The Great Emerald Hunt results…

As I told you last week, Uncle John and I went to Hiddenite NC for the Great Emerald Hunt and to dig at the mine and try to find some emeralds. We made the four-hour drive from our Atlanta area homes on Friday afternoon. We dodged some traffic on the interstate by using the back roads,  and we finally got there.

Saturday morning we got up bright and early and drove to the mine. We were the first customers of the day at Emerald Hollow Mine. We told them we wanted to dig. They issued our dig permit and gave us our complimentary bucket of dirt ticket (pictures coming later in the post). We also found out that the digging area was about a 400 yard walk from the parking area. Doesn’t sound like a long distance, but when you are carrying shovels, screens, and buckets, it can be a bit of a challenge. I decided to leave Lana’s nice camera in the truck and take pictures with my phone (sorry in advance for the poor photos and the limited number).

We headed into the dig area without a clue on what to look for or how to proceed. That didn’t stop us, though. We discovered the mine was a large tree covered hillside pock-marked from many other dig sites. We scouted around for a bit, then settled in to figure out what we were supposed to do. In retrospect, we should have done more research on how to do what we were doing. Maybe the hosts at the mine should have an introductory seminar on how to dig, but neither of those things occurred. John and I picked out a spot and started the hunt. One of the mine employees stopped by and told us to look for seams of mica and quartz and follow the seam until we (hopefully) hit a vein or some type of gemstone. Alas, in about 6 hours of digging, we found nothing….

We didn’t want to leave empty-handed, of course, so we trekked back to the flumes and claimed our complimentary buckets of dirt. I found a few nice stones in the bucket, so I forked over $25 more and got an “emerald” bucket. It was a good bucket and yielded a number of emeralds and a few other stones. I found some orange calcite, emeralds, blue aventurine, blue sodalite, and a couple of pieces of quartz. Not bad for $25, but I would rather have found some hiddenite or emeralds as we dug. I don’t think I will be heading back to Hiddenite to dig any time soon, but John and I are considering a trip to Hogg Mountain (near LaGrange GA) soon to dig there. Stay tuned for pictures and a post about that trip (should it happen)!! Below are the few pictures that I took.

Emerald Hunt Hiddenite Mine Entrance


Emerald Hunt Screening

More sluicing finds from the Great Emerald Hunt

And just in case any of you were wondering about hiddenite,  below is a picture of a hiddenite faceted stone.

Great Emerald Hunt Hiddenite

There you have it! The Great Emerald Hunt results are in. We didn’t strike it rich at Hiddenite, but we did find where the stones weren’t! Have you been to Hiddenite? If so, what did you find? Leave me a comment and let me know, or, even better, share a picture of your finds with me.

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The Great Emerald Hunt Begins (Tomorrow)!

The Great Emerald Hunt Begins!

Just a short blog post tonight to let everyone know that Uncle John and I made it to the NC mountains!! It was a long drive. Tomorrow, the great emerald hunt begins! We will be digging holes and looking for (and hopefully finding) emeralds, sapphires, aquamarine, and, if we are really lucky, the rare gemstone Hiddenite. Stay tuned for pictures and more blogging tomorrow (or Sunday, since UGA and South Carolina play tomorrow night). John and I will be camped out somewhere watching the game and hoping for a UGA win!

Great Emerald Hunt

We will be at the Emerald Hollow Mine bright and early and plan a full day of digging. Hopefully, we will find some good rocks (including the rare and elusive Hiddenite) during the Great Emerald Hunt! If not, we can always sift through some of the buckets for sale. I promise we won’t come home empty handed!! It’s too long of a drive for that…

If any of you readers have been to the Emerald Hollow Mine, what did you find? Did you think it was worth your time and effort? Leave me a comment and let me know! And feel free to send a picture of your finds. I’d like to see them!

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Fascinating Facets….

Fascinating facets!

One of the more fascinating aspects of gemstones are the faceted jewels. You know the ones: brilliant cut diamonds, emerald cut emeralds, square cut rubies – the list can go on and on.

Very hard and translucent stones are favorites for faceting. Rubies, sapphires, diamonds, quartz, and emeralds are examples of stones that are often faceted. Below are a couple of photos of faceted gems that we found rockhunting at our favorite spot just outside of Cleveland, GA. The loose stone is a 2.25 carat emerald (emerald cut) and the other is a 2.5 carat peridot set in a silver ring. I am waiting for Lana, my lovely and adorable wife, to decide what setting is appropriate for the emerald, but I gave her the ring for her birthday.

