Doc’s Rocks, Appalachian Fossil Museum and McCoy Minerals Offer Education, Entertainment and Quality Jewelry Making to High Country Visitors
By Chelsea Sherman
Randy “Doc” McCoy has been collecting rocks since he was a kid. When he served in the Army, he added rocks and gems from all over the world to his collection.
So when it was time to retire from his career as an Emergency Field Surgeon for the Army, he knew what he wanted to do. McCoy went back to school to study geology. He graduated from Appalachian State University with a double major in geology and recreation management.
In 2007, McCoy and his wife Trina started McCoy Minerals—a jewelry retailer, cutting and appraisal store—out of a small 8×10 shed. They soon moved into Mystery Hill, where they opened Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine and the Appalachian Fossil Museum alongside the jewelry business.
“In college, my focus was geology in the Appalachian Range, so I wanted to incorporate that educational piece into what we do,” McCoy says. “Now the gem mine is backed by the Watauga Board of Education for our focus on teaching regional geology.”
Last year, to accommodate the growth the businesses have experienced, McCoy Minerals moved into a larger building on Main Street in Blowing Rock, and the gem mine and museum moved into the Blowing Rock Tanger Outlets.
At Doc’s Rocks, people of all ages can enjoy the mining experience. The facility gets mine ore from 11 different mines all across the Appalachian Mountains, and you never know what you might find. The staff at Doc’s Rocks can help you identify what treasures you’ve found and teach you about where the gems came from and how they formed.
“Visiting the gem mine and fossil museum is a family-friendly experience. Young or old, everyone can have fun and learn something new here,” McCoy says.
After you’ve mined your gems, you can head over to McCoy Minerals and have them turned into beautiful pieces of jewelry. There, you can watch as they cut and set the gems. Customers can also browse the store’s collection of precut gemstones, jewelry, watches and even fossils.
“We have a lot of rare gems from all over the world that you won’t find in most jewelry stores,” McCoy says. “We also have local gems, like rubies from Macon County.”
Throughout the summer, Doc’s Rocks offers “Rock Hound” digging trips, where you can take a trip to the nearby mines and learn how the gemstones are formed and how to mine for them.
Over the years, Doc’s Rocks and McCoy Minerals have become well-loved fixtures of the High Country for their quality craftsmanship, educational opportunities and community impact.
“We’re heavily involved with the local cancer center, we have connections with schools and colleges, we have a Boy Scout and Girl Scout merit badge. It’s just great to have such strong connections in the community,” McCoy says.