Cowee Valley, in Franklin, NC

  • Phone: (828)349.2941
  • Website:
  • Length of Vacation: Day Trip
  • Cost: Starting at –  $25 Adult / Kids 5 and under free w/Adult
    (See website for full details)
  • Open: Mine open May 1 to October 31, M-Sat 9 a.m.-4 p.m* / Sun 12:00 p.m. – 5 p.m.* (*Weather permitting)
  • Type of Prospecting: Ruby, Sapphire, Garnet & Rutile
  • Equipment: Provided
  • Instruction: Instructions online
  • Lodging: Cabins and Inn nearby
  • Meals: Bring your own

From their website:

cherokee-ruby_flume-zoomThe Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine is a “placer” gem mine. The term “placer” refers to mineral bearing deposits of ancient sand, dirt, and gravel which were left behind by ancient glaciers, rivers, or other flowing waters. The material of these placer deposits contain precious gems and other semi-precious gems and minerals. Only NATIVE Cowee Valley North Carolina gems and minerals can be found at our mine. We do not offer “salted“ or “enriched” or “rainbow” bearing gemstones to our mining customers. Throughout the years, experienced ruby/sapphire miners and “rock hounds” all know that the majority of the largest and finest “gem quality” Cowee Valley, NC rubies and sapphires have all been found at the Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine.

cherokee-ruby_Garnet_12_ctFor thousands of years, the ruby has been considered one of the most valuable gemstones on Earth. It has everything a precious stone should have: magnificent color, excellent hardness and outstanding brilliance. In addition to that, it is an extremely rare gemstone, especially in its finer qualities. The term ‘corundum’, which we use today, is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘kuruvinda’. The Sanskrit word for ruby is ‘ratnaraj’, which means something like ‘king of the gemstones’. Ruby is the red variety of the mineral corundum, Second only to diamond, corundum is now considered to be the hardest mineral on Earth.