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Carolinas Chapter Fall Field Trip
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When: October 21, 2017
9:00 AM
Where: Emerald Hollow Mine
484 Emerald Hollow Mine Dr
Hiddenite, North Carolina 
United States

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Emerald Hollow Mine, Hiddenite, North Carolina

Reservations: You can register and prepay for the field trip by (1) mail (see last pages) or (2) under the News and Events Page of our website at Everyone (including online registers) must fill out the Registration and Liability Waiver Forms to attend the field trip.





Fall Field Trip

Saturday, October 21, 2017, 9:00am to 2:00pm


Meeting Location: 9:00am at Emerald Hollow Mine: 484 Emerald Hollow Mine Drive, Hiddenite, NC

Cost: Members, Public-Sector, Teachers $50; Non-members $60; Students with college ID $30

Field Trip Registration and Waiver: Please fill out, sign, and date forms and send to Sue Buchanan by Monday, October 16, 2017


"Registration Form and Waiver"

South Carolina Continuing Education Credits:
4 credits

North Carolina Continuing Education Credits: 4 credits


Once you are here – you never stop looking for stones.


Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite, NC, is the only emerald mine in the United States open to the public for prospecting. The mine has been in business since 1986, and since then, has been visited by gem- seekers and rock-hounds from all 50 states and several countries. There are no caves or tunnels at the mine, all mining is done vertically by digging down into the ground or using sluice buckets filled with dirt. In addition to the mine, the property has two streams that can be panned, sluicing stations, and a lapidary shop, where gemstones are cleaned, cut on site, and made into jewelry.


Some history about Hiddenite: In the mid-1880s, a mineralogist William Hidden, was sent by Thomas Edison to explore the area for platinum needed for coating the wire filaments in electric light bulbs. William Hidden did not find any platinum, but discovered a fault line where emeralds and sapphires were found lying within 3 feet of each other. William Hidden discovered a neon-green spodumene and named it Hiddenite, as was the town.


Emeralds are not easy to find, it takes hard work and persistence, but usually two to three emeralds are found a week at the mine. About 63 other gemstones and minerals are found here and include hiddenite, topaz, and sapphires.


The largest emerald to come out of the mine weighed 1,868 carats and is on exhibit at New York’s American Museum of Natural History. Another great discovery was of a pyramid-shaped smoky quartz

crystal weighing nearly 300 pounds. And more recently, in 2009, an emerald was found on a farm near the mine that was compared to an emerald worn by Catherine the Great of Russia.


Field Trip Activities


Not only will we be trying to find our own gemstones, but we will be involved in an educational program led by Emerald Hollow Mine staff and geologist, gemologist, and lapidary director Mike Watkins. The educational program is about a 3 to 4 hour session that includes an earth science lesson, creeking (a crowd favorite!), sluicing, and surface collecting. Activities may vary depending on availability and time.


·        The earth science lesson will cover:

o    a geological explanation of the time frames and occurrences of rock types found at Emerald Hollow;

o    a lesson about stratification seen in the outcroppings at Emerald Hollow;

o    visiting an off-site quarry (about a ¾ mile walk from Emerald Hollow) where we can observe pyroxene shifts and granite formations (pending approval); and

o    visiting a current dig to discuss vein development and the extraction process with the claim's proprietor (this is a private claim, so we won’t be collecting here).

·        While creeking, we’ll learn how density, weight, and gravity help explain why gold and gemstones are found in the creek, and then we’ll put our knowledge to work by panning and gem-hunting.

·        Sluicing includes a history lesson on the method and the story of Hiddenite while you sluice a bucket of unprocessed ore taken directly from the mine (with a chance of bearing any of the mine’s precious gems!).

·        Surface collecting explores how erosion exposes gems at the surface while we look for any of the over sixty types of gems and minerals that have been found on the “East Ridge.”


Field Trip Logistics


The field trip will begin at 9:30am on at the Emerald Hollow Mine (484 Emerald Hollow Mine Drive, Hiddenite, NC). Parking is available at the mine. AEG will not be supplying bus transportation for this field trip. Attendees are expected to be ready for the tour by 9:00am so the Emerald Hollow Mine staff can give a brief summary of the tour’s events and divide the group into smaller groups for the educational program which will start at 9:30am.


From 9:30am to about 1:00pm, the group will be guided through the educational program. Lunch is scheduled for about 1:00pm at the mine. Pizza and soft drinks will be provided. The field trip ends after lunch (about 2:00pm), but you are encouraged to stay at the mine and hunt for more gemstones or repeat parts of the educational program that you enjoyed the best and would like to spend more time doing. The mine closes at 4:30pm.


Please bring plastic containers with lids or zip lock freezer bags to hold your gemstone collection; and a towel and old shoes for creeking. A change of clothes and shoes are recommended, as you should plan on getting dirty and wet. Be prepared to walk ¾ miles during the earth science lesson. Dress appropriately for the weather, as these are outdoor activities.

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