Pan for Gems and Gold
Dahlonega, home to the first American gold rush, boasts two very different experiences for those interested in doing a little prospecting during a visit—both above and underground.
Crisson Gold Mine
Crisson Gold Mine, the oldest mine in North Georgia, operated from 1847 and into the 1980s an open-pit mine. A site is divided into horizontal layers called “benches” and several are usually worked at the same time. The different levels are reached by ramps. The slope of the ramps must be carefully calculated to keep the slopes from failing and sending tons of material sliding into the pit.
Crisson also boasts a working stamp mill, dating from the 1800s. A stamp mill is a machine used to crush gold bearing rock into sand so the gold can be extracted.
Some of the gold on the University of North Georgia’s Price Memorial Hall’s steeple and the Georgia State Capitol’s dome was unearthed using the Crisson stamp mill.
• Open 7 days a week, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
• Panning for gold and gemstones
• Wagon ride tour, picnic facilities, gift shop, mining equipment
• 2736 Morrison Moore Parkway, 706-864-6363, crissongoldmine.com
Consolidated Gold Mine
Extractive or underground mining is just what it sounds like—extracting gold from the rock it is embedded in by digging in the earth until rock is reached. Consolidated mine went just over 600 feet deep and became known as “the Glory Hole”—a legend in its own time.
Rock was reached in the Glory Hole around 1880 and quartz containing gold was found. Usually, veins of quartz with gold in them run about two or three inches thick. At Consolidated, several large veins were found running together producing a giant vein 22 feet thick.