Griffin was fun - of course - how could it not be? The Next Chapter is a great used bookstore run by wonderful ladies with amazing customers who have spectacular taste. You must go next time you're in Griffin... of course, it won't look quite like this unless you go next time I'm there (which might be in March, but I'll keep you posted)
I swung by the Cowee Ruby Mine drivin through Franklin on my way back up on Saturday and found a few, not very nice, Sapphires and pretty much nothing else in my one sifted bucket so I decided to high tail it back to Hiddenite and try my luck there again.
Got there a little after 3pm (they close at 5pm this time of year) and it was already getting just about too dark to see what you were looking at. I got a native bucket and found a few nice pieces. Nothing like in the bucket on the way up though. So after running through that, I ran down to the creek and started looking around. Obviously, it pays to be there early cause it was pretty much picked through. I found a couple here and there and mostly quartz and then ventured across the rocks to the other side and just as I was getting ready to turn around and head back (it was getting pretty dark by then) I looked at the bank and saw some pretty colors poking out of the sand. Pay dirt! as they say. Started moving the leaves away and brushing stones from the dirt. Wound up finding a fairly good couple of handfuls of nice stones in about 10 minutes and then headed back just before closing time.
Wound up finding a really nice Garnet, larger than any of the three I found on the previous rummage on the way up but just as clear and dark. Some nice Rutile, another small ok Sapphire, some Blue Aventurine, some smaller Moonstones, amazingly clear pieces of Smoky and Rose Quartz, some more Moss Agate, Bloodstone, and Red Banded Jasper. Plus a few nice stones I have no idea what they are.
I wound up with a lot of pretty "just rocks" as well as a lot of actual gemstones in my two day, 4 or so hours of sluicing and creeking. See:Those are Phil's manly fingers, not my tiny girly ones like with the Rutile:
That's a 3/4 length bath towel covered in gems... well, the bottom left is a bunch of not so great quartz, quartzite and such like that - up to the blue in the middle, which is where the Aventurine is...
This is a closer look at the more valuable stones:
Flourite in the foreground with Amazonite just behind and Moonstone and Sapphires to the left of that and Garnets above the Moonstone and the little Tourmalines next to the Garnets...
There wasn't a lot of sun today so those two pictures don't really show off the stones that well. Phil took some close ups of the stones he liked yesterday when there was sun though. He thought this was the best Rutile, but I might have better ones:
One of our many lingering lady bugs joined in for this picture... then crawled over to the stones I was cleaning and sorting on the towel. Gives a good scale for the Rose Quartz, don'tcha think:
[We have a lady bug infestation every year, twice a year - Spring and Fall - and we still have a few left from the recent outdoor explosion that wound up inside our windows.]
That's not the really clear one I found on Saturday either. That one is smaller and shaped almost like an arrowhead. I've never found Rose Quartz so clear. It's almost like glass. In fact, Phil asked me if I was sure the large, clear Smoky I found wasn't glass.
It's a good size Smoky and the picture doesn't really show how clear it is since the light is refracting off of all the surface fractures.
So yep. I'll probably be heading back down in early Spring to do it all over again. Should be a great time and hopefully I'll come back with Rubies and Emeralds next time! Going to have a longer stay at the Emerald Hollow Mines on the way down too. Bright and early creeking and sluicing!
I have so many stones now, I guess I'd better break out my tumbler and find someone to teach me how to cut the ones that would be better faceted or cabochoned. One more thing I have to add to my to do list...
Speaking of which, I have a whole table of jewelry that needs getting made... oh, and I gotta get dinner started first.
Rock on til the next installment!