Every mountain county has significant deposits of gems and minerals, and at the Smoky Mountain Gold and Ruby Mine, on the Qualla Boundary, you can search for gems such as aquamarine. Children love panning precisely because it can be wet and messy. Here they're guaranteed a find. Bags of gem dirt can be bought for $4-$10 per bag, and gold ore dirt for $5. Have fun, but don't waste your money on having the gems mounted, as they're almost always of low quality.