This summer my husband and I took our first research vacation to Nashville. We were doing research for the second book in the Antique Hunters Mystery series. We took a side trip to the small town of Hickory, North Carolina. Outside of Hickory are ruby and sapphire mines.
Years ago we had gone to Hiddenite, North Carolina, the only place in the United States where you can mine for emeralds. We had seen it on the Travel channel. In Hiddenite, we found a .5 carat emerald and a 10 carat citrine.
So, we wanted to try our luck again. This time we knew what to expect. The mine I picked had a covered flume line to shield us from the sun. I also brought bug spray and we wore old clothes. Mining is very dirty, you leave covered with an orange dust. I ended up throwing my clothes away because they would not come clean after several washings.
My husband was the lucky one. He found a 15 carat raw ruby in one of the native buckets. I found an ametrine in one of my seeded buckets. Mines sell both native and seeded buckets for tourists. After we were done mining, we ran to the local jeweler. The jeweler explained that he would cut them but it would take up to six weeks, not the overnight time frame that we had hoped for.
I am thinking about this today because the cut stones finally arrived.Can’t wait to wear these continuing memories of our wonderful vacation. Especially as we plan to spend this afternoon finishing the second book in the series. Every time I wear them I will remember the summer of 2015.