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Maine is among the best rockhounding states in New England due to its variety of crystals, gemstones, and minerals. Its surface geology is filled with high-quality pegmatites.
You can find tourmaline, feldspar, quartz, garnet, jasper, topaz, rubies, gold, pearls, opal, aquamarine, and many other high-quality specimens. Some of the best places include the beaches along the Atlantic coast and the old mines and quarries in the southwestern parts.
Some good examples are Pingree Ledge quarry, Deer Hill, Lord Hill, Mount Apatite, and others. Maine is world-famous for its gemstone production, and plenty of mineral sites were exposed due to recent glacial withdrawal.
If you are interested in checking out the best rockhounding book about rockhounding in New England you can find it by clicking here (Amazon link).
Best Rockhounding Sites & Beaches in Maine
The best rockhounding sites in Maine are Tamminen, Waisanen, Pingree Ledge quarries, Deer Hill, Lord Hill, Mount Apatite, Loring Cove, Lubec Mine, Jasper Beach, Catherine Mountain, Topsham, Acton Mine, Bumpus Quarry, Paris, Adams Mountain, and Swift River, among many others.
Maine has a lot of locations that are packed with various minerals, crystals, and gemstones that you can find. Some sites even closed-off due to intense activity or other reasons, so before you go anywhere, check out this list. With that being said, let’s explore some of the best rockhounding locations in Maine and see what you can find!
Lubec Lead Mine
The Lubec Lead Mine, near Lubec, is an excellent location where rockhounds can venture into Maine. Here, you can find high-quality specimens, such as wulfenite, biotite, limonite, malachite, galena, anglesite, bornite, calcite, chalcopyrite, cerussite, dolomite, epidote, goethite, hematite, pyrite, quartz, or even smithsonite.
The small town of Topsham, in Sagadahoc County, is among the best rockhounding places in Maine due to the quarries near it. For example, you have the Porcupine Hill Quarry very close.
Here, you can find quartz crystals, almandine garnets, albite, beryl, biotite, columbite, tourmaline (green elbaite), fluorapatite, and schorl minerals.
Near Topsham are also the Square Pit, Alice Staples, Havey, and Trenton quarries. In these places, you can find zircon, elbaite, thorogummite, albite, garnets, geryl, columbite, mica, aquamarine, quartz, and chalcopyrite, among many other minerals.
Pingree Ledge Quarry
The Pingree Ledge Quarry near Albany is an excellent place in Maine to find either clear, smoky, or milky quartz crystals or even green and golden beryl minerals.
Apart from this, you can also find almandine garnets, albite, mica, columbite, fluorite, fluorapatite, feldspar minerals, and schorl, among others.
Near Albany, there is also the Bumpus Quarry, where you can find milky, rose, or smoky quartz crystals, zircon, schorl, golden beryl, autunite, garnet, aquamarine, and many other minerals.
Near Bucks Harbor is where you can find Jasper Beach, and it is a great place in Maine to find reddish jasper specimens. You can also visit Perry and go to Loring Cove.
In Loring Cove, you can find agates, malachite, calcite, analcime, datolite, prehnite, amethyst, bloodstone, chalcedony, stilbite, and quartz specimens.
The small town of Paris, Maine, in Oxford County, acts as a great intersection between some other popular rockhounding sites. For example, from Paris, you can head to Singepole Mountain Quarry.
This is an excellent place to find high-quality quartz, almandine garnets, beryl, biotite, microcline, muscovite, schorl, or fluorapatite specimens.
Some other great sites near Paris are the Ryerson Hill Quarry and the Crocker Hill Mines. Here is where you will find clear or milky quartz specimens, pyrite, garnet, arsenopyrite, beryl, columbite, sericite, graphite, molybdenite, albite, or feldspar minerals, among many others.
BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals
- Gemstone & Crystal Properties (Quick Study Home)
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids)
What Kind of Rocks Are in Maine?
