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Georgia is an excellent state to rockhound since America’s major gold rush. The state is well known for its granite deposits and the large variety of fossils and minerals, and great museums that exhibit amazing things. But where to rockhound in Georgia, and what can you find?
The Northern part of Georgia is among the best places for rockhounding. You can find staurolite, the state’s mineral, in Cherokee, Gilmer, Pickens, and Fannin counties. Clear quartz, Georgia’s gemstone, is abundant in some counties such as Monroe, Hancock, Burke, and DeKalb counties. The beautiful amethyst can be found in abundance in Wilkes County.
The coastal part of Georgia is rich in fossils and fragments of dinosaurs but also in kaolin deposits. The state fossil is the shark tooth, and you can find Megalodon teeth around Tybee Island. Let’s find out exactly where to rockhound in Georgia and what you can find!
If you are interested in checking out the best rockhounding tools you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).
Best Places for Rockhounding in the State of Georgia
Famous for its rich deposits of gemstones, minerals, and fossils, Georgia is an excellent rockhounding enthusiast location. Let’s see some of the best places where you can find rocks.
Troup County is located in the western part of Georgia, and its seat, LaGrange, is also the home of the famous Hogg Mine. This is the perfect place for rockhounding, even if you are a beginner.
Digging up at Hogg Mine is a real opportunity to find gems and crystals hidden deep below the earth’s surface. You never know what you may get at Hogg mine.
It can be either an aquamarine crystal or an amethyst. Or maybe rose quartz, black tourmaline, or beryl – this is the ultimate treasure hunt nowadays.
Troup County is part of the Piedmont geological region of Georgia and consists of igneous and metamorphic rocks. The typical minerals found in Troup County are schist, amphibolite, gneiss, migmatite, and granite.
Fannin County is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, and it is one of the few places in the world where staurolite is naturally occurring. The state’s mineral, also known as Fairy Cross, attracts numerous amateur geologists who search for the perfect specimen.
If you choose to search for staurolite in this region, you have to look for any visible metamorphic rocks such as marble, quartzite, slate, or gneiss. The staurolite crystals are usually embedded in larger rocks on cliff sides and mountain bases.
Apart from the much-coveted staurolite, rockhounds can find other exciting treasures in Fannin County. Among these natural wonders is the almandine garnet. These fantastic stones can be found in alluvial deposits in Epworth, Fannin County.
Lumpkin County is where the most considerable quantities of gold were found, and this is where the gold rush began in 1828. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lumpkin County is part of the Georgia Gold Belt.
The gold mined in this county was close to 24 karat purity, and it was found in saprolite (eroded rock) and mixed with quartz. Apart from gold, Lumpkin County is an attraction for rockhounds due to its quartz, granite, and diorite deposits.
Now that we talked about the best places for rockhounding in Georgia, let’s see where you might find individual specimens such as gemstones, rocks, and minerals. First, we will speak about gemstones.
BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals
- Gemstone & Crystal Properties (Quick Study Home)
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids)
What Gemstones are found in Georgia?
In Georgia, you can find a wide variety of gemstones such as amethyst, the state’s official gemstone, aventurine, black tourmaline, beryl, emeralds, citrine, and moonstone, garnet, rose quartz, quartz, peridot, ruby, sapphires, and topaz.
Check out the table down below to see what gemstones are found in Georgia and where.
|Amethyst||Jackson Crossroads mine, Cedar Ridge Farms mine|
|Black Tourmaline||Hogg mine|
|Quartz||Jackson Crossroads mine, Hogg mine, graves Mountains|
|Almandine garnet||Blue Ridge, Garnet Hill|
Now let’s see what sedimentary rocks can be found in Georgia.
TIP: It’s challenging to differentiate between fake and real garnets without gemological equipment. Check out the main differences between real and fake garnets in the article below:
Real vs. Fake Garnet: Focus on These 6 Differences
What Sedimentary Rocks You Can Find in Georgia?
In Georgia, you can find various sedimentary rocks such as limestone, sandstone, and shale, among others.
The different layers of sediment often contain fossils and fragments of dinosaurs. Check out the table down below to see what sedimentary rocks are found in Georgia and where.
|Limestone||Blue Ridge and Valley, Pulaski County|
|Sandstone||Georgia’s Coastal plain|
Now that we talked about what sedimentary rocks are found in Georgia, let’s see what metamorphic rocks are found here.
What Metamorphic Rocks are found in Georgia?
Georgia is the place where earth’s evolution is written in rocks. Some unique formations witnessed the Precambrian and now are telling us a geologic story of metamorphosis.
The most essential metamorphic rocks that can be found in Georgia are marble, gneiss, schist, quartzite, phyllite, metal conglomerate, and slate. Let’s see where you can find some of these metamorphic rocks.
