Thursday, August 14, 2014

Finding Garnets in North Carolina ... Kay

Most of the garnets found in North Carolina these days are almandine garnets, one of the most common species of garnet. I've found garnets just about everywhere I've ever mined - from tiny crystal specks to ones the size of a grapefruit.  The display pictured below is an antique wooden frame that I've filled with gemstones I've found only in NC - including, of course, garnets.

There's a place on the side of the road near Hwy. 1 in Raleigh called Garnet Hill.  It was said that this large area of rock once had some of the best quality garnets in the world.

Well, I did check it out.  Took my bucket, chisel, hammer and gloves and worked on that schist hill for several hours on a very hot day.  Besides chiggers, I did come home with some garnets in matrix as well as some loose garnets I found lying about here and there.  Most were the size of a pea.

Garnets are found in every color but blue.

Maybe one in 500 found at this location are good enough to facet, but I never found any.  Just a small juice can full of pea size red almandine garnets, none translucent, none to brag about.

At the Little Pine Garnet Mine

I've also been to the Little Pine Garnet Mine a couple of times.  This place is located near Asheville in the NC mountains.  Most of the almandine garnets you find at this mine are not of any quality, but the sizes will keep you digging for more.

The dodecahedral or 12 faced shape is also of interest to a lot of collectors.

Most of the garnets I found at Little Pine were at least 1 inch in size.  If you are young and strong, you can climb the walls and get some bigger garnets. It takes strength and time to dig out the big ones, but they are there and not too hard to find.

This is a sterling silver ring I made from a garnet that I found at Little Pine - I cabbed it and to my surprise and delight, it stars like a sapphire!

A few more garnets from our Rocks shop on etsy for you to enjoy...
Garnet is January's birthstone... plan ahead!

We both particularly love this pretty piece of quartz matrix studded with gemmy orange garnets as well as some pretty green epidote that we transformed into an air plant garden with the help of a little tillandsia ...

Garnets are naturally beautiful and finding one to facet, create a wire wrap pendant from, or display in your collection is a joy for any rockhound.

Visit us on etsy at Gypsum Moon Vintage for vintage and antique items for your home, kitchen, office, and yard, at Gypsum Moon Rocks for rocks and crystals, sterling silver gemstone jewelry, lapidary, craft, and jewelry supplies, and at Gypsum Moon Style for vintage and upcycled clothing, jewelry. and accessories for women and men.


  1. wayyyyy cool! I love garnets - that color is amazing. I didn't know they could be orange also.

    1. Every color but blue :) The deep blue-reds are my favorite - and of course the purples!


  2. Never really think about jewelry makers sourcing their own gems! Great ring! And the garnets from the shop have a lovely shade and translucence.

    1. Thank you! I was absolutely floored when I cabbed that garnet and saw the star :)

  3. Finding garnets in Greenville NC, got one cut gem quality, super clean. No one can tell me any history of garnets in this part of eastern NC, everything is western NC for the most part. Mostly grain sized garnets but some are 3/8 inch, almandine among two other types of garnet. Geology department doesn't know what to make of them, they didn't believe me until I showed them all the garnets I dug.