"every boy and girl is an instinctual rock hound." —Alan Schabilion of Emerald Village
This pegmatite, estimated to be 380 million years old, contains feldspar (the white), blue-green malachite, shiny black mica, and brown streaks indicating uranium ore.
Vast reserves of mica helped drive the Spruce Pine area’s mining boom starting in the 1860s
The work extracting such materials was often grueling and sometimes dangerous—while being a major source of local income.
In recent years a volunteer network has developed the NC Gold Trail
At Emerald Village, the mining never really stops, and the gear of yesteryear—from heavy-duty machinery to such personal and crucial items as miners’ lamps—are on loving display.
The former Bon Ami mine, now an integral part of Emerald Village, gives visitors a visceral sense of what it was like to harvest minerals in the mountains.
"for me, I don't really care so much how and when the stuff got here. it's more about the thrill of the search and the finding." —Rick Jacquot of the Mountain Area Gem and Mineral Association
A Mountain Area Gem and Mineral Association field dig
Making discoveries at the Asheville Outdoor Center’s kid-friendly mining sluice is great fun for families.