Quartz, Topaz, Emerald, and Fairy Crosses!!

Quartz, Topaz, Emerald, and Fairy Crosses!!

I went rock hunting with my brother and niece recently. We found lots of great rocks and I thought I’d share a few of them. First is a nice piece of quartz (I like to call them pencil quartz but this would be a BIG pencil!). The rusty color is internal to the rock, which is pretty cool! I think I’ll try to polish it a bit, but don’t really plan on changing it much. I like the way it looks!

Quartz

 

The second find of the day was a great piece of topaz. The topaz we find is usually clear or maybe has just a touch of blue in it. As you may have read in previous gemstone posts, topaz’s blue color can come from heat and exposure to radiation. North Georgia ‘s mountains have a lot of granite (which may contain trace radioactive elements). I think I’ll play around with a smaller piece of topaz and a butane torch to see if I can get color enhancement. If so, maybe I’ll try it on this piece. At 168.4 carats, I don’t want to damage it.

 

The last find I want to share is this great piece of moonstone (I think). I love the orange colors and I believe it will make a great cabochon. I’ll cut a slab or two off it and see if I can get it to shine. I’ll post pictures and let you know how it works out.

In addition to the ones I found, I ordered a bag of chiastolite fairy crosses and staurolite fairy crosses (these came from Fannin County Georgia). If you recall from The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian, the elf Findecano was trapped in a chiastolite fairy cross, so I had to get me at least one. And Aidan found a bunch of staurolite fairy crosses before Maggie found Findecano’s prison. Given how important fairy crosses are to the books, I just had to have some.

Quartz

The last picture I wanted to share with you is this emerald. I found this one a while back and want to take it to my friend for him to examine and cut for me. This one is about 16 carats, but it has a great green color and I hope he’ll be able to create a beautiful stone from it!

I’ll be heading out for another rock hunting excursion soon. If I find some noteworthy specimens, I’ll be sure to post pictures. In the meantime, check out the blog for other gemstone posts and subscribe so you don’t miss any updates. Connect with me on social media, too! I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest! I look forward to meeting new friends!!

Gemstones and Wire-Wrapping – or What I’ve I Been Up To Lately!!!

I’ve been reading, doing a little writing (revisions on The Gemstone Chronicles and a new work-in-progress) and I haven’t done a post about gemstones in quite a while. So, I wanted to share some of what I’ve been up to with my gemstone collection (which keeps growing!). Because I have so many rocks now, I decided to take up wire-wrapping. Before I get to that, though, I wanted to share pictures of a few tumbled stones that I really like. I believe three of the rocks shown below are obsidian, but the fourth one is a smoky quartz. I would love to show you the light shining through it, but the picture just wouldn’t work.

Round Tumbled Obsidian Wire

Round Tumbled Obsidian

Rectangular Tumbled Obsidian Wire

Rectangular Tumbled Obsidian

Tumbled Obsidian and Smoky Quartz Wire

Tumbled Obsidian and Smoky Quartz

In the picture above, the smoky quartz is in the upper right and looks similar to the other stones. However, when the light shines on it, you can see through the stone.

Those are just a few of the stones from my tumblers (which run 24/7). Having all these tumbled stones led me to try my hand at wire-wrapping as I mentioned above. It’s a lot more difficult than I thought it would be and I watch a lot of videos about different types of wrapping. I try to keep mine fairly simple, since I am still learning. Below are a few examples of my efforts.

Onyx Gemstones Wire

Drilled and Wrapped Onyx

Quartz Pendant Gemstones Wire

Drilled and Wrapped Pencil Quartz Pendant

The quartz stone below were drilled using my Dremel drill press stand. It did a great job and made a clean smooth hole in the center of the stone. Perfect for wire wrapping! Here is a picture of my setup

Dremel Gemstones Wire

Dremel Drill press

Drilled and Wrapped Quartz Gemstones Wire

Center Drilled and Wrapped Quartz

Aventurine Gemstones Wire

Wrapped Aventurine

I know I have a lot of work to do and much more practice to go before the techniques are learned and the results acceptable, but I’m having fun!

