Tourmaline in Connecticut: A Getting Started Guide

There are those who can’t get enough out of rock hunting.

From shiny gemstones to colorful agates, our world has nearly limitless possibilities for the types of rocks we can find in the ground.

To satisfy your rock-hunting curiosity, we’ll look at some places you might be able to find tourmaline in the state of Connecticut.

Tourmaline in Connecticut: A Getting Started Guide

Disclaimer

The information provided in this article by YesDirt.com is for informational purposes and is subject to change. Laws are updated. Accessibility guidelines and restrictions change. Be sure to confirm the land status and collection rules before you travel to an unfamiliar location or collect any material.

Location #1: Long Hill/Turkey Hill Prospects, South of Haddam

Our first location to try out lies in a heavily forested area just short of two miles south of the town of Haddam.

Before we go into detail as to how one will get there, it’s important to properly prepare for the rock-hunting journey ahead.

First, selecting the proper equipment is crucial.

Some supplies you’ll need, but are not limited to, a steel rock hammer, a steel chisel, a field shovel, a sturdy weather-resistant hiking back pack, drinking water, and some snacks to keep yourself energized.

Considering the overall terrain, digging may be required.

It’s also important to consider what kind of land you’ll be treading on, either public or private.

In the case of public land, most collection of minerals and rocks in the state of Connecticut isn’t allowed, unless you obtain a permit that will allow collection for “public educational mineral collecting.”

In this scenario, collection fees might be present.

If you’re ever unsure, either email the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, or call them at 860-424-3583.

For private land, obtaining any information on current landowners can be found at the County Assessor’s office.

Even if you obtain information regarding the landowner, you’ll still have to contact them to see if it’s okay to wander around on the land and collect tourmaline samples.

Be honest, courteous, and explain to them in detail what you wish to do, how much you want to take, when you’ll arrive, and when you’ll leave.

Land ownership changes all the time.

Be sure to contact the necessary people and/or authorities before you head out to any potential mining sites.

Should you obtain all the necessary permission and/or permits to obtain some tourmaline samples, try and start out from the town of Haddam.

From there, drive south on Jail Hill Road.

Keep going until you reach Turkey Hill Road and turn onto it.

Drive until you see a small settlement on your left that’s labeled as “Valley Bible Evangelical Free” on Google Maps.

This location is closest to the ideal tourmaline site.

You may need to ask for permission to park and mine there, so be sure to have a chat with whoever occupies that area.

There are other homes nearby, so you have several options just in case one person won’t allow you to park on their land.

From Turkey Hill Road, head eastward into the forested area on foot for about 1,700 feet.

However, before you go treading into the wilderness, be aware that there might be dangerous wildlife near the place you wish to mine.

Such creatures to be aware of in Connecticut are Timber Rattlesnakes, Copperhead snakes, Coyotes, Bobcats, and Eastern Black bears.

Ask the locals first about anything that could pose a danger to your well-being and safety.

It’s highly recommended that you wear thick pants and hiking boots in any heavily forested area.   

Considering the terrain, some serious digging may be required.

The tourmaline you’ll be looking for can come in many different colors.

It’s hard to say what kinds you’ll find in the ground.

Tourmaline can be brown to yellow, bluish-black to black, green, pink, red, colorless (very rare) and even a combination of two or more colors.

The shape, however, is quite common, no matter what colors they are.

Each tourmaline crystal tends to have a triangular prism shape and can fit in the palm of your hand.

Such crystals can be present with many other types of rock, so once you think you’ve found a tourmaline deposit, chip away until you expose the crystals.

Considering their Mohs hardness, 7-7.5, tourmaline is similar to glass for durability, but you’ll be using steel tools, so exercise caution when digging your crystals out, so as not to shatter them.

Location #2: White Rocks Quarry, East of Middletown

Our second location on the list won’t be that difficult to get to should you have the right means, such as a reliable vehicle.

The site itself is only about 1,600 feet from the Connecticut River bank, so finding it won’t be an extraneous chore.

Again, don’t forget to call the appropriate authorities to find out if you’ll be wandering on public land or not.

Again, the organization you’ll want to contact is the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and they can be reached at 860-424-3583.

Also, remember your trusty rock hammer, chisel, backpack, water, snacks, and appropriate outdoor wear such as hiking boots.

The road to get there can be a bit tricky, so let’s have our starting point begin at the Middlesex YMCA.

From there, you’ll need to drive eastward on Union Street until you cross under the 9 highway bridge, and you should see River Road to your right.

Take that street until you pass Forest City Farms and take a right at the second three-way intersection you’ll see.

The area you’ll be driving into is a power plant owned by Kleen Energy Systems.

It’s more than likely that you’ll have to contact this company before you start wandering around nearby for that shiny tourmaline.

Should you be allowed to park at the power station, you’ll need to head westward from the parking lot and into the forest for about 1,200 feet on foot.

If you arrive in a clearing with several visible tire tracks on the grass, you should have arrived at the right spot.

A distinct feature to look out for are six white blocky structures that are about 320 feet northwest away from your ideal mining site.

Considering the many dirt roads shown on Google maps, it may be possible to drive straight into the tourmaline spot, but you’ll need to contact whoever owns the land to make sure you can drive in and mine legally.

To reduce any potential land disturbances that most states prefer to avoid, you can also try mining slightly north of the white blocks in a more rocky area, which is about 130 feet away if you look from the blocks northward.

Also, it’s important to recall that dangerous wildlife may be around, like snakes, for example. Avoid tall grasses and bushes if you can, so that you can see the ground clearly.

Remember to look out for that specific triangular prism shape.

Most tourmaline, when being dug out of the ground, appear as thick, colorful lines. So once you see any of that, get out your rock hammer and start chiseling away to loosen up those crystals.

Location #3: Collins Hill, Quarry Ridge Golf Course and Banquet Facilities, North West of Portland

The third location is actually quite close to the second one on our list, across the Connecticut River from it to be more precise.

The place you’ll have to venture to is a golf course. Specifically, the full name of this place is Quarry Ridge Golf Course and Banquet Facilities, Ridge Restaurant.

Whereas there’s a small chance the actual tourmaline site is on public land, it should be a no-brainer that calling the golf course itself should be your first step in traveling there.

Remember, the golf course should be private land.

So, be courteous, honest about what you want to do and what you want to collect, and the times you’ll be arriving and how long you’ll spend searching for that precious mineral.

Always be sure you obtain the landowner’s permission before proceeding.

Should you get the green light, start from the town of Portland as a reference point.

Head eastward along Marlborough Street until you reach a Dairy Queen.

Turn left at that and head down CT-17 (also called Gospel Ln). Next, take a right at Barlett Street, and keep driving until you reach a three-way intersection that meets with Rose Hill Road and Collins Hill Road.

At this point, you should have arrived at the golf course.

From the intersection itself, the site you’ll need to go to is approximately 1,030 feet on foot southeast.

However, from another lodge within the golf course, it’s only about 390 feet away.

You’d need to walk past the green and into the nearby forest in an eastward direction.

Remember to watch out for wildlife, and don’t forget your mining equipment.

You may have to dig depending on the terrain.

Keep an eye peeled for those colorful (or dark) thick lines in the ground.

Be careful with your steel tools so you don’t shatter any crystals. If you find hard, triangular prisms, you have found yourself some tourmaline!  

Remember, when hunting for rocks, get permission to travel and mine, equip the necessary gear, watch out for dangerous creatures, and good luck in finding tourmaline in Connecticut!

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