|Jay registers at mine office|
That's right, the Old North State is the only place in North America where gem quality emeralds are regularly found. And, as luck would have it, Jay lives in North Carolina!
|Old mine "craft" at the Crabtree Emerald Mine|
The North Carolina mountains are full of wonderful, tourist-oriented gem mines which offer "salted" buckets of ore for sifting, but Jay wasn't interested in any more "pretend" mining. No, he wanted to find a real emerald mine.
|Mining for the "green"|
In a rare and ancient text, published circa 2005, Jay discovered a reference to the Crabtree Emerald Mine, located somewhere high in the mountainous region of Mitchell County.
Once owned by the world-famous jewelers at Tiffany & Co., the mine followed a vein of gem-rich pegmatite hundreds of feet below the surface.
|Sifting the ore for emeralds|
Since it opened in the late 19th Century, it has yielded thousands of carats of high quality emeralds, with the legendary 1400+ carat "Lineberger Emerald"being discovered as recently as the late 1970's.
After a period of inactivity, the mine is now open to anyone with the wherewithal to find it, the strength to wield a rock hammer, and the gumption to fight the gnats, mosquitoes and occasional ravenous opossum.
For a first-timer, Jay made out pretty good this trip. Quite a bit of green, and not a single Creeper!
|Emeralds in matrix with tourmaline|
|More of the green stuff!|
|Emeralds and yellow beryl crystals|
|Cool tourmaline crystals|
|Spotted Jewel Weed Surrounding the Mine|