St. Patrick’s Day Gem Hunting!
St. Patrick’s Day gem hunting! I have a wee bit (okay a lot) of the Irish in me and decided to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a trip to my favorite gem hunting spot in the north Georgia mountains. This time, though, I tried to do a better job of taking some pictures of what we do when we rock hunt.
Now, I know there are easier ways of doing this. Many people prefer looking through the buckets you can purchase and then wash in the flume. I prefer to do it down at the creek. Maybe it is the restful nature of sitting there with your feet in the stream (although we did wear boots so that our feet didn’t get cold and wet), or maybe it is the idea that the pile isn’t seeded like the buckets, but whatever the reason, I like to sift through the dirt pile down by the water.
This is the dirt pile from which we fill our buckets. We bring our own shovels, buckets, and screens, but you can borrow equipment at the store. Below are buckets of dirt ready to be sifted in our screens!
Here we have a picture of the way we set up to screen the dirt into the creek looking for shiny rocks! See all the screens we have loaded up with dirt and ready to be searched?
What we found!
At the end of the day, we gather up our finds and head home. It was kind of unusual for us in that we didn’t find any really large stones. I found a lot of garnets and quite a few topaz, but we didn’t find any smoky or lemon quartz. One of my favorite stone I found was a smallish moonstone. Although the colors don’t show up very well, it is a brownish red stone and looks really cool!
If you have read The Gemstone Chronicles Book Two: The Amethyst, you will remember that Laura uses her moonstone to cloak her family and friends with invisibility – supposedly one of the magical properties of moonstone. I will have to give it a try and let you know how it works!
As I mentioned above, I found a lot of garnets during the day. The garnets we usually find up there are bigger, but very fractured. Garnets aren’t easy to work with as they are very brittle. They don’t tumble particularly well, even with other garnets, and generally break into smaller pieces. I will have to take some of these out to my gem cutter friend and see if he can do anything with them.
I tried to show the reddish color of the garnet in the picture below, but it is hard to get the light shining through!
As usual, we did find a fair number of amethysts, but none of the large ones (like the 415 carat stone I found a while back), and most of what we found had a lot of other stone mixed in with it. Nonetheless, I have included a close up of one of the amethysts I found so you can get an idea of what it looks like. The purple in this stone is cool, although it isn’t the dark purple like I have found in other stones.
I will be tumbling some of these stones in the not too distant future. I have to wait until my current lot finishes. My next trip will probably be a gold prospecting trip. I recently joined the Weekend Gold Miners. I will try to take some pictures of what I find (assuming that I find anything)!
Have you gone gem hunting (either in a stream or in the buckets)? What did you find?