Having the right knowledge is essential for any successful rock hunt.
Especially when it comes to the gemstone of Maine, tourmaline.
In this article, we’ll look at three locations where you might find this beautiful mineral.
Tourmaline in Maine (A Guide)
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.
Poland Mining Camps, south of Mechanic Falls
The first site we’ll look at requires fees to mine there.
How much depends on how long you’re willing to mine for tourmaline.
The website for Poland Mining Camps suggests that you call them for their rates, as they don’t advertise them online.
This area is close to a body of water known as Tripp Pond.
As a reference point, let’s start from the town of Mechanic Falls to be better able to locate the ideal place.
From the town, you’ll have to drive south on S Main Street.
From there, keep going until you reach an intersection that has a McDonalds to your left.
Turn left onto Maine Street, and left past the McDonalds to reach your destination.
You should see a small yellow sign labeled “Poland Mining Camps” propped up by white support posts.
Turn left onto the dirt road.
Also, make sure you have the right equipment ready to go.
It’s recommended that you bring a steel rock pick (about 22oz), a steel chisel, a field shovel, and a hiking backpack.
Poland Mining Camps won’t have equipment for you to rent, so be sure to bring your own.
Finding tourmaline there could take a lot of digging time.
Thankfully, these gemstones are quite hard, 7-7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, so they won’t break apart too easily by your digging tools.
Maine is known to have what’s commonly referred to as “watermelon” tourmaline due to its unique green and pink color combination, so keep a careful eye out for any green and/or pink prismatic stones in the ground.
Specifically, these minerals have a mostly triangular prism form.
The crystals themselves shouldn’t be too deep in the earth, but finding quality gemstones might be a bit of a tall task.
Make sure you reserve a full day’s worth of time at this particular site to ensure that a couple of beautiful tourmaline samples ends up in your hands.
This location is within the town of Topsham.
Using that as a reference point, let’s start as if you were driving on I-295, a highway that crosses through the town itself.
Whichever way you’re driving on it, be sure to head south on Brunswick Topsham Bypass until you reach Village Drive and turn left onto it.
From there, you should see another street to your left up ahead called River Road.
Turn onto it and keep traveling until you reach an intersection, then turn right onto Evergreen Circle.
Drive for approximately 340 feet until you see a small body of water on your left.
If you see it, park nearby.
You should be in Topsham Quarry.
This area is mostly public land, so you most likely won’t need to pay any parking fees while you’re there.
The state law says that extracting minerals for personal use is okay in small amounts.
However, you might need to submit a work plan that says you’ll restore the exploration site after you’re done digging.
This particular area may also stretch into a few private properties, so be mindful and watch out for any signs and fences that might indicate that it’s someone’s personal land.
If your tourmaline happens to be in such an area, visit that property owner to receive permission to explore, dig, and collect.
The Quarry is noted to be quite steep in some areas, so be aware of any unstable ground when exploring for your gemstones.
Try digging in the exposed rock faces with your shovel to see if any colorful triangular prisms reveal themselves.
Tourmaline can come in many colors, so be on the lookout for any others besides the watermelon variety.
This mineral can also be blue, pink, orange, red, yellow, brown, purple, colorless, and black, the most common tourmaline color.
The difference between the gemstone you’re looking for and another mineral is the triangular prismatic shape.
They have also been observed to be incased in decomposed feldspar, or a white powdery substance, so keep an eye out for that material as well.
Mt. Mica, East of Paris
We’re not talking about France, but a town in Maine with the name of Paris.
Starting from that town, you’ll need to drive eastward on Lincoln Street, which will eventually become Mt. Mica Road.
Up ahead there will be a fork, and you’ll have to turn left onto Thayer Road, which should be mostly gravel and dirt.
Keep going until you see a few farms, and stop around there to start asking questions about mining at Mt. Mica.
The place was bought by Gary and Mary Freeman, operators and owners of Coromoto Minerals LLC, in 2003.
This may not be the case today, but the point is that the area could very well be under the private property label.
Google maps show a few exposed digging sites south of the farms, so ask about those as well when inquiring about your rock hunting.
Should you acquire permission to mine there, get your equipment ready.
Tourmaline isn’t a mineral that will be exposed to air unless near a running river, so get your field shovel and start digging.
If you’re lucky enough, there may be a backhoe available to quickly dig up a few deep spots for you to explore.
It won’t hurt to ask and it will save you a lot of time and effort.
Keep an eye out for those colorful triangular prisms when brushing away the dust and rock.
When rock hunting for any gem, it helps to be prepared, and tourmaline is no exception.
Many people seek out this mineral, so you may find yourself accompanied by other rock hunters depending on which location you go to.
Remember to obtain permission in the case of private land, equip the necessary tools to unearth your prize, and keep your eyes peeled for that triangular prism shape that tourmaline is well-known for.
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