In the state of Maine, you can find sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. Popular specimens that you can find include flint, geodes, granite, agates, bloodstone, graphite, slate, schist, marble, greenstone, quartz monzonite, hornfels, limestone, and others.
|Geodes||Quarries in Hancock or Washington Counties|
|Bloodstone||Perry, Loring Cove|
The eastern beaches of Maine are filled with flint from English ships’ ballast. Though the flint quality is not anything to brag about, you can always ask the local dive shops in the area to help you out and get some flint nodules, as they are not that deep.
For a state as wealthy as Maine, geodes are not that easy to find here; however, your best bet is to search for them in the quarry walls, where it is allowed.
You can also uncover gem pockets in the quarry wall, but if you want geodes, specifically, try out the quarries located in the counties of Hancock and Washington.
TIP: Maine’s beaches are amazing places for rockhounding and you can find a lot of beautiful rocks there. Do you know what the best ways to clean them are? Check them out in the article below:
Where Can I Dig for Gems in Maine?
There are many quarries and mines in Maine where you can dig for gemstones. Some require a small fee, while others are free.
Every rock collector is responsible for informing themselves if they need permission from the landowner before pursuing their activities.
Various gemstones can be found in Maine’s quarries and old mines, such as quartz, tourmaline, rubies, opal, pearls, amethyst, aquamarine, or topaz, among others. Some great places to search for gems include the Poland Mining Camps (fee), Mount Apatite Quarries, Harvard, Tamminen, Waisanen quarries.
|Quartz||Loring Cove, Lubec Lead Mine, Catherine Mountain|
|Tourmaline||Porcupine Hill Quarry, Bemis Stream Prospect, Mount Apatite Quarries|
|Opal||Heikkinen Quarry, Greenwood|
Maine quartz is world-class and can be found throughout the state. Some of the best places to find high-quality quartz specimens in Maine include the gravels at Loring Cove, Perry, the Lubec Lead Mine, near Lubec, Catherine Mountain, Edgecomb Quarry (milky, smoky specimen), or Pingree Ledge Quarry, near Albany (smoky, milky, or clear specimens).
Tourmaline is the state gemstone of Maine, and it too can be found in various locations.
Some of the best places include Porcupine Hill Quarry, near Topsham, where green elbaite variants are present, Bemis Stream Prospect just north of Byron, Mount Apatite Quarries near Auburn, or the Poland Mining Camps. Still, here you have to pay a fee.
Finding rubies in Maine is no easy task as rubies, diamonds, or emeralds are not native to the state. You can try your luck in the quarries and old mines, but still, the most precious gemstones you will find are in the form of different quartz varieties and tourmaline.
When it comes to finding opal in Maine, only one place is known to have hyalite opals, namely, the Heikkinen Quarry, near Greenwood.
Finding pearls in Maine is also challenging, as the oysters in Maine that can produce them are illegal to harvest. Apart from this, the pearls that these oysters produce are of poor quality.
What Minerals Are Found in Maine?
Maine is rich in the variety of its mineral, as you can find gold, chalcedony, jasper, feldspar, prehnite, stilbite, bornite, cerussite, chalcopyrite, dolomite, epidote, galena, goethite, pyrite, molybdenite, hornblende, magnetite, scheelite, beryl, muscovite, or garnet, among many others variants.
|Gold||Action Lead Mines, Swift River, Sandy River, Gold Brook|
|Garnet||Edgecomb Quarry, Hedgehog Hill Quarry, Ragged Jack Mountain|
|Chalcedony||Loring Cove, Warren Nickel Prospect, Havey, Trenton, Square Pit, and Alice Staples quarries|
|Jasper||Jasper Beach, Bucks Harbor, Gleason Cove|
|Aquamarine||Edgecomb Quarry, Havey, Trenton, Square Pit, and Alice Staples quarries, Bumpus Quarry|
Finding gold in Maine is relatively easy; just make sure you read the regulations here. You can find gold in Maine in the Swift River and all of its tributaries near Byron, Sandy River, several areas of Gold Brook, or the Action Lead Mines.
