Garnet Collecting on Garnet Hill in Ely, Nevada  Part II

About Garnet Hill

Last year due to an unexpected detour to the west coast,  we didn't get to spend much time on Garnet Hill.

Garnet Collecting in Style

This time around, at least one of us came better prepared.

A Very Nice Garnet

I opted for hard rock mining and Debbie chose to poke around in the tailings, coming up with garnets like this.
I came up with a bunch of busted garnets and some nice, smaller pieces.  On top of that, I was in the middle
of a swing and got momentarily distracted by another, 'Oh look honey! - look what I found!',  and wound up
with a nice sized blood blister on the side of my finger.  It was getting disheartening.

A ways down the hill.

I decided go go further downhill and check out some other boulders.  Meanwhile uphill,  
Debbie continued to collect garnets in style.

A nice collection of garnets

I found a boulder that had a large vein of quartz crystals  and started pounding away.
Several minutes later, this chunk broke off.  I have never seen this many garnets in one chunk.
Maybe my luck was changing.

Close-Up of Garnets and Quartz

This is what I mean when looking for veins of quartz.  Garnets are usually not far behind.

Another Nice Garnet Hill Garnet

A few minutes later  this garnet popped out.  This one was about 1/4" in diameter,  quite a bit larger than what
I had been typically seeing.

One Big Garnet!

It was quitting time after I broke this one loose.

About 3/8 of an inch.

This one measured slightly over 3/8" of an inch.  The other two large ones were about the size of pencil erasers.
I don't think I will find another one like this any time soon.

This year's trip yielded about 20 pounds of  Garnet Hill Garnets in the rough.  Time to collect:  3 hours.

Cleaning Garnets from Garnet Hill

Cleaning Garnets - Tools of the Trade

Cleaning garnets in the rough is easy.  All you need is a wire brush, a tooth brush and a little polishing compound.
Use the wire brush to remove detritus from the garnets. Use the  toothbrush  and  polishing compound mixed with
water to make the garnets shine.

Polishing Compound

This works for me.

High Viscocity CA Glue One of the major irritations when it comes to pounding rough out of  boulders is seeing that perfect garnet go flying off into the rubble pile.  If you have a nice sized garnet attached to a five pound chunk of rough, it makes sense to reduce the size of the rock attached to the garnet.  Enter CA glue.  

If the garnet is not embedded well into the rough,  I got into the habit of applying some high viscosity CA glue to the base of the garnet.  Let it sit for half an hour or so and then resume pounding the rough into a smaller, more manageable sized chunk.  Odds are the garnet will stay in place.

Sometimes the garnets break loose from the rough anyway and a little CA glue can put them back in their place.  The thick, gap filling CA glue is the glue to use.


Fossil Marker

 Find this hill, located north and east of Garnet Hill just off of highway 50 and there are numerous fossils of shells
laying about.

Fossil Preparation

These fossils are quite fragile and quite white, making them hard to distinguish from the parent rock.
Enter CA glue and Minwax Wood finish.

Use the CA glue to fix loose and broken shells to the base material.

Use Minwax to dye the fossils.  A fine paint brush or a toothpick works well for applying the dye.

Fossil Shells

Brush out the dye with a fine steel brush (like the one used to clean garnets),  significantly dulling the Minwax Dye.
You'll know when to stop. I spent quite a while trying to figure out how the pros to this and found nothing helpful.
A  dark Minwax dye works just fine.


Coming off  Garnet Hill, cacti and wild flowers were in bloom.

Wild Flowers

It was quite colorful.

The Valley

A view from Garnet Hill,  before going back to Ely.   This was three hours of time well spent.