Because I need some thinner pieces (and you can’t count on finding those in a natural state), I’m going to start using my tile saw to slab some of my larger rocks. I’ll do a post on that soon. After cutting the slabs, I’ll use my templates to get rough shapes and then throw the stones in the tumbler to polish them and get them ready to  wire wrap. I won’t make perfect shapes, but that’s fine by me. I prefer a more organic look anyway!

So, there you have what I’ve been up to with my gemstones. Like them? Leave me a comment and let me know or drop me an email at bill@williamlstuart.com. And, if you don’t want to miss any of my posts, consider subscribing to the blog. Lastly, if you are on the socials and want to connect, find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, and Pinterest. I’m always looking to meet new friends!

 

My Collection – Gemstones and More Gemstones!!

After digging through a box the other day, I decided I finally needed to organize my collection of rocks garnered from my many trips to the North Georgia Mountains. I was surprised and excited when I went through my plastic bags and grouped the stones together. I didn’t realize all the cool stones I had!

Let’s start with hematite. If you recall a previous post on hematite, this stone looks like a dark gray lump, but, once tumbled, turns into a beautiful silver color. The cool thing about hematite is that when rubbed against sandpaper, it leaves a red streak (hence the name hematite, which comes from the Greek root word for blood). Hematite is one of my favorite stones!

Hematite Collection

Hematite Collection

Quartz is a great stone, too! It comes in many colors and I haven’t found one I didn’t like. In my collection, I have clear, rose, lemon (yellow), smoky, and the cool pencil quartz. I had clear quartz cut into round brilliant cut stones and they are gorgeous!

Round-Brilliant-3-Carats-Web

Round Brilliant Cut 3 Carats

 

Faceted Gemstones Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

Round Brilliant Cut Quartz Pair

The stones below are quartz as I found them. I will start with the pencil quartz. It is a misleading name, as some of the crystals are much larger than a pencil!

Pencil-quartz-Jan-2016

Pencil Quartz Collection

I think some of these would look great just hanging from a chain, but a couple of them are too big for anything except maybe a paperweight! Below is a picture of one of the large crystals.

Large-Pencil-Quartz-Jan-2016

Large Pencil Quartz

 

Clear and lemon quartz are beautiful stones, too. I think I might send my gem cutter a couple of the lemon quartz to see what he can do with them. I expect they will be gorgeous! Here are some of each.

Clear-Quartz-Jan-2016

Clear Quartz Collection

 

Lemon Quartz Collection

Lemon Quartz Collection

Aventurine is another quartz stone and usually has bits of mica or other minerals that give it a shimmering appearance. Here is my collection of aventurine.

Aventurine Collection

Aventurine Collection

 

Amethysts and citrines are other forms of quartz. I have a nice collection of each and I have some large amethysts. Which are your favorites?

Amethyst Collection

Amethyst Collection

 

The two large amethysts are shown on the scale below. Using the conversion of 5 carats per gram, the first stone is 630 carats and the second is 575 carats!

Collection 630 Carat Amethyst

630 Carat Amethyst

 

Collection 575 Carat

575 Carat Amethyst

Both of these stones are too fractured to cut into gemstones, but I love the deep purple color of them.

The citrines are a golden version of amethyst. I like the lighter color ones, but the darker ones (second picture) are the ones I might send to the gem cutter to see if he can get anything out of them.

Citrine Collection

Citrine Collection

 

Collection Citrine Dark Tips

Citrine Dark Tips

I have a large number of emeralds, too. One of my all-time favorite stones, these are rough and ready to tumble. I might have a few that are suitable for gem cutting.

Emerald Collection

Emerald Collection

Collection Emeralds to Facet

Emeralds to Facet?

If you recall from The Gemstone Chronicles Book Two: The Amethyst, Laura used a moonstone to turn her friends and family invisible during a battle. Now, I haven’t tried invisibility with these moonstones, but I like them!

