Originally created 09/24/05

Mineral collectors dig event



Organizers of a semi-annual outing that lures rockhounds from as far away as Canada and California expect several hundred people to converge at Graves Mountain in Lincoln County, Ga., next month.

Junior Norman, who organizes the "Rock, Swap & Dig" at a defunct mining site widely known for rare and unusual minerals, said the three-day event is scheduled for Oct. 7-9 and will include booths where collectors and dealers buy, sell and trade mineral specimens, prospecting gear and related items.

"We try to do this twice annually, in the spring and fall when the weather isn't so hot," Mr. Norman said. "The last one was in May and we ended up with about 600 people over the entire weekend."

Are there still choice finds left on the mountain? "Oh yeah," he said. "There will always be more stuff to find."

Graves Mountain became famous in 1859 after it was described in scientific journals as a place where some of the planet's finest specimens of rutile - an opaque crystal whose finer specimens command thousands of dollars - could be found close to the surface.

The mountain, formed by volcanic activity 500 million years ago, later 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.

 

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119, or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

IF YOU GO

What: "Rock Swap & Dig" at Graves Mountain

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 7-9

Where: Five miles from Lincolnton on U.S. Highway 378

Activities: Mineral collecting, hiking, digging

Bring: Picks, buckets, gloves, eye protection

Choice finds: rutile, lazulite, hematite, pyrophyllite.

Children: One per adult; younger than 12 not recommended

Admission: Free; hold-harmless signature required

Phone: Junior Norman, (706) 359-3862

On the Web: www.gamineral. org/gravesmt-jh.htmwww.gamineral.org/graves_mtn-minerals.htm