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Emerald Hollow Mine sign.

Only Emerald Mine Open to Public

Field review by the editors.

Hiddenite, North Carolina

The Hiddenite region of Alexander County produces the world's purest examples of, well, hiddenite -- "the poor man's emerald" -- but most people come to the only public mine in the area, the Emerald Hollow Mine, hoping to find real emeralds, which are more valuable than diamonds.

Prospecting at the Emerald Hollow Mine is not done in dark tunnels beneath the earth, but in the fresh air -- by surface slucing, creeking, and digging in the dirt. It gets visitors wet and muddy, but they gladly pay for the privilege.

The largest emerald ever found in North America was found here, and eventually sold for $1.65 million. The man who found it, Terry Lee Ledford, didn't enjoy it for long -- he died when he dug an emerald-hunting trench too deep and it collapsed on him.

Only Emerald Mine Open to Public

Emerald Hollow Mine

484 Emerald Hollow Mine Drive, Hiddenite, NC
From NC-90 in Hiddenite turn north (no stoplight) onto NC-1001/Sulphur Springs Rd. Drive about one mile. Turn right onto Emerald Hollow Mine Drive (a dirt road) and drive to the mine.
Daily 8:30-sunset (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
All day $25.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Town With No Cars, Only HorsesTown With No Cars, Only Horses, Love Valley, NC - 7 mi.
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PEZ and World's Fair CollectionsPEZ and World's Fair Collections, Newton, NC - 19 mi.
In the region:
The Foot of James A. Reid, Salisbury, NC - 39 mi.

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