Moonstone Collection

Moonstone Collection

I find lots of garnets. The garnets are a deep red and its hard to show the color in a photo. I did manage to capture one, though. What do you think of them?

Garnet Collection

Garnet Collection

 

Collection Garnet Red

Garnet

Lastly, I wanted to share my collection of rubies and sapphires. Now, I don’t believe any of these are gem quality stones, but I like them anyway. I think when I start cabbing (making cabochons) in the near future, I will do a few of these just to see how they turn out. Stay tuned for them!

Rubies and Sapphires Collection

Rubies and Sapphires Collection

 

Collection Rubies and Sapphires 2

Rubies and Sapphires

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I have more, but these are the favorites of my collection. What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment, subscribe to the blog, email me at bill@williamlstuart.com, or connect with me on social media. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, or Tumblr!

Gemstones Again!! Faceted Emerald, Quartz, and Citrine!

Gemstones again! I haven’t done a gemstone post in a while (partially because I haven’t been gemstone hunting due to other commitments – like marketing The Gemstone Chronicles), but I now have some very cool stones to showcase! Before I get to the final versions of the gemstones, though, I wanted to show you what the stones looked like when I found them.

The first stone is an emerald. I sent this one over to my gem cutter friend because it had a great green color when illuminated by a strong light. And, the natural shape was pretty cool!

Gemstones Again Emerald

I know the picture doesn’t show the green color. It was difficult to capture…

The second stone I want to show you is a quartz crystal. I found this one and it was extremely clear. Now, I believe the stone is beautiful in its natural state. What do you think?

 

Gemstones Again Quartz

The final stone is a citrine. For those not familiar with citrines, they are the same stone as an amethyst, but with different impurities to give them a yellowish-orange color.

How did the gemstones turn out? I think they are amazing! Here is the finished emerald. While not as green as Lana’s emerald from posts past, or what I envision the Emerald from the Elven Bow in Book Three: The Emerald, it is a great stone!

Gemstones Again Emerald-Cut-Emerald-6.5-Carats-Web

If you recall from my Rubies and Diamonds post, I asked my gem cutter friend Gene to facet two round brilliant cut quartz stones. They are 1.25 carats each. Here is a picture of them!

Gemstones Again Faceted Gemstones Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

 

To match these, I asked Gene to cut the quartz rough above in a brilliant cut, as well. I think he did a fantastic job! I can see this as a pendant or perhaps a really big ring!

Gemstones Again Round-Brilliant-3-Carats-Web

 

The last stone is the citrine. I have a bunch of citrines, but they are usually so fractured inside that they aren’t really suitable for faceting. The stone above seemed very clear and, as it turned out, it was!

Gemstones Again Citrine-Princess-Cut-1.7-Carats-Web

Apologizes again for the pictures as they really don’t show the beauty of the stones, but, as you can see, this Princess Cut weighed in at 1.7 carats and is a great yellow color!

I have to go through the stones I found this past weekend and see if I can find a few more to send to Gene! I also plan to start creating cabochons after the holidays, so stayed as I post progress on them!

What do you think of the finished stones? How do you think they should be mounted? Gold or Silver settings? Pendants or rings? Let me know how you would mount them?

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You can connect with me on social media, too, and let me know what your thoughts about the stones are. I can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Goodreads, Tumblr, or just send me an email to bill@williamlstuart.com!

Happy Holidays!!

Gemstone Hunting Secrets – The Process Revealed!!

Gemstone hunting! One of my absolute favorite pastimes and one that led to the writing of The Gemstone Chronicles. I have talked about it in previous posts and even posted some pictures from the trips. Today, though, I want to walk you through the steps I go through when I pursue this hobby of mine! Yes, my gemstone hunting secrets revealed!

All of the pictures were taken by me on Sunday, March 15 at my favorite spot, Gold n’ Gem Grubbin’ in Cleveland, GA. If you have read any of my previous posts on this topic, you already know some of this, but let me summarize for new readers. Gold n’ Gem Grubbin’ is part of a commercial gold mine in the North Georgia Mountains. The property was part of the Loud Mine and continues to produce gold today.

