Another Diamond Hill Weekend
Antreville, South Carolina
March 27-28, 2004
By Mike Streeter

Hey gang,

Ron Maddox and his girls, Ron and Fay Burke, Chrissy and I spent last weekend at the Diamond Hill Quartz Mine near Antreville, South Carolina. We knew from previous digging there that there is a quartz vein in the lower pit that contains smoky quartz crystals in clay filled pockets. But, we also knew that the pockets were very deep and that it would take a couple days of hard digging to have any chance of recovering any more smokies.

Chrissy and I arrived at the site early Friday evening and set up our pop-up camper. A couple hours later Ron and his family pulled in with their pop-up. Ron and Faye Burke wisely chose to camp at a nearby modern campground with electricity, water and showers.

Our campsite

We got up early on Saturday morning and began digging in the lower pit area. We would have to remove about 7 feet of overburden to get down to the area of the vein that contained the smoky pockets. We were joined that day by a fairly large and very good-natured group of rockhounds from both the Columbia and Asheville clubs.

Faye Burke overlooking Ron M. and Mike in the hole
Photo by Gayle Graham

Ron Burke digging on the shallow side of the trench

By late Saturday morning, we had dug down to about 7 feet below grade where we were able with great effort to work the vein in two directions. The end of the pit where Ron M. had concentrated his efforts payed off big time with a fantastic cluster of smoky quartz. When we later drew straws to divide the loot, Ron was elated when he got to take the big one home.

Mike and Ron with the prize of the weekend
Photo by Cindy Maddox

Smoky cluster in pocket clay
Photo by Cindy Maddox

Smoky cluster after cleaning
Photo by Ron Maddox

Around noon Sunday, the cold that the Maddox girls had fought off earlier in the week had grabbed hold of Ron and he was forced to quit digging.

Ron, Jessica, Lisa and Cindy Maddox (left to right)

Ron thought that if he drank enough Mountain Dew, that he would be able to ward off the cold and keep working. Boy was he wrong!

Rigor Maddox

It was very hard digging as the temperatures on both days reached about 82-degrees, although it was at least 10-degrees cooler in the deep hole.

When I had determined that we had exhausted the portion of the vein that produced the large smoky crystals, I also gave it up for the day. Ron and Fay Burke continued digging for a while in another section of the vein that produces smaller crystals and druzes.

Ron and Faye Burke working the shallow end of the pit/trench

We were all pretty much exhausted when we drove away that day but we had some more very nice quartz specimens and wonderful memories to take home.



PS - You can obtain more information and pictures of the Diamond Hill Quartz Mine by clicking on the following links:

Geology and Selected Minerals of the Diamond Hill Quartz Mine

Diamond Hill Quartz Mine - Again!

December 24, 2003 Diamond Hill Smokey Quartz Report

November 22, 2003 Diamond Hill Field Trip Report

Georgia Mineral Society - Diamond Hill Mine