Sheffield Mine

Useful Information

Location: Franlin, Macon County
(35.272362, -83.393396)
Open: APR to OCT Mon-Sat 9-17.
Fee: Adults USD 6, Children (0-8) USD 4, Additional Bucket USD 4.
Classification: MineGem Mine MineFee Mining
Light: n/a
Guided tours:
Address: Sheffield Mine, 71 Rockhaven Drive, Franklin, NC, Tel: 369-7534
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.




Sheffield Mine is a gemstone mine, which means there are nor ores or other rocks of industrial interest. The rocks here contain natural gemstones like rubies and sapphires. The mine is not a working mine in the sense that gems are mined and sold. Actually the gemstone market is provided with raw material by a few special locations in India, Brasil, Australia, or Africa. The gems here are not profitable to mine with the high labor costs of the U.S.A. The mine is neither a show mine, so there is no tour with underground tunnels and mining machinery.

This is actually a sort of field or pit with gem bearing dirt. The dirt is the result of the weathering of the rock, and as gemstones are much harder than other components of the rock, they remain while all other parts have been weathered into clay. Clay is what geologists call a residual, the rest of the rock where most of the minerals in the rock are eroded.

The Sheffield Mine is the place where visitors are allowed to look for gemstones in the dirt and take home what they find. Visitors buy buckets with the dirt and start washing and cleaning the content to find gemstones in it. The entrance fee includes two buckets to start with. There are certificates issued by the mine for larger finds.