For gold prospectors and gem enthusiasts, it is a great place to go for a fun (and sometimes profitable) visit. The site offers buckets and a covered sluice for sifting through the dirt to uncover treasures. They also offer mining at the creek – which is my favorite part. Gold n’ Gem Grubbin’ puts dirt dug from the mine pit next to the creek that runs through the property. Diggers can then fill buckets with dirt from the pile, take it to the creek, and sift through it. Whatever you find, you get to take home!

When we arrived (we being my brother John, his daughter Simone, and me) on Sunday morning, we had a fresh pile of dirt to dig through. However, it was wet and heavy dirt from recent rains, and it made for some heavy buckets!

Gemstone Hunting Secrets Dirt Pile

Our process is to fill 5 gallon buckets with dirt from the pile and lug the buckets down to the creek. Trust me when I say that after 4 hours of toting buckets of dirt, you will be pretty tired! Here are my 4 buckets ready to be screened.

Gemstone Hunting Secrets Buckets of Dirt

I like to stack my screening boxes on top of one of the buckets and fill from another bucket. Why? Because I can let the dirt sift through the screens and sift out larger rocks. This way, by the time I get to the last bucket, I have some sifted dirt I can put into my sluice box. More on that in a minute. First, I wanted to show how the boxes look when full of dirt and placed in the creek to begin the washing process.

Gemstone Hunting Secrets Screening boxes

I try to let the creek do most of the work in the process. I tilt the boxes up on each other to get good water flow through the dirt. Most of the dirt simply washes away and leaves a box full of rocks. In the box below, I found a pretty sizable ruby. It’s always a bonus to find something so easily!

 

Gemstone Hunting Secrets Screen Box with Ruby Outlined

As I mentioned above, I like to work through all the buckets and then dump the sifted dirt into my sluice box. It isn’t necessary to sift it first, but with the sluice box, it makes it easier to run dirt through. Below is a picture of the sluice box in the creek. If there is any gold in the dirt, it will either catch on the black mat or get caught in the green carpet.

Gemstone Hunting Secrets Sluice Box

Once the dirt is run through the sluice, I rinse the carpet off in a bucket and then dump the contents of the bucket into my gold pan. I didn’t find any gold on this day, but I have found a few flakes before. It’s a bonus when you find the gold!

So, what did I find during my first gemstone hunting trip of the year? I found a few nice rocks, but the take wasn’t as good as some trips. Nevertheless, any day of gemstone hunting is a great day! Here are the results. The first picture is some of the gemstones I found.

Gemstone Hunting Secrets March 15 gemstones

From the upper left moving clockwise, we have rubies, garnets, quartz, citrine, and aventurine. Remember the ruby in the picture above, well, here is another view. The scale is set for grams, so doing the conversion, the stone is about 35 carats. Unfortunately, I don’t think this one would be a candidate for faceting, so it isn’t worth much. I still like it, though.

Gemstone Hunting Secrets Big Ruby

There you have the process we use to hunt for gemstones. I did find a smaller ruby (about 20 carats) that I plan on sending to my gem cutter to see if it is a good stone. When a stone is cut, you lose about 75% in the cutting process, but, if the stone is a good one, I could end up with a 5 carat ruby. Not bad for $15 visit!

What do you think about our process? It really isn’t secret, but it is tons of fun! Any suggestions on making it more efficient? If you hunt gemstones, what do you do and where do you go? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google +.  can also be reached by email at bill@williamlstuart.com. I look forward to meeting you!

 

Faceted Gemstones – Newest Additions!!

