Towns and counties across North Carolina — and in particular, western N.C. — take their mineral and mining heritages seriously, and several proudly hold annual festivals, fairs or shows to celebrate their rich gem, mineral, and mining history and culture. This region is one of the richest in the world for hosting important gem and mineral related shows. Each year in the spring and summer, the little town of Franklin becomes a magnet for buyers and collectors from throughout the southeast states and around the country. They come to shop at four shows in Franklin in May and five shows in late July. Local organizations and volunteers enthusiastically participate in the gem show season. Some shows are operated by the local gem and mineral club and the chamber of commerce, and the dozens of area “gem mines” enjoy their peak season, providing tourists with the unforgettable experience of sluicing for authentic gemstones — sapphires, rubies, garnets, emeralds, and many more!