TIP: Some of these rocks mentioned above can be really valuable. But do you know how to recognize valuable rocks and minerals? If not, check out this article with tips and explanations:
6 Signs That a Rock Is Valuable + Examples & Location Tips
What Igneous Rocks are found in Georgia?
The most common igneous rocks found in Georgia are granite, diabase, and migmatite. Witnesses of this fantastic state’s troubled past, the igneous rocks are a constant attraction for the rockhounds. Let’s see where these rocks can be found.
|Granite||North Georgia Mountains|
Where Can I Find Fossils in Georgia?
Georgia is the perfect place for rockhounding as it contains a vast amount of rocks and fossils.
Surprisingly enough, the state’s fossil is the shark teeth that are common in many areas and can easily be found. Apart from the ancient sharks’ teeth, you may also find marine fossils such as trilobites.
To find fossils, all you have to do is walk across creek beds or beaches from the southern part of the Peach State. Look after sedimentary rocks that come apart easily, and you will be able to find remains of ancient invertebrates.
As I already mentioned in Georgia’s fossil, you should know that you can even find Megalodon shark teeth. All you need to do is to book a visit to Tybee Island or Sharks Tooth beach.
Where to Find Gold in Georgia?
Not many people are aware, but Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia, was the center of the gold rush in the United States of America. Georgia was the largest gold-producing state in the US for quite some time.
The gold mined in Georgia assays at well above 23 karats, making it some of the purest gold found on earth. If you are wondering where to find gold in Georgia, the answer is simple.
Gold is mined from seven major Georgian rivers (Etowah, Little River, Chattahoochee, Tallapoosa, Chestatee, Tesnatee, and Nacoochee) from the creeks that are draining into these major rivers. Some of these creeks are James Creek, Baggs, McClusky, and Calhoun.
An important question to ask before going to pan for gold is whether it is legal to pan for gold in Georgia.
TIP: You need to know something about how gold deposits occur to understand which rocks to look for when prospecting. Check out useful tips on finding more gold in the article below:
5 Rocks You Need To Look For When Gold Prospecting (+ Why)
Is it legal to pan for gold in Georgia?
Recreational panning for gold is not illegal. But only if it’s done in certain streambeds and commercial gold mines.
It is also important to note that if you plan to pan for gold in stream beds, you cannot use anything else but a small shovel and a pan. You can pan for gold as long as you do not disturb nature’s fragile equilibrium.
The other option you have is to visit a commercial gold mine. You will not get rich, but it is a pleasant and educational way to spend your time.
However, if you are not interested in finding gold, you should focus your attention on the staurolite mineral, so let’s find out where you can see this gem in Georgia.
Where to Find Staurolite in Georgia?
Staurolite is Georgia’s official mineral since 1976, and it is also an essential rock for rockhounds.
Staurolite can be found in north-central Georgia. Cherokee, Fannin, Pickens, and Gilmer counties make the perfect destinations if you plan to collect little Fairy Crosses.
But maybe you already own a piece of staurolite, and you are now interested in quartz, which is the official gemstone of Georgia. Let’s find out where you can find it.
Where to Find Quartz in Georgia?
Quartz was designated as the official gemstone of Georgia in 1976. The Peach State has many varieties of quartz, including amethyst, clear quartz, or rutile.
Clear quartz can be found in several counties such as DeKalb, Hancock, Burke, and Monroe, while amethyst is abundant in Wilkes County.
If you are not impressed by these gemstones’ beauty, you can always rockhound for minerals that are also plentiful in Georgia. Let’s check where these can be found.
TIP: Quartz is often confused with feldspar. But if you know the main differences between these two rocks, you will be never confused again. Check out the article below and learn the difference:
Feldspar vs. Quartz: What’s the Difference? 5 Crucial Signs
What Minerals Can You Find in Georgia?
Georgia is also famous for mineral production, being a significant barite supplier, of kaolin, dimension stone, and feldspar. This state is also a leader in the production of iron oxide pigments and fuller’s earth.
Other minerals widely used in the construction industry are cement, crushed stone, common clay, sand and gravel, and mica. Check out the table down below to see what minerals are found in Georgia.
|Kaolin||The northeast to the southeast band of deposits extends from Augusta to Columbus.|
|Barite||Cartersville Mining District|
|Fuller’s earth||Thomas County|
The State of Georgia has plenty of amazing sites for rockhounding. You can find a lot of beautiful and unique rocks and minerals. But not only them, but also interesting fossils or even gold today.
So I hope you found this article helpful. good luck with rock hunting in the State of Georgia. And if you are interested in checking out the best rockhounding tools you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).
TIP: It is a rockhounding time now! Do you have all the important equipment and tools? If not, check out my picks for all tools and equipment you need for rockhounding in the section below:
Recommended Rockhounding Tools and Equipment