Dig it: There is a gem and mineral mine near Atlanta

For a small fee, you can hunt for rose quartz, aquamarine and more

LaGrange isn’t known for having a rockin’ good time, unless you’re at Hogg Mine.

Just about an hour down I-85 is Hogg Mine, where you can dig for gemstones like aquamarine and black tourmaline.

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If your first thought is, “I’m not going into a mine; it might be dangerous,” then put your fear to rest. Hogg Mine is more a quarry than a mine.

For a small fee, owner Chris Painter takes a group to the location on designated days — the next is Feb. 8 — and shows them where to dig. Whatever you unearth is yours to keep.

Because of trespassers, Painter doesn’t disclose the exact location of the mine. Anyone interested in participating must meet at a nearby McDonald’s and follow Painter to the dig.

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Hogg Mine offers three kinds of digs: guided, machine and regularly scheduled.

A guided dig is scheduled for a day when there are no scheduled digs. You will get a dedicated guide who will help you find gems. The fee for this is $35 plus $100 for a guide, for parties less than 10; for parties more than 10, it’s $250 (weekdays or weekends).

A machine dig is when Painter brings in an excavator to mine commercially. There will be tons of new material coming up, which increases your chance of finding something fantastic.

Scheduled digs are the normal digs each month, usually one or two, that are open to the public. The cost of scheduled digs is $35 a day for each person over the age of 16.

Be aware that you will have to bring your own equipment. Painter recommends a pick, shovel, rake, rock hammer, sledge hammer, gloves, safety goggles and a few other items. Read more on the website's FAQ page.

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