#22 Dig For Gems! – Mine Maine!

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Maine is home to several mineral and gem collecting locations. Mineral mining is typically approached as a fun hobby or activity but can be done in an array of intensities. There are several mining locations between Bethel and South Paris: Bethel Outdoor Adventure, Songo Pond, Western Maine Mineral, Creaser Jewelers, Perham’s of West Paris, and Kings’ Hill Inn. These mining locations are very similar and may be the best bet for finding gems such as tourmaline, quartz, rose quartz, and crystal. Mining locations in the Bethel area are centered on Mt. Mica. Unless attending a workshop through Bethel Outdoor Adventure or Western Maine Mineral, mineral and gem mining success is largely dependent upon the drive of the miner. A hammer, shovel, pan, and chisel are helpful tools when sorting through rocks.

Several other mining locations are scattered throughout Maine including Coos Canyon Rock and Gift, Hermit Island, Grafton Notch State Park, Auburn Recreation Parks Department, and the Desert of Maine. Coos Canyon, located on the Swift River in Byron, ME has some gold pockets scattered throughout the river, but is more of a swimming and camping site than a mining hot spot. Hermit Island has a similar appeal, but is located on the ocean instead of a river. Hermit Island holds some promise of crystal discoveries and mica scatters the beaches at low tide. Both Coos Canyon and Hermit Island are relaxing locations that are perfect for those looking to camp for a weekend near water and possibly find some gold or gems.

Mt. Appetite in Auburn, ME played a prominent part in Maine’s mining history and is home to several types of crystals, including green and pink tourmaline, and transparent smoky quartz. Mt. Appetite Park is open to the public and no permission is required to scavenge through the quarries. Thanks to a glacier that slid through Freeport, Maine about 11,000 years ago there are some sand and mineral deposits to be found at the Desert of Maine.

See The Map at Bottom Of Page

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Mining Locations

Dig For Local Gemstones

890-9753

Oxford County, Maine

Coromoto Minerals

Mine Operations At Mount Mica & Orchard Pit Mines

Oxford Country, Maine

www.coromotominerals.com

Western Maine Mineral Adventures

Paris, ME

674-3440

www.diggems.com

Mt Mica

Creaser Jewelers

138 Maine St.

South Paris, ME

207-744-0290

Poland Mining Camps

207-998-2350

www.polandminingcamps.com

34 Groves Ln, Poland ME 04274

Bethel Outdoor Adventure

121 Mayville Rd

Bethel, ME

207-824-4224

betheloutdooradventure.com

Auburn Recreation Parks Department

48 Pettengill Park Rd
Auburn, ME 04210-4538
(207) 784-0191
auburnmaine.org

Bob’s Rock Shop

Mineral Collecting at the Bumpus Quarry

Albany, Oxford Country Maine

http://www.rockhounds.com/rockshop/mesites.html

Directions: From the town of Bethel, Maine at the junction of Routes 2 and 5 head south on Route 5 for about 7.7 miles. This quarry is south of the Songo Pond mine which is also on Route 5 at the south end of Songo Pond. This is an easy access site as it is directly adjacent to the road and the dump digging is reasonably easy without many large boulders to move easy.

Gold Panning/ Rock Hunting

Swift River near Byron (btwn Rangeley and Rumford)

http://www.etravelmaine.com/state/activities/sports/gold_panning/gold_panning.htm

Coos Canyon Rock & Gift

Byron, ME

472 Swift River Rd

207-364-4900

cooscanyonrockandgift.com

Songo Pond

Directions: From the town of Bethel, Maine at the junction of Routes 2 and 5 head south on Route 5 for about 7.7 miles. This quarry is south of the Songo Pond mine which is also on Route 5 at the south end of Songo Pond. This is an easy access site as it is directly adjacent to the road and the dump digging is reasonably easy without many large boulders to move easy.

Crystal, rose quartz, beryl

Permission: Permission to collect must be obtained from and a collecting fee paid to Rodney Kimball, Box 6, West Bethel, ME 04217. Telephone (207) 836-3945 (207) 836-3945 . Mr. Kimball has an antique shop on the north side of Route 2 at the west end of the town of West Bethel. He is usually there on weekends but it is best to call ahead.

Hermit Island

Phippsburg, ME 04562

Directions: Abundant crystals in mica shist outcroppings along beaches, especially at low tide.Crystals range from 2-3 mm to 1 cm. Quality ranges from poor to good. Many crystals have been worn smooth or have been weakened from the ocean. However, in some places the garnet frequency is so dense that the combined mica schist and garnets would make a nice display piece.

Perham’s Of West Paris

194 Bethel Road
West Paris, ME 04289
(207) 674-3530

Grafton Notch State Park

Newry, Maine 04261
(207) 824-2912

King’s Hill Inn

56 King Hill Road
South Paris, ME 04281-6122
(207) 744-0204

Desert Of Maine

95 Desert Road
Freeport, ME 04032-6257
(207) 865-6962
desertofmaine.com

Dig for Gems behind Huber’s

Route 1 Wiscassett

Zagwyn gets dirt from closed gem mines in Maine, hauls it to his site in Windsor (next to a restaurant – hence the name Mine and Dine) and people pay for a bucket of dirt which they then screen to find gems.

“Some people have pulled out three-inch long rubies,” Other gems that have been found from the old mines include tourmalines, garnets, amethysts and sapphires. He said many of the people who come to look for gems are either collectors or jewelry makers.


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©MaineThingsToDo – Jessa Steinman