Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum


Housed in a two-story brick jailhouse built in 1850, the Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum displays samples of thousands of precious and semi-precious stones. The North Carolina Room exhibits specimens from every corner of this mineral-rich state, while the States Room has a collection spanning all 50 U.S. states. When the ceiling lights go out and the black lights come on in the Fluorescent Room, the rocks and minerals glow in neon colors. The museum's second floor presents stones and minerals from around the world, a collection of fossils, and one of the building's original jail cells. Native American artifacts are displayed in the downstairs Indian Room. Gem and minerals have played an important role in the history of Franklin and Macon County, NC. Rubies and sapphires, part of the class of very hard minerals called corundum, were mined in the Cowee Valley as early as 1870. Today, visitors to the Franklin area can try their luck at a dozen commercial gem mines. Most of the mines sell bags or buckets of "gem dirt" (a few of them allow actual digging) and provides screens for separating gems from dirt in a flume of running water. In addition to rubies and sapphires, weekend miners often take home garnets, moonstones, amethyst, and citrine.


25 Phillips St
Franklin, NC 28734


35.18174700, -83.38094300
Visit Website
(828) 369-7831

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