2018-10-04 / Front Page

Rockhounds to descend on mountain for Rock Swap and Dig this weekend

Grab your gloves, picks, and shovels and head to Graves Mountain for its bi-annual Rock Swap and Dig. The mountain will be open to rockhounds for three days beginning this Friday, October 5 through Sunday, October 7. Grab your gloves, picks, and shovels and head to Graves Mountain for its bi-annual Rock Swap and Dig. The mountain will be open to rockhounds for three days beginning this Friday, October 5 through Sunday, October 7. The biannual Graves Mountain Rock Swap and Dig is set to begin Friday, October 5, and continue through Sunday, October 7. Con­sidered a “scientific and geological wonder,” Graves Mountain will be open to prospectors and interest­ed onlookers from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. throughout the weekend.

Often called a mecca for rock­hounds, Graves Mountain is one of the most well-known collection sites in the State of Georgia, with an estimated 1,500-2,000 prospec­tors converging on the mountain at the previous dig held last October.

People from all over the United States and Canada enjoy the dig. Large crowds of people from Geor­gia, North Carolina, and Florida, often frequent the biannual event.

The history of Graves Mountain dates back over 100 years, and with its unique geological formation it has been mined by a variety of nationally and globally recognized companies, including the predomi­nant Tiffany & Co.

It has been a fixture watched by eyes from around the world, and as Wylly Folk St. John with Journal and Constitution Magazine made the time-withstanding recommen­dation in 1964, “If you’re planning a weekend picnic to some unusual place in Georgia, you may want to make Graves Mountain your objec­tive. This interesting mineral hill has a pretty trail to the top, from which there’s a fine view of the sur­rounding countryside.”

Recently, Graves Mountain was named among the “Five of the Best Places to go Gem Hunting in the U.S.” by smithsonian.com. Throughout the decades, several publications such as The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Augusta Chronicle, and others have hailed the mountain for being just as rich in its history and folklore as it is mineral-dense.

Treasure hunters present at the October dig can endeavor to un­earth the minerals rutile, kyanite, lazulite, iridescent hema¬tite, py­rophyllite, pyrite, ilmenite, fuch­site, barite, sulfur, variscite, wood­houseite, crandallite, streng¬ite, phosphosider¬ite, cacoxenite, blue quartz, quartz crystals, and more.

“It’s amazing to see the stuff that comes off of the mountain,” Graves Mountain caretaker and former miner, Junior Norman said. “Any­thing that people find, they get to keep.”

Prospectors of the rock swap and dig are asked to take their own picks, hammers, chisels, buckets, gloves, sifters, shovels, pry bars, and safety glasses with them on the weekend excursion. It is likewise a good idea to wear shoes or boots with plenty of ankle support for climbing around rock piles.

Participants will be allowed to park in a designated area on the mountain. There will be several vehicles available to transport par­ticipants who have trouble walking long distances.

A concession stand with grilled hamburgers and hotdogs, chips, and soft drinks, will be provided. Also, special Graves Mountain Rock Swap and Dig T-shirts will be available for purchase.

There is no admission charge, but a small donation is requested to defray the cost of opening the mountain to the public.

Graves Mountain is currently owned by Asea Brown Boveri, a Swiss-Swedish multinational con­glomerate based in Zurich, which is one of the largest electrical engi­neering companies in the world.

For those wishing to try their hand at harvesting minerals at the rock swap and dig, a list of rules and regulations has bene set and must be followed at all times. They are as follows:

(1) Visitors must first stop at the hospitality tent to sign a liability release.

(2) Visitors must park in desig­nated areas.

(3) No one is allowed to drive a vehicle beyond the designated parking areas. To do so, the driver must be accompanied by the care­taker.

(4) Children under the age of 18 must be supervised by an adult.

(5) All pets must be kept on a leash or under control.

(6) Ladders or power tools of any kind are not allowed – hand tools only.

(7) Visitors are asked to stay away from high walls.

(8) Rappelling is not allowed.

(9) The caretaker has the final and absolute say as to where an individual or group may safely work.

(10) Absolutely no one is al­lowed on the mountain after dark.

For more information about the rock swap and dig, contact Nor­man at 706-401-3173 or 706- 359- 3862.

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