You may be kindred to our 31st president, Herbert Clark Hoover. Hoover graduated from Stanford with a degree in geology in 1895. “By 1914 he amassed the equivalent of $97 million [$4M in his day] …” You may think prospecting is a manly endeavor; on the contrary, Kathleen Creighton Starr Rice of Canada, born 1882, became famous for traveling 800 km on foot, by dog sled and by canoe on her prospecting exploits. “Rice made considerable contributions to mining projects once she had found deposits [of zinc, vanadium, gold and nickel]; she staked 16 nickel and copper claims…”

On a novice level, perhaps you are a rockhound, aka amateur geologist or collector drawn to minerals, stones and fossils. Regardless of age/gender or geologist/rockhound, even in Indiana these insatiable desires can be grasped.

Between the humdrums of COVID-19 and seasonal cabin fever, it is time to clear the cobwebs from the mind, oil the joints that have seized and tap into that urge to hunt, find and gather. There is nothing like a country drive with the anticipation of something new and exciting to get the blood pumping. Destination: none other than Metamora Gem Mine. Metamora Gem Mine, a family-owned and operated business of 12 years, is a fun, exciting and educational experience for all.

When asked what inspired them to open a gem mine, the owners said, “We thought the gem mine would be a historically appropriate attraction for Metamora which would have something for everyone, including an interactive experience, panning for gemstones.”

As many small businesses have succumbed to the repercussions of COVID-19, the owners reflect on their ability to rise above any setback this pandemic can raise. “It has impacted our lives and that of our business. Knowing that tourism would be affected, last April we adapted to this crisis by creating and selling various gem mine kits. This allows people to pan for gems and fossils from the comfort of their home. Our products offer fun, entertaining and educational projects that families can do together. Specialty bags are also offered for birthdays, blacklight viewing or for their metaphysical properties.”

For the past four years, Metamora Gem Mines has hosted a Customer Appreciation Day and plans to continue this tradition. Once a year, Metamora Gem Mine posts on their Facebook page an announcement for this event. Last year's Customer Appreciation Day was their greatest moment: “The turnout was amazing. We truly appreciate our customers and love giving back.”

One of 12 places listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Franklin County, Indiana is the village of Metamora dating back to 1825. Visiting this historic canal town is like taking a step back in time. As with any historical building there comes challenges.
“The cost for upkeep, repairs and maintenance of the 100 + year-old home that houses Meta-mora Gem Mine and Luna's Garden Gift Shop is our greatest challenge,” said the owners.

Most of us know that Indiana has great farmland, but the best gem we can hope to find is a nice river-polished quartz. So where do those lovely gems come from?

According to the owners, “We deal with several mines and vendors throughout the United States to create the most unique blend of mining rough that you will ever find. No misconceptions, these gemstones are not local to our area. We have hundreds of semiprecious and precious gems and fossils in our mix from all over the world, making our variety the best. Our gift shop offers beautiful gemstone specimens and silver gemstone jewelry, along with all sorts of various items from mild to wild.”

As you plan your prospecting expedition, whether at home or as an outing, take a stroll through their Facebook site which can be accessed on any page of their website

Browse their site and do not forget the panning kit for at- home exploration. One of the perks of an online presence is that it attracts new business. Although they have a high volume of repeat business at 80 percent%, they are seeing many new faces due to their marketing efforts. You may also want to join their Facebook group, Metamora Miners, designed to create a Metamora Gem Mine community with nearly 700 members.

Special groups get special pricing. They offer discounts for birthday parties, school/church groups, boy/girl scouts, family gatherings and any group of 10 or more by reservation. Preplanned field trips can also arrange for catering from their restaurant, Gold Diggers Family Diner, located across the canal.
Luna's Garden Gift Shop and Metamora Gem Mine is located on Main Street along the canal in the Mount Holland House. The panning station is located at the rear of the property adjacent to Clayborn Street. They also have a seasonal snack bar located onsite offering drinks, pretzels, nachos and homemade Italian ice.

While traffic slows during the winter months, Metamora Gem Mines and Luna's Garden Gift Shop maintains weekend hours- open Saturday and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m. and by appointment Monday thru Friday. As the winter makes way for spring and the town comes alive, their hours will extend to weekdays as well. Check Google or Facebook for hours. Follow them on Facebook for upcoming events such as black light mining, announcements and ongoing sales.

Gem Mine Jerry will be waiting for your arrival with open arms, picks and shovels.