Graves Mountain has been a mecca for rockhounds for years, it is probably the most famous collecting site in Georgia. The geology of the site is very complex, the original rocks were probably deposited during the Pennsylvanian Period (310-280 million years ago). During the late Pennsylvanian or early Permian Period (290-250 million years ago) the region experienced folding and heating, as the region was heated the sedimentary rock metamorphosed into the schist's and quartzite that now composes Graves Mountain. The dominant rock here at Graves is a pyrite/sericite/kyanite/quartz rock, this is a metamorphic rock, the primary ore is kyanite. Commercial mining began in 1963, at one time this mine produced half the kyanite in the United States.
R.J. Jacquot, rockhunting Graves Mountain - The "Tea Pond"
The variety of minerals to be found include: barite, jarosite, phosphosiderite, variscite, quartzite, quartz, rutile, ilmenite, kyanite, pyrite, lazulite, pyrophyllite, hematite, goethite, limonite, sulphur, iridescent hematite, etc.. Mined many years for industrial kyanite, the area is now closed to commercial operations, fortunately the site is still open to rockhounds from all over to collect the excellent specimens found there. Graves is located near central Georgia, the site is open to collecting by appointment only.
In order to gain access, you will need to contact the caretaker, Clarence Norman Jr. at 706-401-3173. Call and he can reserve the mountain exclusively for your group. All mineral clubs that come here to collect, offer the caretaker a donation (usually $15-$20 per person) for his trouble and effort in keeping the mountain open and accessible to them.
GRAVES MOUNTAIN CODE OF CONDUCT!!!
Park your vehicle in the designated area at the end of the paved access road.
NO child under the age of 12 years old is to be allowed on the mountain because of all the dangers involved.
ALL pets must be kept under control and on a leash.
The caretaker, Jr. Norman has final and absolute say as to where you may safely work.
Ladders or power tools of any kind will not be allowed. (HAND TOOLS ONLY!)
STAY AWAY FROM ALL HIGH WALLS!!
NO RAPPELLING OFF OF ANYTHING!!!!!
NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO DRIVE THEIR VEHICLE ON ANY PART OF GRAVES MOUNTAIN BEYOND THE PARKING AREA! (The caretaker must accompany anyone driving beyond the parking area!)
EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE OFF THE MOUNTAIN BY DUSK. (Absolutely no one is allowed on Graves Mountain after dark.)
Please protect our ability to field collect at Graves Mountain!
Don't call after 8:00 PM or on Sunday please.
Jr. will try to accommodate the dates you like, and provide directions to the site. You will need to meet with Jr. to fill out a release form or bring a signed form with you and present it to Jr. when you arrive, you can download a copy of the form below:
The best time to visit the site is fall and winter, the summer can be very hot many times over 100 degrees in the mine, happy hunting.
Check out these YouTube videos of Graves Mountain: