Granite from Elberton

Submitted by Sammy Smith (sammy@thesga.org)

granite_souvenir

Elberton is a community east-northeast of Atlanta, not far from the state line. Elberton is atop the northern end of a subterranean deposit of granite that extends southwest past Lexington. Scientists refer to this as the Lexington-Oglesby Blue Granite Belt; it is at least twenty-five miles long and as wide as fifteen miles.

For over a century, Elberton granite has been commercially quarried and used to clad buildings, for burial monuments, and for statues.

If you are lucky enough to travel to Elberton, try to visit the Granite Museum. Last time I was there they had a bin of spalls, or waste chips from a quarry, and you could take one as a souvenir. This is the one I picked!

You can see that Elberton’s granite is mostly gray, and is often described as blue-gray. This granite is composed of three different mineral grains, all visible to the naked eye, and in this sample. The white grains are feldspar, and they are the most abundant. The light gray, shiny grains are quartz. The black, flake-like bits are biotite, or black mica. All together, they present a very pleasing appearance.

Italian stone cutters emigrated to Elberton in the early 1900s, making its inhabitants rather different demographically than those of other rural communities in Georgia.

Fact: in the quarries, they use very high-powered and focused jets of water to cut pieces of stone away from the geological deposit.

Where to find it