and her husband
Yep, that's right. We were at Sheffield Mine in Franklin, North Carolina, hunting for native rubies:
All those buckets right there? Full of dirt from just over the hill. This mine was owned by Tiffany & Co. back in the 19th century. And today? People are still finding rubies hundreds of carats in size.
Gentlemen? Sign me up.
I paid my $15 for two buckets of dirt (and later signed up for a third bucket) and began five hours of rock-grinding, mud-slinging, and many, many laughs:
Oh, yeah. I was ready to find a Honker and vowed that if I did, I would smear mud on my face. So, the search began. Mike, one of the mine's employees, would stop by from time to time to help with identification or show off his favorite ruby finds:
That? Is a BFR with bits of ruby crystals scattered throughout. Just gets the blood pumpin'!
Suddenly, there it was, my big find of the day. A 23 carat "Squeaker." It wasn't the Honker I was hoping for, but close enough:
I'm seriously thinking of opening a spa at the end of the flume. "Come to Sheffield Mine! Get a ruby and a facial!"
And here's my baby:
Not very big:
(Yes, that's a saucer, so you get an idea of scale.)
But it's all mine! Now, I just need three more to have a ring, earrings, and necklace set.
Guess I'm going back! Who's with me?
*Among a handful of my friends, my nickname is Der. It all goes back to a friend's son who, as a toddler, couldn't say "Heather" but could definitely say "Der" and so the nickname stuck.
**Dear John, I love you. Der. :)