Seven eager young explorers ventured to Fairy Stone State Park in search of these mysterious stones. The day was gray but comfortable and we hoped the rains would stay away long enough for us to fill our little baggies with treasures.
Fairy stones are staurolite, a composition of iron aluminum silicate that forms only under extreme heat and pressure, as built up by the Blue Ridge Mountains. The mineral commonly occurs as twinned, six-sided crystals that sometimes intersect at 90 degrees to form a cross, or more commonly at an intersection angle of 60 degrees. The most common shape is a St. Andrew's cross, which looks like an X. Roman crosses are shaped like a plus sign. Maltese crosses, the rarest, have crossbars at the ends.
Once on site, we didn't quite know how to begin. We asked a local store owner, and he obliged us with the strategies of finding the special stones. We scattered among the forested area checking washes and root wads looking for them. It didn't take long for the young, fresh eyes to find them and spread the word to the others. Everyone found treasures and the rock hounding ended in success. We were dirty (always a good sign) but not wet! It was a happy day!