There’s emeralds in them thar hills!
Or at least there was, until intrepid, amateur gem seekers stumbled across a treasure trove of fancy rocks in North Carolina worth tens of thousands of dollars.
ABC News reports Libby and Kevin Barrieault were the first to strike non-literal gold in a closed mine in Hiddenite, N.C. They paid mine owner Jamie Hill $25 apiece to explore his North American Emerald Mine last Friday, but are sure to get their money back after selling a 50-carat gem Kevin found under a rock.
They’ll be selling it on eBay. Starting bid: $8,000.
The next day, Hill let Terry Lofgren and her fiance John Kehoe explore his property and they too found jewels, including a 30-carat emerald and 240 more carats of loose emeralds. The Lofgren’s haul is expected to be worth $40,000.
Hill, who’s not let anyone in the family mine in 40 years, says he’s not upset to see amateurs walking away richer.
“I haven’t had a major find in a number of years,” Hill, who stars in an entertaining YouTube video, told ABC. “I figured, if you bring in a whole bunch of recreational miners in here and let them go loose, it’s a great experience for them and they may just find something. It helps me too because it leads me to new locations. So it’s win-win.”
Are more riches just laying on the ground waiting to be picked up?
There’s no telling, but it’s safe to assume there will be an ‘Emerald Rush’ of sorts and Hill’s going to start charging a lot more green to explore his no-longer abandoned mine.