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Gem Capital of the World

Macon County has been dubbed the Gem Capital of the World and for good reason. The hills and mountains around here are riddled with all kinds of gem stones from quartz to garnets to rubies and many more in between all leading to the cache of gem mines in the area. This large source of gems and minerals led to a collection of rock hounds in the area; whom in turn began the Franklin Gem and Mineral Society.

The Museum

In 1972 a small building in the downtown area of Franklin, NC was standing abandoned. The club’s 2nd president brought before the County Commission a request to open a Museum in the building. This museum would not only house rock specimens but educate and benefit the community.


On January 2, 1973, the club was granted permission to be the new occupants of the “Old Macon County Jail”. After 12 months of fund raising and over 2000 hours of volunteer work, the Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum opened its doors to the public on May 25, 1974. An Open House was held on June 30, 1974, with over 200 in attendance.

In just the first 5 months of the museum’s opening 3,207 people had signed the Guest Book. These visitors were from 41 of America’s United States and 4 Foreign Countries. In the second 5 months the museum was open we had 3,947 sign the Guest Book; this time 45 States were represented and 12 Foreign Countries. Over 7,154 people went through the museum in 10 months. In 1990 the club was given a 25-year lease to operate the museum.

The Club

The club started on November 10, 1971 when a group of “Rockhounds” got together to share their interest in gems and minerals. The club received its Charter of Incorporation on February 28, 1972, and by December 1972 its membership numbered 117. Today our members volunteer their time to run and manage the Museum as well as the annual gemborees, and lead our field trips conducted in Spring, Summer and early Fall.

​The Gem & Mineral Society of Franklin, NC is a member of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies (AFMS) and a founding member of the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies (SFMS).​

Visitors are always welcome to join a meeting in Franklin, NC on the last Thursday of the month at 6:30 pm. November and December meeting dates are subject to change due to holidays.  Please check the Events page for exact dates and locations.


About Gems and Minerals

We are a working organization that operates and maintains The Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum.
The Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum is under the direction of the Board of Directors of The Gem and Mineral Society of Franklin, NC, Inc.
The Society and Museum are self-supporting on a 100% volunteer basis.

             Our 2024 Board of Directors:

BACK ROW L-R:  Stacy Walbridge- past-president,  Kathi Walbridge- treasurer, Charlotte Elllert-asst. treasurer, Varshana Dholakia-president, Earl McGaughey-director,

Larry Ellert-museum mgr., Dr Susan Ray- vp/secretary, Kit Terry-director.  Not present:  Carl Seamon, director.


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