. I still think that best bet is to come, get the creeking permit, and head for the creek. Don’t expect to find anything super valuable. Just plan to have fun, and find lots of pretty colored rocks. But then again, you may get lucky. Also, I am sure the lady from Cash & Treasures got special treatment. Don’t think that you will get the same. Some of the staff were very friendly, others were not so much.
Overall, we had fun, and got a lot of pretty rocks for my wife to play with making jewelry.
Emerald Hollow Mine is located at 484 Emerald Hollow Mine Dr., Hiddenite, NC 28636, (828)632-3394.

* I went back and rewatched the Cash And Treasures episode where they went to the Emerald Hollow Mine. One thing that I was was the girl got to dig in area that is not available to the general public. It was roped off, and reserved for school groups. She also had a guy with her showing her where to dig. My wife and I and as far as I know, no one else was even given a clue as to where to dig other than in the broad digging area.

* Also, we have been sorting through our rocks. We believe that we got more emeralds than we originally thought. Many of them came from the emerald bucket that we bought. But we may have found some while creeking as well. Not sure. We also have a couple small pieces that look different. I think they might possibly be hiddenite crystals.