Lincoln County, Georgia
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 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, rock hunting 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. A minimum of two people is required to collect. No one is allowed to collect on the mountain alone.
All mineral clubs and rockhounds that come here to collect offer the caretaker a donation for his trouble and effort in keeping the mountain open and accessible to them.
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. The exception to this rule is during the scheduled Rock Swap and Digs which happen the first weekend of October and the last weekend of April yearly.
ALL pets must be kept under control and on a leash.
or power tools of any kind will not be allowed.
STAY AWAY FROM ALL HIGH WALLS!
NO RAPPELLING OFF OF ANYTHING!
NEEDS TO BE OFF THE MOUNTAIN BY 6pm daily.
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!)
The caretaker, Junior Norman, has final and absolute say as to where you may safely work.
Please protect our ability to field collect at Graves Mountain!
All reported violations will be held in strict confidence.
Don't call after 8:00 PM or on Sunday please.
Junior will try to accommodate the dates you like and provide directions to the site. You will need to meet with him to fill out a release form.
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!
DIRECTIONS: From Washington Georgia, drive east 11 miles on SR-378, look for mine entrance on right. From the Hardees in Lincolnton, Georgia, drive approximately 5-1/2 miles west on SR-378. Look for the sign at the entrance to Graves Mountain on the left side of the road.
To get the general layout of the mine and see some of what can be found, check out these YouTube videos of Graves Mountain: