Amethyst Dig
Wilkes County, Georgia
July 31, 2004
By Jeff Deere

So, there I was; stuck in the airport at DFW (Dallas/Ft Worth). My chances of getting back to Atlanta were beginning to look grim. Weather had the airport closed, and my fight was the last one back that the evening.

I had to get back as soon as possible! I had to be in Washington, Ga. by the next evening. You see; weeks earlier I made a commitment (by paying my share) to be part of a machine dig for amethyst. I had been invited by the property owner to participate in an exclusive opportunity that seemed promising. Amethyst from this site in Wilkes Co., Ga. is some of the best in the world. As you may recall, our host, Mike Streeter, posted a report about this very same location earlier this year.

Luckily, my flight that evening, (really morning) left DFW at about 1 AM. I have never been so happy to catch a red-eye flight in my life. I finally arrived in ATL and made it back to the house at about 5 AM. I began to prepare for my trip over to Washington from Cartersville, a 3-hour drive. At 4 PM, my good buddy, Don Henderson, of the Rome Ga. Mineral Society, came by to pick up my weary bones. On the way, we stocked up with supplies, making a stop at Home Depot for some new chisels, and various convenience stores for goodies.

We arrived in Washington around dusk. We stayed at a roadside motel with "local flavor" called the Red Land Motel. After a quick dinner, we hit the sack. We needed to be on site no later than 6:30 AM the next morning.

The machine at work  

As it turns out, 6:30 AM was “late” compared to the enthusiastic standards of several other participants. As I understand it, there were several individuals that began their hunt before sunrise with the aid of lanterns and a fading full moon! The large machine began digging the hole per Rodney’s instructs at exactly at 6:00 AM. The idea was to get as much done in the cooler hours, before the expected heat rendered us completely useless.


Others in the group working an amethyst mudball

Don and I began our exercise for the day by splitting large granitic boulders. Within these boulders are vugs that contain amethyst crystals with excellent clarity. We got lucky right away with 2 or 3 good finds. After swinging the sledge for a while, we “relaxed” by systematically digging through endless loads of clay that came up from the hole via the bucket of the machine. This clay was very thick and sticky. Pulling apart the mud balls was hurting my hands more than my previous wreckless style of hard rock mining.

At one point, some individuals found a mud ball about the size of a bowling ball that contained at least one dozen nice crystals; not real clear, but excellent form. Later, from that same area where they had success, Don and I located some of the same type crystals, and I found my prize of the day: a nice cluster of amethyst on granite surrounded by clear drusy quartz. A fine specimen for my collection!








Amethyst Cluster front and back   


Late in the day, Don and I were able to work the hole. This was a rewarding experience; although no major finds were had by us late in the day, you simply can never replace the experience of digging with friends in a 20 ft. deep hole. As it turns out and despite the heat, we did not stop until well after 5 PM, making for a long hot experience in NE Georgia. Needless to say, the AC cranked as we made our way westward into a setting sun.

The summer heat is on!

Amethyst on drusy quartz