The Graveyard Point area is one of the most prolific “in place” agate areas in the country. It is estimated that agate veins exist in the ground approximately every 10 yards over a 200 – 300 acre area. The agate location is about two miles southwest of the landmark called Graveyard Point, which marks an old civil war graveyard.
Graveyard Point has been a rock collecting area since the 1950’s, and it is possible to collect there today. There have been numerous claims and mining operations in the area. The claim called Beverly Marie TGS is owned by Gene Mueller and Veronica Woods. The ground under this claim is part of two older abandoned claims, which were mined numerous times in the 1970’s and 80’s. Gene filed the Beverly Marie Claim in 1996 and has mined it with equipment many times. Reports of these past mining operations can be viewed on our mining page.
Our mining plan was to work one week on the north end of our claim where there are nice long veins going straight down into the basalt. This is the material we refer to as Classic Graveyard Point Plume Agate. The second week we worked on the south end of our claim. The agate from this area is referred to as Regency Rose Plume Agate. The formations in the two areas are remarkably different for being so close together. The veins on the north end of the claim are 1” – 14” wide and 4’ – 30’ long. No one has found the bottom of a Graveyard Point Plume Agate vein. The agate in each vein is different from other veins, but fairly consistent in the vein itself. The Regency Rose Plume Agate is found as small, short veins with triangles in a brecciated pattern in the basalt rock. The colors of the plume formations are more intense and the plumes are denser. The predominant colors are yellow and orange, but pink and red can also occur. Because of the nature of the formations, mining this agate is much more difficult thus production is less.
This year we used a Doosan Excavator which was rented for one month. Philip Stephenson and Gene shared a rental, each using the machine for 2 weeks. Philip mined his new claim, Linda Marie West, on the east ridge, which is about one mile east of our Beverly Marie TGS claim. Our camp was set up near the center of our claim on the same spot we have used before.
The Gem Shop allows visitors on our claims to collect rock and view our operations as long as it does not interfere with our mining operation. Two rock clubs along with many other people visited our claim and had a wonderful time watching the operation and looking for rock on our dump piles. Gene is sorry he could not talk to everyone as there is only so much time to do the mining. He hopes everyone had a good experience and was able to see how the veins exist in the ground.
As mining comes to an end, our approved mining plan requires us to fill in our work each time we mine. As shown in the pictures below the areas we worked the agate veins are once again buried.
Below are pictures of this year’s operation along with pictures of some of the rock, and notes about the mining operation.