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.
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.
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.
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 thought that if he drank enough Mountain Dew, that he
would be able to ward off the cold and keep working. Boy was he
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.
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:
Georgia Mineral Society - Diamond Hill Mine