Trip Planner: USA / North Carolina / North Carolina Mountains / Canton / Sightseeing / Old Pressley Sapphire Mine
Old Pressley Sapphire Mine is located in Canton. With our international travel planner, Canton attractions like Old Pressley Sapphire Mine can be center stage of your vacation plans, and you can find out about other attractions like it, unlike it, near it, and miles away.
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Millions of travel reviews
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This is a genuine mine to visit! No enhanced stones shipped in to fill this real deal. The owner, George, and his wife, Brenda, are the nicest people and full of information to help you out. My 10-yea... more »
Had a great time found some good sapphires well worth the money and the memories well last a lifetime. more »
so here's the deal-- this is an all day adventure. Wear your old clothes and boots, bring an ice chest, and a lunch.( and gloves)( and a towel) $25 pp and you actually walk to a site and dig--- you on... more »
I live right down from the mine it's a great place!
Visited from NE. We had a bunch of kids who are avid minecrafters so for them to be able to pan for sapphires etc -- they loved it! We couldn't go in the mine BUT we had a blast. There are $20 buckets and $50 buckets -- the owner George was more than happy to go get more if needed. It was a great experience and even the adults that went loved it. Tip -- BRING bigger 'stronger' ziplock bags to take your loot home!
We relocated to Western North Carolina from Colorado and hunting gems is one of our favorite hobbies. We read about some very special gems that have been discovered here and wanted to try our luck. Upon arriving we met the owners wife who was an amazing and very knowledgeable spirit who bent down, got her hands dirty, and helped us get started finding sapphires (we found several beautiful and cu-table gems). We were already having a marvelous time finding sapphires left and right when the owner (George) took us away from the main area and gave us a personal tour of his property. He explained the geological aspects of the area, walked us through the geological process of how sapphires and other corundums are formed, and took us to a patch of feldspar he was extracting from. He showed us how the extraction process worked and we were able to see him pull a HUGE dark blue sapphire from the earth. The dirt that is delivered to normal customers is straight from his mines and it IS NOT picked through before being released to the public. You can have the same chance to walk away with an amazing sapphire. Don't be fooled by the appearance of the facility, in comparison to any other gem mine I have visited this is the most high yielding experiences we have ever had. But the REAL gems are the owners and this is well worth your time.
The owner wasn't on site but his kinfolk of all ages , kids, grandkids and great grandkids where running things. Most mines I have been to offer you 2.5 gallon or 5 gallon buckets to sift. They only offer 1 gallon or 3 gallon. I picked a 3 gallon and had it sifted and washed out in under 30 minutes with their speedy help. I have had mine staff get you started and leave you to finish, but never work the bucket with you until it was empty. Then tried to sell me more buckets, but I declined. I asked to walk the dig site they advertise to decide if I wanted to dig....... however I was denied, unless "I pay to dig". It was let slip in conversation by several family members (teens) that the dig site is the dump pile from where the owner dumps his diggings. No one is allowed in the mine itself. Best I could tell from a distance, the pile was picked through for the larger stones by the family first and perhaps a few diggers who paid to dig. The single lane incline dirt road to the mine is washed out with deep ruts and very muddy when it rains. If you encounter another vehicle coming at you there is no place to move aside or turn around, you end up backing all the way out of the way. A car may not make the trip up if it has rained or if car sits to low. My truck barely made it without putting it into 4wheel drive..... it had rained earlier in the day making it muddy and slippery.
Was not too impressed after finding out that George (the owner) would not allow us to access the upper mine which is where the real finds are found. I talked to two people that had gone into the upper mines a couple years back and had found some nice sapphires. Evidently, unless you are someone of some influence, you are relegated to sifting through what has already been gone through by George and others like doctors and lawyers or someone else of influence. George had showed us several nice examples of what could be found when we first arrived. Later that day, after only finding fractile sapphires, George admitted that that was all we would find in the pile of soil he had told us to look in. It is great fun for those that do not really know what they are supposed to be looking for. You know your not getting real sapphires when the mine owner tells you "Don't tap on that with a hammer because it will fall apart". We did leave with some nice examples of feldspar and mica stones and were able to take a couple of my own buckets full of sifted rocks with me. The cost is $25 per person and you can stay all day if you arrive at 9:00am which is when George opens the mine, he closes at 5:00pm. You might also call before you go to make sure the mine is open. The drive going up to the mine is very rough and may be muddy. A previous review says that the dirt that is brought down for the public is not gone through. George's exact words is that it "has not been sifted through" which is not the same thing as not having been gone through. If you know what you are looking for, you can easily find the larger, good sapphires without sifting. There were several times that day where George let customers know that the soil had not been "sifted" through. You have to listen closely to what George says. He also, obviously, changes the way he runs his mine routinely because previous reviews say they had to buy buckets but we were able to dig and sift all we wanted. Also, while we were there, his grandchildren ran the mine while his daughter and son-in-law watched while George was running errands in town (never saw his wife). The house that is opposite the mine is a very nice log cabin that is "owned by a family member" while George's house above the dig site is "only his office", he lives off site, mainly in Maggie Valley. Oh, he also told us that there was a potential buyer from the mid-east that had offered him $23 million for 30 acres but that they wanted to take pictures inside the mine shafts before they purchased the property, "Well, that just ended the deal right then and there".
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