The History Of Sheffield Mine
Sheffield Mine is one of the oldest Ruby Mines still in operation in the Cowee Valley. This mine was once owned by Tiffany's, but for the past 60 years or so,it has been available to the public! Even though this mine has been in operation for so many years, "There's still Rubies in them thar hills! " Oh, yeah! Honkers are found on a regular basis and smaller rubies and sapphires are immensely numerous!
What makes this mine so special are its Star Rubies and Sapphires. This particular type of Ruby is only found right here in the hills of Cowee Valley and one other place Burma, India.
Mother Nature placed these gemstones in beds of clay where they have remained undisturbed for millions of years until we excavate the dirt from the hillside and shovel the gem-bearing clay into buckets from which you work. Each Native Bucket should be taking you at LEAST ONE Hour to work - if you are finished with a bucket in anything less than an hour, you probably didn't get them clean enough and we'll find them a few days after you leave!
Our gemstones appear in all sizes and shapes including the typical hexagonal form and all colors from pink to dark reddish-purple and purple. They most likely will have a rough coating of granite which has not been tumbled away in a creek, but at least one shimmering surface or corner will signal your watchful eye to "Take me home with you". A cut and polished Sheffield Ruby will often STAR and it is not only beautiful, but it's truly distinctive.
When you turn off of Leatherman Gap Road, you'll travel half a mile on a gentle mountain road to reach the mine. After parking in our spacious parking lot, you'll descend to the mining area by stairway. IMPROVED in 2010 and now with a landing complete with somplace to sit if you need to pause for a moment or two before coming all the rest of the way down.