Crabtree Emerald Mine
Mitchell County, North Carolina
Last Updated: September 20th, 2012

Emerald crystals in matrix from the Crabtree Mine
The Crabtree Emerald Mine is one of the most famous emerald mines in North America. It was mined from 1894 until the mid 1980s. It was operated by Taffany's in the early 1900s. The mine consisted of a wood timber supported mine entrance and a tunnel that ran almost 100 feet. Ore was loaded into a bucket car which was winched up narrow guage tracks by truck. The rusty remains of the truck still remain on site.
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Now abandoned, the mine entrance and shaft are flooded and remain under a small pond. A portion of the mine entrance can be seen during low water conditions. The mine is owned by the Mineral City Mining Company, Inc. and is managed by the Mountain Area Gem & Mineral Association (MAGMA).

Mine entrance in pond

Old rusty mine truck with winch

Crabtree Mine "tailings"
The Crabtree Emerald Mine "tailings" consist of rocks and boulders with some dirt. There are two approaches to collecting samples at Crabtree. One is to find classic crabtree emerald matrix material and break the larger rocks in to smaller pieces with a rock hammer with the hopes of finding a good specimen. Bo's Mine Tours will supply you a with a bucket and a rock hammer or mason hammer if you wish to use this method. However, searching through the gravel (especially after a rain storm) and sifting it using a collander and spray bottle is another good method if you are searching for a small crystal which has weathered out of the matrix rock. Bo's Mine Tours has collanders and spray bottles available if you wish to use this technique.

You have a chance of finding emerald in matrix like this
 using the rock breaking technique

You have a chance of finding specimens like these containing emerald using the gravel processing method
Emerald is a variety of beryl (beryllium aluminum silicate) with a trace amount of chromium which gives it its' characteristic color. Other varieties of beryl such as Goshenite (Beryl with no color), Aquamarine (pale green to blue) and Heliodor (golden/amber color) have also been found at Crabtree. You will also find plenty of feldspar/quartz matrix specimens with nice black Tourmaline crystals (some with a radiating sunburst pattern). Mica, Garnet, Zoisite (var. Thulite) and Apatite also can be found here.

Black Tourmaline and Gold Colored Quartz

Black Tourmaline and pink Zoisite (var. Thulite)F

Yellow Beryl crystal in Feldspar

Yellow/Green Beryl crystals in Quartz/Feldspar

Pale green Beryl crystal in matrix found at Crabtree

 

Selection of gravel specimens 

 


Rates and Tour Procedures

Rates: Guide Fee: Flat rate of $100 for a group up to five adults/children for a 3-4 hour tour. A tip is expected if the group is larger than five or the group
                               desires to extend the collecting time beyond 4 hours.

           MAGMA fee: $ 20 per person age 12 years or older plus a $10 MAGMA fee for the tour guide. 
                               No charge for children under 12.

Tour Procedure: Call (904-708-9186) or email (bo_smith@bellsouth.net) to arrange a tour date and time.
                             Meet Bo's Tours silver Isuzu rodeo at a predetermined location to complete "release of liability
                             forms" and payment (Cash or Check). All persons on the tour must sign two release forms
                             (one for MAGMA and one for Bo's Mine Tours). Parents must sign for children/young adults aged 18
                             and younger. Follow Bo's Mine Tours vehicle to Crabtree Emerald Mine. Most of the roads to the
                             mine are good road; but about 1/2 mile of the road to the mine is rough gravel and is not
                             recommended for low-slung cars.
                            
At least one digital picture emailed to you following the tour is included.

Normal Tour length- 3 to 4 hours

Dress: Recommend sturdy shoes and long pants/jeans (shorts at the discretion of the
           tour participant). Eye protection and work gloves are recommended but will not be provided by Bo's Mine Tours.