Rockhounds to gather Oct. 4-6 at Graves Mountain for Rock, Swap & Dig

Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 6:58 PM
Last updated 8:41 PM
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Graves Mountain, a former mine in Lincoln County, Ga., known for its rare minerals, will be open to the public Oct. 4-6 for the semiannual Rock, Swap & Dig, in which visitors can chisel away at rock outcrops in search of minerals.

The otherwise restricted area will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and admission will be free, said Clarence “Junior” Norman, the site’s caretaker.

Graves Mountain became famous in 1859 after it was described in scientific journals as a place where some of the finest known specimens of rutile – an opaque crystal – could be found close to the surface.

The mountain, formed by volcanic activity 500 million years ago, was owned by gemologist George F. Kunz, a principal in Tiffany’s of New York jewelry store. It was mined in the 1960s and 1970s for kyanite, a material used in spark plugs and space shuttle tiles.

During the three-day event, mineral and rock collectors will have booths for buying, selling and trading, and vendors will provide food and drinks. Families are welcome.

From Lincolnton, visitors can go west on U.S. Highway 378 toward Washington. The mine is about three miles ahead on the left. For more details, call (706) 401-3173.

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