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Cowee Gift Shop & Mason Mountain Mine

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Address: 5315 Bryson City Rd, Franklin, NC 28734-0422
Phone Number:
+1 828-524-4570
09:00 - 17:00
Closed now
See all hours
Mon - Sat 09:00 - 17:00

Tom and Ginger Johnson own and operate the mine and shop. The mine has...

Tom and Ginger Johnson own and operate the mine and shop. The mine has grown over the years to provide you with the best environment for all your rockhounding needs. We offer full access for the handicap to enjoy all the fun as well. Check in at the gift shop for instructions to our access road, so you can drive right down to the flume. At our gem mine we offer strictly native dirt at the dig pile, plus enriched buckets and all the best help so you can start finding gems right away! In our gift shop we carry a wide variety of snacks and drinks to keep you going. There is also a nice deli nearby if you need a little extra and for the really hungry, Franklin is only 12 minutes away. We also have a wide range of rough specimens from all over the world as well as from our "back yard" which is literally our mountain where the mine site is located. You will see many different types of gold and silver mountings and jewelry already manufactured from our jewelry bench that will astound most folks. So stop on in if you can, we will be happy to see you even if it's just to say hi and catch up on things!

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 88 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 70
  • 13
    Very good
  • 3
  • 1
  • 1
Excellent gem mining and very nice people.

We went to another mine earlier in the week, but this was much better. The gems were much bigger and even found some Kyanite which was new to me and rubies. We found more and... read more

Reviewed 14 November 2016
Trenton, Florida
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88 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 88: English reviews
Trenton, Florida
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 November 2016

We went to another mine earlier in the week, but this was much better. The gems were much bigger and even found some Kyanite which was new to me and rubies. We found more and bigger sapphires. I found a lavender sapphire that they are making into a ring. There prices were very reasonable. Brandon and Kara are very nice... More 

Thank boyd945
Birmingham, Alabama
Level Contributor
33 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 October 2016 via mobile

My husband and I have been to Franklin many times to go mining for gems. We went here two trips ago and just got back from the last one!We have found very nice gem quality stones! Ruby, sapphires, emeralds and more! See my six carat stone we found in Sept. this was one of our smaller stones that Tom cut... More 

Thank Lou Ann N
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 September 2016

This was so much fun and so easy. Get a bucket of dirt and sit beside a flume and sift dirt and mud through screen then pick up the stones however, lots of the stones are valuable gems. Lots of fun for everyone.

Thank highwayhoney
1 review
Reviewed 3 September 2016 via mobile

The only complaint that we have is that we live too far away from Franklin to come as much as we would like to. What a treat it is for us to visit this place and the town itself. We have always found amazing gems here. Some days we find more than other times but that is part of the... More 

Thank Greg R
Riverton, Wyoming
Level Contributor
113 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 September 2016

I have been visiting this same panning and jewelry store/gift shop since I was a kid and my grandparents lived in Franklin, N.C. The same family has owned this mine and store for the past 51 years. In other words, you can trust them to keep you entertained and treat you right. Google can find this spot easily, and it... More 

Thank AlphaMareWy
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
Reviewed 23 August 2016

Spend 15 or 100 dollars and you get a big bucket full of dirt rocks and gemstones. We got 3 of the 15 and one wow bucket for 100 dollars. If you are a true rock hound you will enjoy the sifting of mud and then go to the gift store for beautiful specimens and jewelry.

Thank Pam D
Level Contributor
33 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 August 2016 via mobile

Many places around Franklin N.C. offer buckets of dirt that have been salted with stuff from Amazon or eBay that not real and skill and even luck play no role in that sort of venture. Here you can dig native soil in search of sapphires and rubies that come from Franklin not Brazil... Yes they have salted buckets as well... More 

1 Thank Daniel M
Level Contributor
20 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 July 2016 via mobile

Our family visited July 2016. Can not say enough good things about this place amd their staff. Absolutely the best gem mining experience we have ever had. We come to Franklin often since we have kids we always make a gem mine stop and this place was hands down the best so far. Staff member explained the different price options... More 

1 Thank Jenascar6
Level Contributor
156 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 July 2016

This was our second time coming to this mine. We've been to others in the area, but hands-down this one is the best. I am well aware that different mines produce different results at different times - it's all a matter of luck when it comes to mining. However, I've had CONSISTENT positive results at this mine. If you get... More 

1 Thank TrentFL
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 July 2016

I have worked as a professional naturalist for over 14 years and this place is by far the best gem mine in the Franklin, NC area if you are looking for quality and quantity of gems. Finding the gems here in native dirt does have a learning curve though. My suggestion: when you first start out and get your bucket... More 

3 Thank Gylkin

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Jacksonville, Florida
8 months ago

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