Regular readers of my blog (or my books) know that I’m a big fan of gemstones. I love faceted gemstones, cabochons, and tumbled stones. My books, The Gemstone Chronicles series, use the magical and mystical properties of gemstones as the basis of the magic the characters discover. I frequently go gemstone hunting at my favorite spot in the North Georgia Mountains, Gold n’ Gem Grubbin’, in Cleveland, GA. My two rock tumblers run almost all of the time, smoothing out the rough edges and polishing the stones I’ve found to a brilliant luster. Occasionally, though, I find a special stone that can be cut and faceted. Shown below is the first stone I ever had cut (an emerald)!

 

Faceted Gemstones Lana's emerald

Lana’s emerald

 

A 2.25 carat stone, it appraised nicely, and is still loose. Lana hasn’t decided on a setting yet. The stone is gorgeous, and since it was my first find, it is extra special!

My brother John found the peridot shown in the photo below. I had it cut for Lana. It weighed in at about 2.5 carats and I had it set in a sterling silver ring for her birthday. Beautiful!!

 

Faceted Gemstones

Lana’s peridot ring

 

Now, I have two new additions to the faceted gemstones family! I was hunting and found this rough ruby and sent it over to my faceting friend and he worked his magic. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the rough.

After cutting and polishing, here is the final faceted stone. Not huge by any means, but still weighing in at 1.3 carats, it is a great little stone!

 

Faceted Gemstones Ruby

Faceted Ruby

 

Note the description in the picture says sapphire, which is true. Recall that red sapphires are rubies! Gene cut the stone in a Cushion Cut, and it turned out beautifully!

I also sent over a piece of clear quartz that was stunning as a rough piece. Gene cut me two round brilliant cut stones about 1.25 carats each. I wanted to see how the quartz would turn out in a traditional diamond cut. I think they turned out great! What do you think?

 

Faceted Gemstones Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

Round Brilliant Cut Quartz

 

What do you think about my faceted gemstones! I have some garnets that might facet well, but I have to get them cleaned up and see what they look like. A nice sapphire (blue not red) or a piece of aquamarine to have cut might be nice, but no such luck yet. I guess I just have to keep on looking!

Which of my faceted gemstones is your favorite? What setting would you use for the emerald or the ruby? Do you think the quartz brilliant cuts look like diamonds? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Georgia Gold Mines -There’s Gold in Them There Hills!

The California Gold Rush and the legendary Miner 49ers. We all learned about that gold rush in school. But, did you know that before gold was found in California, there was a gold rush in North Georgia? It’s true! There were many Georgia gold mines! Gold was discovered around Dahlonega in 1828, twenty years before gold was found at Sutter’s Mill.

Georgia Gold Mines Dahlonega Mint

Dahlonega Mint

At the height the of the gold rush, there were over 500 gold mines operating in 37 counties in North Georgia. Boom towns sprang up, miners streamed into the state, and many people found riches. And gold flowed out of the mines – so much so that a mint was opened 1838 in Dahlonega to process the gold into coins. Wikipedia says it’s estimated that from 1828 through the mid-2oth century (when commercial gold mining in Georgia stopped) 870,000 troy ounces of gold were mined. At today’s price of $1218/ounce, that is over $1 billion!!

In 1832, the state of Georgia held a Gold lottery, selling 40 acre lots across North Georgia – land that belonged to the Cherokee. Despite protests from the Cherokee, the lottery winners swarmed into the lands and settled. The Cherokee were soon to be forcibly relocated along the infamous Trial of Tears. In The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian, Aidan finds some staurolite fairy crosses. One of the legends regarding the staurolite fairy crosses is that they are the result of the tears the Cherokee shed as they were forced from their home in the mountains.

Georgia Gold Mines Staurolite Fairy Cross

Staurolite Fairy Cross

I plan a future post of the Gold Lottery of 1832 and the Trail of Tears, so I won’t go deeper into that subject here.

There were some notable figures with ties to the Georgia Gold Rush. John C. Calhoun, Senator and the 7th Vice President of the United States, owned the Calhoun Mine. The Calhoun Mine produced a lot of gold during its time, as did the Loud Mine and the Consolidated Mine. The Calhoun Mine was managed for a time by Thomas Clemson, the founder of Clemson University.

