You can do this any time of the year – not just summer months when Philpott Lake is a warm 82 degrees. Nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains is a very special place called Philpott Lake and Fairy Stone State Park. Besides the hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, hunting, camping, kayaking etc at this state park, you can also search for buried treasure called Fairy Stones. The only requirement is that there are no digging tools or implements used as you dig for these mythical stones as personal treasures.
The legend of the Fairy Stone from the Virginia.gov DCR website says Fairy Stones are known to be in the shape of a cross and come in three main variations; St Andrew, Roman and Maltese. Many hundreds of years before Chief Powhatan’s reign, fairies were dancing around a spring of water, playing with naiads and wood nymphs, when an elfin messenger arrived from a city far away. He brought news of the death of Christ. When these creatures of the forest heard the story of the crucifixion, they wept. As their tears fell upon the earth, they crystallized to form beautiful crosses. For many years people held these little crosses in superstitious awe, firm in the belief that they protected the wearer against witchcraft, sickness, accidents and disaster.
Fairy stones are staurolite, a combination of silica, iron and aluminum. Staurolite crystalizes in twin form at 60 or 90 degrees fahrenheit, which accounts for the stone’s cross-like structure. Found only in rocks having been subjected to great heat and pressure, the mineral was formed long, long ago, during the rise of the Appalachian Mountains. The stones are most commonly shaped like St. Andrew’s cross, an “X,” but “T” shaped Roman crosses and square Maltese crosses are the most sought-after. Staurolite stones are also found in the mountains of North Carolina and in Switzerland, but nowhere else in the world are they found in such abundance and shaped so nearly like crosses as in the vicinity of Fairy Stone State Park.
Fairy Stones can be made into jewelry like a necklace, ring or bracelet. Even put onto a keychain. Those pictured are three different Fairy Stone crosses we found. What great family fun in season or out, make an adventure of it like we did! Go to the visitor station at the park and they will give you a map to show you where you may dig for these little crosses. HINT – To find these stones the best method is to just simply sit right down in the red clay and start scratching around in the dirt. You will be surprised with what you find!