Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mineral Finds in Maine

I just got home from a vacation in Maine, where I learned that mineral mining is huge.  It’s one of only two places in the US where tourmaline is mined.  The other is southern California.  With that being said, I sort of went a little crazy at the local rock shops...  Not all of these were mined in Maine, but the quartz, amethyst, beryl, and tourmaline specimen definitely were.  
Amethyst Druzy, Maine Tourmaline, Boulder Opal, Maine Blue Beryl (Aquamarine), Quartz Crystal Points, Amethyst and Citrine Crystal Points, Fluorite Octahedron Crystals, Agate Slice, and a Pyrite Sun (sometimes called a Pyrite Sand Dollar).
 Most of the crystal points will be cage set, but some of these will be placed in my curiosity cabinet.  I visited just about every mineral store I came across (there were SO many), and learned about mineral mining in Maine from the shop owners.  Most Maine tourmaline was mined during a couple of years in the 70's, and I believe during the early 1900's.

Fluorite Octahedron Crystals

Fluorite under ultraviolet light displaying fluorescence 
There are many, many mountains and quarries to mine in. Some are free and some can only be accessed with a group or with permission.  I found that most of the tourmaline specimens I saw in the shops were from Mt. Mica.  Mica is EVERYWHERE in south west Maine, I swear.  I've never seen so much of it in one place.

 Mt. Apatite is free to mine in, so I took a day trip there, but I was too exhausted to really do any mining once I reached the quarries.  I think if I had more energy, I would have been able to find something interesting, but I did collect quite a few chunks of quartz that might be used as photography backdrops or garden stones.

Chunks of Quartz from Mt. Apatite
If you're interested in trying it for yourself, I recommend doing quite a bit of research about the different places to mine.  Most people I talked to had the most success digging through the excess material dumped in quarries.

Munchin' Moose Enjoying his Breakfast
And hey, I got to see this little guy too!  He was much smaller than the moose I saw in Utah years ago.  I'm guessing he was only a year or two.

Keep on the lookout for jewelry made from these stones in my shop: Lithic Design.  I have a 10% off coupon up right now through the 23d which is SUMMER10.  There's a little place to type the code in when you view your cart on Etsy.

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