I love minerals. In Maine there are lots of opportunities to dig for gems just lying barely under the surface. There's tourmaline, beryl, amethyst, quartzes of all colors, and more. Perham's of West Paris Maine was a 90 year old store that sold minerals and gems as well as books and equipment for prospecting. Unfortunately it closed in 2009. The store sold local gems and minerals and pieces from around the world. Perham said the area is rich in pegmatite, a rock composed of quartz, feldspar, and mica. The slow cooling of such materials allows crystals to grow. Green tourmaline mined on Mt. Mica was the store's specialty when it was founded. The store was featured in Reader's Digest in 1957; Perham said recent visitors still arrived with copies of the issue. Yankee Magazine also cited Perham's as "The Best Place to Rock" in Maine in their May-June issue. More about the famous mineral store here.
Tourmaline is actually Maine's state mineral. Digging for minerals is a Maine tourist attraction for those so inclined. They stay at Mining camps as a home base like the Poland Mining Camp and are taken to quarry locations to prospect.
Living in and near the locations for best mineral collecting, we were fortunate to belong to the Maine Mineralogical Society. As a club they had permission to go to quarries where the mechanized gemologists had already dug out the vein and dug up the earth from around it. We sorted through the tailings, as they called it, happy as clams and finding lots of pretty gems and rocks. Here is a collection of a few I found whilst digging with my nose to the ground under the Maine skies:
From front and clockwise: amethyst ,2 quartzes, geode, smokey quartz
Oh, look, it's an ugly rock!
Ah, but look what's lurking inside! It turned out to be a geode!
Smokey quartz closeup. In real life it looks like there is smoke inside the mineral. I just can't photograph it so well so the picture didn't pick that up
Amethyst, note the light purple. In Maine, amethyst came in all shades, from light lavender to deep purple.
Did you know that minerals grow so big? A cave was discovered in Mexico where the crystals have grown as big as a pillar and tall as a house!
You can read more about the wonderful crystal cave in NatGeo here.
Finally, there is a new mineral that has been discovered!
Meteorite Hunter Discovers New Mineral
"Hidden within a rock from space is a mineral previously unknown to science: panguite.The new mineral was found embedded in the Allende meteorite, which fell to Earth in 1969. Since 2007, geologist Chi Ma of Caltech has been probing the meteorite with a scanning electron microscope, discovering nine new materials, including panguite."
So thanks for taking the mineral tour with me! Be sure to visit the other Corner Views. Happy Corner viewing!