Much of the gold found during the beginning of the gold rush was placer gold. Placer gold is gold that eroded away from the vein and deposited in stream beds, at the mouths of rivers, and other such places. Gravity wins with gold, as it is about 19 times heavier than water, so it won’t travel far from the source. By some estimates, gold will only travel about 1500 feet from the source. After the easily found gold was exhausted, miners invaded the creeks, streams, and rivers to dig into the beds and pan for gold. Below is a gold nugget found in the Dahlonega area.

Georgia Gold Mines Gold Nuggest

Dahlonega gold nugget

According to the Consolidated Gold Mine website, in 1845, John Hand developed a hydraulic mining method to dislodge material from the hillsides. This method meant that water cannons would point at a hillside and blast away the mountain and send the mud and rocks down the hillside and into sluices positioned below. Another method was to find the gold-bearing quartz (quartz is plentiful in Georgia), run the quartz through a stamp mill, crush the rock, and extract the gold. If you are lucky enough to be able to prospect on some of the lands around Dahlonega, you can still find tailing piles from the hydraulic mining days, and yes, there is still gold in them!

The gold rush in Georgia really died out when gold was discovered in California. With the difficulties of extracting the gold from the mountains, miners moved west and left the Georgia mountains. Wikipedia tells us the assayer at the Dahlonega Mint told the miners that there were still millions in the mountains, but he couldn’t persuade the miners to stay.

However, gold mining in Georgia wasn’t done. As mentioned above, commercial mining continued until the mid-20th century. The Consolidated Mine operated from 1895 until 1906 when the company failed. Whatever the reason it failed, it appears that it wasn’t due to a lack of gold! Below is a picture of the Glory Hole from the Consolidated Gold Mine.  The hole is shown looking upward. Imagine finding that much gold!

Georgia Gold Mines Glory Hole

Consolidated Gold Mine Glory Hole

There is still gold in the Georgia mountains. It may be hard to come by, but the search is half the fun. I have a small sluice box that I use when I go gemstone hunting. I haven’t found any gold yet, but I have found where it wasn’t! Like Beebop’s character in The Gemstone Chronicles, though, I will keep looking because you never know! I might just start the next Georgia Gold Rush!

Are there gold mines where you live? Have you prospected? Just in case you might want to, here is a link to a site that gives links to prospecting clubs by state: http://www.goldminershq.com/clubs/gold1.htm.

If you have prospected, leave me a comment with the results of your search. I look forward to hearing about your adventures!

If you like this post, please feel free to comment and share. Feedback is always welcome!!

Happy prospecting!

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Rubies and Diamonds (OK, the diamonds are quartz)!!

Everyone who reads this blog or who has read The Gemstone Chronicles knows that I, like the character of Beebop from the books, love to hunt gemstones. Rubies and diamonds and sapphires, oh my! I try to go about once per month and see what I can find. A few weeks ago, I went and had a great day finding rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and a great piece of clear quartz. I went with my brother John, and we made a significant dent in the dirt pile! Here is what it looked like when we arrived.

Dirt Pile Before Rubies and Diamonds

And this is what it looked like when we left. Like I said, a significant dent.

Robies and Diamonds After Dirt Pile

But, I don’t want to talk about the dirt pile or what we found overall. What I wanted to show you today is what I did with some of the stones I found. Below are a couple of pictures of ruby rough that I sent to my gem cutting friend (whom John and I refer to as “He Who Cuts Stones”).

bis and Diamonds small Ruby RoughThis is the small piece of ruby rough that I sent. I didn’t weigh it before I sent it for cutting, but He Who Cuts Stones was able to make a nice little faceted ruby (picture to come later).

This is the second piece I sent to be evaluated for faceting. I didn’t think it would yield anything that was gem quality, and I was right. I think it might make a great cabochon, though!

Rubies and Diamonds Ruby Rough

As promised, here is the picture of the faceted stone made from the small ruby rough. I think it is a beautiful little ruby!

