Maine Gem Hunting & Rock Hounding Adventure

Learn how to find Gems & Minerals

“Maine has an excellent reputation among “rockhounds” for the variety and quality of mineral specimens found within its borders. Hundreds of people explore the state each year in search of crystals, semiprecious gems, gold, and other minerals. The novice is practically assured of finding something of interest at Maine’s collecting sites, while a large assortment of rare minerals await the advanced collector. Mineral collecting is an inexpensive hobby that can be enjoyed by all age groups, and offers the fringe benefits of outdoor recreation and the opportunity to learn about earth science.” (from: www.maine.gov)

How and where they are formed

Pegmatite is a form if igneous rock that gems and minerals are most commonly found in.  Not all pegmatites are created equal! Discussion of tips for recognizing mineral bearing pegmatite.

Here is a partial list of gems typically found in Maine:

  • Tourmaline (red,green,blue, water melon)
  • Almandine (garnet)
  • Beryl (includes Aquamarine)
  • Fluorapatite
  • Lapidolite
  • Schorl (black tourmaline)
  • Topaz
  • Quartz (rose,smoky,milky)
  • Muscovite
History of the mineral locality

Every quarry or prospect is different. Learn a brief history of the locality to be worked. Find out what gems or minerals have been found in the past, and approximate locations of the different minerals.

  • What colors or shapes you may be looking for
  • What methods may be best to start finding minerals
  • Suggested books or websites
  • Why dumps still can still have gems
  • Brief history of feldspar and mica
Methods of finding Gems and Minerals
  • Old dump sites are at almost every locality and are a great place to start.  Simply looking on the ground after a fresh rain. If a water source is near by you can dump water over large areas to aid in finding minerals.
  • Digging and/or washing material from the dump site
  • Working any exposed pegmatite with heavier tools for potential “pockets”
Suggested Equipment and Tools

Gem and mineral hunting can be as simple as using your eyes to look on the ground, or you can use a few tools to help things along. You wont need much to get started but here is a list of basic equipment:

  • magnifying glass
  • tweezers
  • short handled rake
  • screens/classifiers (1/4″ or 1/2″)
  • buckets
  • small picks and pry bars
  • small sledge hammer
  • rock hammer
  • zip lock bags/containers to hold your rocks
  • Safety Glasses!

Makes a great event for:
• Birthday Gifts • Team Building • Youth Groups • Scouting Trips • School Groups

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