April 17, 2009.  A beautiful sunny day it was at the Propst Farm in Lincoln County, NC.  I had been wanting to test out my new digging toy and what better place than this.  The red clay here is so stubborn and tough it will wear out your joints and drain your energy just by merely watching somebody dig here.  Two avid rock hounds Shirley and Richard Green invited me to come out with them to the Propst Farm to dig for corundum .
The picture above is Shirley and Richard digging hard.  There had been a lot of rain there recently so most of the holes were filled with water.  We had to use buckets to bale the water out before we could even start digging.  It was real muddy and messy. 

Later Bob arrived on the scene to help out with the digging.  There is a layer of gravel about 5 to 6 feet under the hard red clay.  The layer consists of chunks of broken up quartz rock ilmenite and the much rarer corundum.  The thrill of the hunt drove our muscles and joints to the point of exhaustion. 



Here's what I found (above).   The first thing that strikes you about them is how heavy they are when you hold them.  I will eventually polish one of them and post a picture here.  Below are a few Bob found.   
We were also finding chunks of ilmenite.  It was deceiving sometimes because they were heavy just like the sapphires were. We thought they were sapphires before getting all the clay off.  I took a sample home and tested streak and magnetism.  The streak was black and it was weakly magnetic.  If it were magnetite the compass needle would be pointed directly at it.  If it were hematite or goethite the streak would have red or brown in it and it would have no magnetism.