Rubies and Diamonds Ruby facetNote that the description in the picture says this is a sapphire. Rubies and sapphires are both corundum. The red variety of corundum is the ruby. All other colors are sapphires. The cut is similar to an emerald cut, and I think this stone is gorgeous and, at 1.3 carats, is a very nice stone. Not as big as the Ruby from Book Four:The Ruby, but still beautiful!

I also sent an extremely clear piece of quartz that I found to Gene. I asked him to cut a couple of brilliant cut pieces between one and one and a half carats, but I wasn’t sure what how they would turn out. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised! This is the piece of quartz after the pieces were cut.

Rubies and Diamonds Quartz roughI know it isn’t the best picture. The stone was about twice that large before it was cut. There is still a good-sized piece of quartz, and I could probably get a few more cut pieces from it. What I did get, though, was beautiful!

Rubies and Diamonds Quartz FacetedThe picture doesn’t do the stones justice, but I think they will make a great pair of earrings for the lovely and adorable Lana! They are round brilliant cuts and, as the picture shows, 1.25 carats each. They look like diamonds!

It is results like this that make gemstone hunting worthwhile for me. I want to learn how to cut the facets, but that is a topic for another post.

What is your favorite hobby? What do y’all think about the stones? Leave me a comment and let me know!

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Hogg Mountain Mine – The Hunt for Aquamarines!!

A couple of weeks ago, my brother John and I ventured over to LaGrange, Georgia to check out the Hogg Mountain Mine and hunt for aquamarines. Despite the fact that we didn’t find any of the blue-green gemstones, we had a great time, met some interesting people, and are planning a return trip when it is a bit cooler!

This isn’t hard rock mining, but we were certainly working in the pit! This first picture is the entrance to the mine pit.

Hogg Mountain Mine Pit

We moved a little deeper into the mine and made it to the main pit. As you can see from the bright blue skies, it was a sunny day, and it got hot later in the afternoon!

Hogg Mountain Mine Main Pit Wall

I know you are probably wondering what the picture above is. Well, it’s part of the wall of the main pit. The white is almost like talc – very soft and easy to dig in. The dark splotches are tourmaline. Tourmaline is a very brittle stone and breaks away easily. The idea is to dig into the wall and try to find aquamarine that may be hidden in the wall. Of course, there are other stones to dig around and to find. Lots of clear quartz crystals (with very sharp edges, so wear gloves!), and some beautiful rose quartz.

The picture below is another view of the wall. Note the rusty-red streak going down the wall. Lots of iron in the soil, so you do get rust!

Hogg Mountain Mine main Pit 2

You’ve seen the mine and the wall we dug in, so what did we find?

Partial haul from Hogg Mountain Mine

This is a small sampling of what I brought home. There are clear and rose quartz crystals, a chunk of darker quartz at the bottom right of the picture, three pieces of black tourmaline, and my purchased aquamarine on the left. Not bad for a day’s work. I can see the rock tumbler will be busy!!

Black Tourmaline from hogg Mountain Mine

The tourmaline (shown above) is in the walls of the pit. Luckily, there was another section of the mine where it was simply on the ground for easy pickup.

What we went to try to find, though, was aquamarine. We dug for the entire day and didn’t find any. That’s the nature of the gem hunting game, though. You never know what you might find and you might not find anything. The owner of the mine, though, had some specimens available for purchase, so I bought myself a small aquamarine rough stone. I like it and will tumble it soon to see how it turns out!

Hogg Mountain Mine Aquamarine

I love the blue-green color and it’s my birthstone. If you remember from The Gemstone Chronicles Book One: The Carnelian, Beebop used his aquamarine to help defeat the kelpie, and the stone is one of the gemstones in the Elven Sword, so this stone has a lot of meaning for me!

I hope you will go out exploring the area in which you live and see what kind of gemstones you can find! if you do, drop me a note and let me know what you find. Who knows, I might have to make a trip to see if I can find something cool in your area, too!!