Georgia is a southeastern state of the United States and is of significant importance for rockhounders as one can find a variety of rocks, minerals, gemstones and fossils in abundance throughout the state. Georgia gained notoriety as it was the first state in America where a major gold rush began at Dahlonega.
Apart from gold, other gemstones, minerals and fossils that can be found in the state are quartz, kyanite, mica, beryl, feldspar, tourmaline, barite, and shark teeth fossils.
In 1976 quartz was designated as the state’s official gemstone. Many varieties of quartz crystals can be found in Georgia. Some of these include amethyst, clear quartz and rutile.
Clear quartz is made of silicon dioxide and when used in the form of a gemstone gives the appearance of a rough diamond. Clear quartz has been found in Monroe, Hancock, Burke and DeKalb Counties.
The violet range of quartz called Amethyst can be found in abundance at the Jackson’s Crossroad Mine, situated in the Wilkes County of Georgia. The colors of the amethyst at the mine range from light violet to darker shades of purple often with streaks of blue and red.
Other sites in Georgia where amethyst can be found are the Coldwater Creek area located in Elbert County, the Chapman Mica Mine located in Elbert County and near Tate City in Pickens County.
Rutilated quartz or Rutile is a gemstone which has needle like structure inside the quartz crystal. These can be found in the Graves Mountains situated in the Lincoln County and are red, deep red and reddish black in color.
Staurolite is the official state mineral of Georgia and is exclusively found in metamorphic rocks. This mineral is known for its peculiar structure which is in the form of a twinned cross. The twinned crystals can be of two types, one in which the twin cross is at 60 degrees and the other one at 90 degrees.
The staurolite crystal is also known as the fairy stone or the fairy crosses. Staurolite is generally opaque and found in reddish brown to black in color. The places where it is found in Georgia are in Fannin County and Cherokee County.
The Almandine Garnet is an iron aluminum silicate and occurs in colors such as deep red to reddish purple can be found at Blue Ridge located in the Fannin County and Garnet Hill situated near Dallas in Paulding County.
This mineral can be found in Cartersville in Bartow County. The most collectable of these are found as light blue crystals.
This is a distinctive blue colored mineral that is found in the Graves Mountains located in Lincoln County. The crystals are generally small and imbedded within host quartz matrix.
This can be found in Floyd County. The Hogg Mine located in LaGrange has a number of gemstones and minerals such as beryl, mica, quartz, feldspar and tourmaline. This is a pay-to-dig mine where a nice variety of minerals can be dug for a fee.
Georgia is also home to the world’s biggest marble deposits that are situated in The Tate Marble Quarry in the Pickens County of the state. These deposits are around 2000 feet in depth, 3 kilometers long and around 1.5 kilometers wide.
Shark Teeth which is Georgia’s official State Fossil is commonly found in the coastal belt of the state around sand bars, beaches and near the kaolin mines. These are found in a variety of colors such as white, blue, grey, black and reddish brown and are as old as 65 million years.
Prehistoric shark teeth can be found at many locations in Georgia. The beaches along the Savannah River are known to have sharks teeth, as well as many of the beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. One location that is well known is at Tybee Island. They can be located along the waterline or found by diving.
All different varieties of prehistoric marine fossils can be found in many locales in Georgia. Corals, trilobites, clams, shrimp, varieties of sharks and other large marine vertebrates have all left fossils behind. Most are found in the southern half of the state.
Also Read: Minerals & Fossils in Florida
And: Gold Prospecting in the Southeastern U.S.