Uncle John (my rockhunting brother) found some nice emeralds on his last hunting trip and he has dropped them off with our gemcutter. Hopefully, John will soon have some stones that I can feature here! And, John and I will be heading to NC to hunt emeralds in early October. But for now, enjoy the pictures of Lana’s jewels and the fascinating facets!!

Fascinating facets Peridot Ring

Lana’s peridot ring



Fascinating Facets Lana's Emerald

Lana’s emerald


Which of the stones above is your favorite? Since the emerald was one of my first gem finds, I’m biased. The peridot is gorgeous, though! And just to be clear, they don’t come out of the ground looking like this! I’m curious which you readers prefer.

You can leave me a comment, connect with me on Twitter or Facebook, or send me an email at I look forward to hearing from you! I’m interested in seeing some of your gemstone finds, so feel free to share a photo and let us know where you found them (unless it is your super secret location)!


Gemstone inspiration!!


Lots of people ask me how I got started with gemstones and where did I get the inspiration for The Gemstone Chronicles. Well, it all started a few years ago when my brother John and I were looking for something different to do with his two girls and my grandson. We decided to go a place called Gold ‘n’ Gems Grubbin’ where we could dig for gemstones by the creek. It turned out to be a hobby-inspiring day. We found lots of gemstones (not all of them precious), but John and I are hooked. We try to go about once per month and collect more stones. It was during one of these monthly visits that Aidan (grandson) and I talked about the “mystical” properties of gemstones and The Gemstones Chronicles series was born!

Inspiration The Carnelian Cover

What’s next?

Once we started collecting stones, we started to find ways to enhance them. John found a man who facets stones for a hobby and he has done some amazing stones for John. I joined a local mineral society and have learned the rudiments of making cabochons (look for a post on that soon).

John and I will be heading to NC in late September or early October to do some hard core digging at Gem Mountain. We will be looking for emeralds and other gemstones, so stay tuned for those pictures!

There are many places around the country to find gems. One place I want to go is Diamond Crater State Park in Arkansas where you can actually hunt for diamonds. That is a trip for the summer, but it is on my bucket list!

What are your favorite gem hunting places? I’m always open to new places to explore! What inspiration do you have for your hobbies? If there is somewhere near where you live, have you visited it and what did you find? Leave me a comment and let me know!!

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On the second day…. the adventure continues!

On the second day on my fledgling career as an author, I sold my first book!!! I don’t know who the buyer was (unfortunately) so I can’t send them a big thank you, but if you bought it and happen to read my blog, thank you!!! And, if you happen to think of it, please consider leaving a review. I would love to know what you think of the book, and I hope it leads you to read (and review) the rest of The Gemstone Chronicles series!

Second day Carnelian cover

I am working on my author page and will post that link when it is available. Until then, just visit and find The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian or go to You can order the book there. For those who read on their iPad or Nook, you can also get the book for those platforms on iTunes or at!

So my second day was exciting! I will be posting updates as things progress in the series, so stayed tuned!! Never fear, the blog will be more than just my books. I’ll include reviews for books I read, and posts about things that interest me. Maybe you’ll find something new to read or a new hobby!

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In the beginning…..

In the beginning of this literary journey, I had no idea where it would lead. But, with the unfailing encouragement of my lovely wife, the inspiration provided by my grandchildren, and the help of my brother John, I made it to this point. What point, you ask? The e-publication of my first novel, The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian!


In the beginning



This is an exciting event for me. I have been working on the book series for about a year. My awesome editor Abby worked her magic on the manuscript to turn my idea into the product you see today. The story is set in the north Georgia Mountains and the magical world of Celahir. The book chronicles the adventures of Aidan and Maggie, and their grandparents, Nana and Beebop! Filled with elves, magic, and a quest to recover the gemstones stolen from the Elven Bow, it will entertain readers of all ages!

If you want to purchase a copy today, I invite you to visit Smashwords at Tomorrow (August 13) The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian will also be available on Visit here often to leave me your thoughts and comments on the novel and for news on the release of Book Two: The Amethyst.

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