Gem Valley Shop Face

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What gems can one find in your native mix?

Garnets are your number one best find in Ashe County. Customers have also found emerald, topaz, tourmaline, citrine, aquamarine, amethyst, smokey, rose and clear quartz, and some chalcedony, agates, and calcite (a little sapphire and ruby has also been found) in our native mixes. Some customers have found gold, too!

2. How big are the buckets of ore? Are those plastic buckets I saw on the website (which look like about 1 gallon buckets) the actual buckets that we would be paying for?

The small buckets you saw on the web-site are the complementary buckets that we give out with the paid admission price. There are larger and different buckets for purchase, ranging from $25.00 to $100.00 and vary between native and enriched stones. All buckets will have gems, including the complimentary pails.

3. Do you actually have a mine, or do you buy your ore from another location?

We have a working private mine that we dig from, but it is not open to the public and unavailable to tour. Our mine is part of the old Ore Knob Mine territory. We have purchased some material for our salted buckets, but mostly the majority of gems are from our very own mine.

4. Do you give a discount for groups? If so, how many people are required?

Yes, we give a group discount of 10% off the $10.00 admission price for groups over 10. We also give the same 10% off for seniors over 65 and active military. Children under 5 can get in free with paid adult, however, children under 5 who get in free do not get a complimentary bucket of ore. We do have Small Kid's pails for small kids for $5.00 and $10.00 each designed for the little ones.

5. Do we need to make reservations for groups in advance?

We love to have large groups, but we do encourage making plans with us in advance, so that we can accommodate you. Please contact us for more information about group booking!

6. Is your mine "Handicapped friendly?" My wife/husband/child is handicapped and uses a wheelchair or motorized scooter.

Yes, we think it is. Even though our flumes are outside, we have made them in a way that a wheelchair can go directly to the flumes and still mine comfortable. Also the Gem Shop has handicap accessible restrooms. Do keep in mind though the grounds and flumes are outside, but we do have handicap transportation on the grounds to take our guest to the picnic areas and flumes, restrooms etc, if you so request it.

7. Is the park kid-friendly?

The park is designed to be family oriented, however your children should be under your supervision at all times. Gem Valley staff is not responsible for your children. Please remember: If you break it, you buy it!

8. Can we camp on site?

No, not at the present time, as we do not have the facilities for camping in place yet.

9. Can I dig for my own gems?

We do not allow anyone on the actual mine area due to safety concerns, however we do allow you to dig for your own gemstones on the large creek banks and in other designated areas, where many wonderful gems have already been found.

10. Can we pan for gold and can you find gold?

Yes, the large creek area at Gem-Valley has quite a bit of gold in it and is a good location to pan in. You will still have to pay the entrance price to Gem Valley for the day, but we have gold pans you can use on site if you choose to pan. Gem-Valley can even test your gold for you.

11. Can we bring in our own equipment?

Sorry, No! We supply all equipment needed to mine for gems and pan for gold. We do not allow anyone to bring their own equipment to Gem Valley. We do make the exception for flashlights, however!

12. Do you accept Credit Cards?

Yes, we accept Visa, Master-card, American Express and Discover, Checking Debit Cards as well as cash, but we do not accept checks. Gift Certificates are available in the Gem Shop.

13. Do you have grills and picnic tables?

Yes, Gem Valley has a full park area, including outdoor grills and tables so plan to bring a picnic lunch with you when you visit. Snacks and drinks are also sold in Gem-Shop. Alcohol is strictly prohibited on Gem Valley grounds.

14. Are pets allowed?

We do allow dogs onto the park area under certain conditions. We ask that your pets remain leashed and with you at all times. Retractable leashes should be in the locked position. You are responsible for cleaning up after your pet! We do request dogs to be current on the rabies vaccine as accordance to State law. You may be asked to present papers for proof. We reserve the right to request you to leave park grounds if your pet is not leashed, showing signs of aggression, or without proof of current rabies vaccine.

15. Can you identify rocks, or cut rocks?

Yes! Employees at Gem Valley are there to help you learn and enjoy your mining experience. We have gemologist at Gem Valley ready to help you identify your stones. We can facet or cab your material and even place your stones in jewelry of your choice for a reasonable price. If you found the stone at Gem Valley we will identify it for you for free. If you bring in a stone or gold from somewhere else to be tested, we do charge a small fee. Please note that due to the high volume of requests and to maintain quality customer service, we only examine stones found at Gem Valley.

16. What times are you open?

We are open from the first week in May to the middle of October. Thursday-Monday 9:00AM-3:00PM (Closed on Tuesday and Wednesdays) Please note that no new miners are allowed at the flumes after 2 PM. Visit our Contact Page for more information!

17. Do you close for bad weather?

We do. The flumes are fed by our creeks which are susceptible to flooding with heavy rain. We will not shut the flumes down for light rain, but have been forced to close the park down during heavy storms. We also close during the winter as the weather is not ideal for panning in the cold waters. We apologize for any inconveniences due to the weather as it's beyond our control!

**Please note that we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for any reason. Unruly behavior, conduct, or abuse of park property is not tolerated and responsible parties will be asked to leave. Please help keep Gem Valley a wonderful experience for everyone!

Is your question not on here? Feel free to contact us!