2010 NC Mineral & Gem Festival
Celebrating over 50 years
Spruce Pine~ Try your luck at a real emerald mine where Tiffany’s found their emeralds or step into a real Bon Ami mine in total darkness to see the minerals glow in the dark! These mine tours are just one of the popular events at the NC Mineral and Gem Festival this year!
For over fifty years Spruce Pine has welcomed rock hounds and jewelry lovers to the Festival where they enjoy aisles and aisles of beautiful jewelry, gemstones, and minerals from around the country.
“Each year we welcome dealers to the Festival from as far away as California and as close to home as Little Switzerland,” said Patti Jensen, Director of the Festival. “These dealers, and the thousands of visitors that come to the Festival each year, have a tremendous economic impact on our community.”
Festival goers can reserve spots for two mine tours this year. An exciting new mine tour will travel to the Crabtree Emerald Mine once mined by Tiffany’s Jewelers. In the whole United States there have been only 2 significant sources of emeralds. One of these is the Crabtree Emerald Mine! The other is near Hiddenite, NC. Mine tour participants can dig for their own gems and keep what they find! Looking for an experience that’s “out of this world”? The Blacklight tours offered during the Festival provide nighttime underground mine tours that unlock vibrant hidden colors available only under ultraviolet light, commonly called black light. The brilliant coatings in the Bon Ami Mine are largely deposits of Hyalite Opal, a true form of opal found in this area. Under shortwave ultraviolet light, these coatings fluoresce or glow a vivid lime green. The effect, underground at night, is stunning! Reservations for the mine tours can be made by calling 828-765-9033. Crabtree Emerald Mine Tours are $30 pp. Blacklight Tours are normally $15 pp, $10 for kids and seniors, however reservations made with the Festival receive a discount coupon.
The Festival has also partnered with Mayland Community College who is hosting a concert at Riverside Park in Spruce Pine on Saturday, July 31st. The concert features “Coming Up Brass” and is free to the public.
Festival go-ers can enjoy shopping, ample parking, food services, book signings and lectures during the event. Shuttle vans will be on hand for those parking in adjacent parking lots. Attendees can shop for fine jewelry from the top jewelers in the country, have their own custom jewelry designed on site, as well as shop for minerals, gemstones, fossils and beads.
The Festival will be held July 29-August 1, 2010 at The Bridge (formerly Pinebridge Coliseum). The times are Thursday-Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 12:30-5:00. Admission is $3 with Senior Citizens admitted on Thursday for $1 and Mitchell County Residents admitted on Sunday for $1. For more information contact the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce at 765-9033. Sponsors of the Festival include Bombardier, Country Cable, Emerald Village, Gouge Oil, Haircraft, McDonalds, Piedmont Natural Gas, Pine Valley Motel, Progress Energy, Unimin and United Community Bank.