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“Super friendly staff and fun for the family”

Mason's Ruby & Sapphire Mine
Ranked #4 of 37 things to do in Franklin
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Mason's Sapphire Mine is an all-natural, dig your own sapphire mine that has been in operation since 1942 in Franklin NC. We also offer enriched buckets so everyone can find something to love! Masons mine is a safe, fun, and unique experience to add to your family trip!
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed 29 July 2014

Our family visited the mines on July 27, 2014 and had a blast! When we arrived we were greeted by the cashier (can't remember her name) who was really friendly and let us know where to park and to come see her when we were ready. Once we had paid (they offer a VERY nice military discount BTW) we were sent out to Charlie, a "seasoned" gentleman who explained the process in detail, offered us some tips on what to look for while we were digging, and set up our place on the flume (we got there right at 8am, so we were near the front). We dug, we came back, then Charlie explained the techniques to us, what we were looking for, and helped us "newbies" go over our sifters with a fine tooth comb. All the while he taught us about the other rocks we found (we like cool looking rocks, not just the valuable ones), and told funny stories about the mines and some of the finds and people who worked them.

As the day wore on, Todd joined Charlie and they both had nearly everyone in stiches with their joking, stories, and playful attitudes. We managed to find a few small stones (11 carets total), but nothing major ourselves (except the softball sized piece of white quartz which is beautiful). However, in the 5 hours we stayed (my back was getting sore by then) others had found a 20 caret, 15 caret, and 11 caret sapphires, as well as numerous garnets (we found one as well) and other smaller sapphires. As we were packing up, people were finding more and more stones by the second, and the fever was in the air. All in all, it was a fun time, and everyone was having a blast.

If you're looking for a fun time where you have to do some work and there's a chance to hit it (sorta) big or (possibly) not at all, then this is your place. If you're looking for someone to hand you some shiny rocks on a silver platter (boring!), then look elsewhere. One thing is for sure: You will get the fever once the first few sapphires are found, and if you do what they guys tell you to do and stay at it, you'll find your gems too.

Some suggestions:
1) Bring heavy duty rubber dish gloves, as working the dirt and gravel is hard on your hands (and can cut them up a bit). You'll thank me if you do.
2) Bring bug spray. There's a few standing bodies of water nearby as well as a stream, so mosquitoes and other pests are plentiful.
3) Get there early (they open at 8am) to get on the covered flume. It means shade, and that means cooler temperatures for you.
4) Bring shoes you don't mind getting dirty, and clothes you don't mind getting wet in. Water from the flume will splash up on you...PERIOD. A change of clothes/shoes is a good idea.
5) Baby wipes: Because you will get dirty. We used them in Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan to clean off with, and they will work here too. (You'll thank me again.)
6) Have a positive attitude, listen to the guys, and don't give up!

4  Thank hernshound
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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197 - 201 of 358 reviews

Reviewed 26 July 2014 via mobile

Great time with our 5 year olds! Purchased a $100 rainbow buckets and it was perfect for 2 hours and three children. They each have a bag full of, for the most part, already tumbled stones. Lots of rubies, garnets, sapphire, fool's gold and more. Mr. Toddy Bear was a great help with the kids!

Afterwards, we drove to the waterfall.It's been a great day!

Thank georgia_mumford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2014

We decided to make the extra few miles outside of Franklin to do the mining at Mason's. It was worth the trip. Rates for 2 adults to mine unlimited, $30.00 each, but that was for the whole day, not just a few buckets....as many as you wanted to sift through. The folks that work there are very friendly and knowledgeable and help you to go through the sifting process. It was raining when we arrived around 10:30 am and still raining when we left at 2:30 PM, but our flume was covered so what the heck. Both of our "miners" found sapphires...these are not "salted" mines, rather, you really do find them yourself, they are not placed there for a fake find. Yes, do take the trip, you will not be disappointed. You can buy LIMITED drink and a snack for lunch, I recommend taking something with you ....but you are going to find gems....not to eat. Port-a-pottys on site. I was very impressed that they did have a flume designed so people in wheelchairs could get in on the action!!
Loved that!!

5  Thank NoahsMom83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2014

I researched gem mines in The Highlands area. I wanted an authentic experience in which I could do most of the work myself. I was so pleased with Mason's. This is a true professional outfit. It is fun, safe, educational. And, you get to be outside in beautiful North Carolina! My friend and I ended up staying six hours. And, we were not the only ones - most of the people around us stayed all day, as well. We ended up with over 7 carats of sapphires each by the end if the day. Young or old, this is a great way to spend the day!

2  Thank COS64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2014

We spent hours at the gem mine!! It was a blast!! The only place you can dig your own dirt!! The staff was friendly and helpful!! We were dirty, sweaty, and happy with our finds when we were through!! Go have fun and find your sapphires!! Get a bell ringer!!

2  Thank Tootsmag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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