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WNC kids on the hunt at gem mine

From rubies and sapphires to quartz and emeralds, a group of local kids was on the hunt recently at Elijah Mountain Gem Mine hoping to strike it rich. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Every year, about 20,000 people visit Elijah Mountain Gem Mine hoping to strike it rich. Many of those visitors are kids.

From rubies and sapphires to quartz and emeralds, a group of local kids was on the hunt recently. They were like prospectors from the 1800s looking for treasures in dirt from as far away as Brazil and Morocco.

"The most common things thrown out or left behind are the rubies and sapphires, because they are not very pretty and polished," the rockhounds were cautioned.

The kids piled dirt in screen boxes and let the water flowing in the flumes do the work, leaving them to look at the beautiful colored rocks left behind.

The campers from Eliada Home had plans for their new treasures.

"I have a rock collection, believe it or not, but I might get this one polished cause it would look really good if it was polished," Jeremiah said.

"Maybe make a necklace or bracelet or something like that or put them in accessories," Natasha said.

"I was thinking maybe I could sell them and get something else or I could use them. I think I'm going to sell them," Lily said.

The summer campers also got to see the inside of geode. Geodes are formed from gas pockets under the earth from volcanic activity. That allows minerals and water to seep in to form the crystals inside.

Ms. Heather explained this is a good reason to never judge a book by it's cover because you never know what's inside.

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