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Did you know that the Georgia mountains are home to countless varieties of gem stones? It’s true.
Some recognizable favorites, such as amethyst, garnet, and significant numbers of quartz varieties can be found right here in the sweet, red Georgia earth!
And through the convenience of gem mining locations, everyone can be their own Gem Mining Extraordinaire!
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in 365 Atlanta Family as part of their ABC’s of Summer Series.
Gem mining is a great family activity.
It’s safe, it’s fun, it’s educational, and it enables you to transport yourself to another place.
For an afternoon, you can pretend you’re Indiana Jones going through your treasure stash, or maybe you’re a swash buckling pirate that’s come ashore for some mountain treasure, or maybe you’re part of the 7th Dwarfs and you’ve Heigh-Ho’d your way to the beautiful mountains of Georgia.
Wherever your imagination wants to go, gem mining is great way to help you get there!
Gem Mining in Blue Ridge, GA
We recently took a trip up to Blue Ridge and visited the Lilly Pad Village, a gem mining location just a short (9 mile) drive outside of town.
What: Gem Mining in The Lilly Pad Village
Where: Blue Ridge, GA
When: Open Tuesday-Sunday (closed Monday) Check their website for special holiday hours.
How: If you purchase your tickets online, you can take advantage of their monthly specials. Mention this article to receive a 15% discount! (Valid until August 31, 2017)
Pro Tip: Print out the directions or Google Map ahead of time in case you lose your cell service.
When you arrive, check in at the main office (at the bottom of the hill), then head over to the mining area. The friendly staff greets you with a smile and hands you your super cute apron and bucket.
You’ll be given a Gem Guide who will explain how it all works —basically you scoop the dirt into your wooden sifter and the let the water wash over it. Easy Peazy.
The fun and excitement begins immediately. Everyone is a winner –the buckets are all loaded with gem stones!!
(Fun Fact: This is called a seeded bucket—some gems mines have seeded buckets, some are non-seeded which is just luck of the draw, but I think the seeded buckets are good if you’re going with kids).
Almost immediately, my older daughter pulled out an amazing piece of amethyst!
It was very exciting. There’s always something magical about gem stones but it’s even more special when you find them outside in beautiful natural surroundings.
And then the gems just kept coming and coming. Here’s a picture of our collection just after a few minutes.
The whole experience was a lot of fun.
The staff was friendly and very knowledgeable.
Our Gem Guide happened to be Mr. Geza, the owner. He is great with kids. He explained the difference between rocks and gems and was quick to answer any questions we had explaining mineralogy in easy to understand terms for my girls. The Lilly Pad also has a gem stone chart that lets you match up your gems so you can figure out what you just uncovered.
When you’re done, they give you little baggies to hold all your gems. There’s also a cute outdoor wash station where you can wash your hands with soap, which is nice especially if you have little ones that still suck their thumb.
RELATED: Add your new gems to your home decor like we did with our Gem Stone Terrarium.
The Lilly Pad Village also has mini golf and fishing. We didn’t stay for that because my girls wanted to head back to town for ice cream at Three Sisters (see picture below).
Guess we’ll just need to head back again soon.
In the meantime, we’ll keep working on our super fun gem crafts. We can’t wait to make a gem & succulent terrarium, photo holders, and more. (I told you we got a lot of gems!)
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HI! I’m a Shana, self-proclaimed Media Mixologist, wife, and mom to two little girls. I love to mix up cocktails of crafts, recipes, wellness, family and business with just the right amount of sparkle to help you shine everyday. So, grab a glass, and let’s celebrate the cocktail of life!