When it comes to finding garnets in Maine, they are in various places. Grossular garnets can be found in Pitts Garnet Mine, near Minot.
Almandine garnets are located in Singepole Mountain Quarry, Ryerson Hill Quarry, Crocker Hill Mines, or Heikkinen Quarry, among many other places. Spessartine garnets are found in the Bemis Stream Prospect, north of Byron.
TIP: Jaspers are beautiful minerals but you can find a lot of fake jaspers selling on the internet. Check out the main differences between real and fake jaspers in the article below:
What Crystals Can You Find in Maine?
Maine also has various crystals that you can find. There are quartz crystals, analcime, calcite, datolite, malachite, anglesite, hematite, smithsonite, wulfenite, biotite, fluorapatite, pyrrhotite, sphalerite, zircon, albite, spodumene, or beryl crystals, among others.
|Quartz Crystals||Catherine Mountain, Porcupine Hill Quarry, Pingree Ledge Quarry|
|Calcite||Lubec Lead Mine, Pitts Garnet Mine, Harvard Quarry|
|Spodumene Crystals||Bemis Stream Prospect|
In Maine, high-quality quartz crystals are present in the Catherine Mountain or the Porcupine Hill Quarry near Topsham. Near Albany, you can find clear, milky, or smoky quartz crystal specimens in the Pingree Ledge Quarry.
What Fossils Can You Find in Maine?
Maine’s bedrock contains preserved fossils that date back from 500 to 360 million years ago. Most of them are marine animals such as gastropods, brachiopods, bivalves, corals, trilobites, or crinoids. A gap between 360 to 1 million years is present, and thus no dinosaur fossils have ever been found.
The best sites to find such fossils are usually restricted. It is illegal to hunt for fossils in Maine in most locations, such as Baxter State Park, for example. However, you may find fossils in coastal places.
Suppose you want to find sea glass in Maine. In that case, some of the best beaches that contain them are Mowry Beach, in Lubec, Pebble Beach, at Monhegan Island, Sea Glass Beach, at Great Diamond Island, Spring Point Beach, South Portland, or Fortune’s Rock Beach, in Biddeford.
When it comes to finding arrowheads in Maine, you can head to Washington County, on the East Coast of Maine. In fact, all coastal regions, rivers, banks, and streams, or where animals would go to drink water, are great places to search for arrowheads.
TIP: Do you know what the organic gemstones are? Organic gemstones are not so commonly found but it is worth to know them. Find out more in the article below:
FAQ About Rockhounding in Maine
Is It Illegal To Take Rocks From the Beach in Maine?
Millions of tourists collect rocks annually from Maine’s rockhounding hot spots, such as national, state, or city parks. In most cases, it is illegal to take rocks from beaches in Maine if the land is private, protected, or if you do not have permission.
Is There Gold in Maine Rivers?
Some Maine rivers contain gold, such as Swift River and its tributaries, and this is among the best rivers in Maine to search for gold. The Sandy River also has gold, and generally, the western part of the state. Gold Brooks, Cupsuptic River, and Kibby Stream are also excellent places to find gold.
What is Maine’s State Rock?
The state of Maine doesn’t have an officially designated state rock. Though Maine has various types of rock, all three major categories are present, igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary; it hasn’t selected any state rock. It is unclear if this will change anytime soon in the future.
What is Maine’s State Gemstone?
Maine’s official designated state gemstone is the mineral tourmaline since 1971. There are two types of tourmaline minerals in the southwestern parts of Maine, the black iron-bearing tourmaline known as schorl and the lithium-bearing tourmaline known as elbaite. It comes in colors of blue or green.
What is Maine’s State Fossil?
The official state fossil of Maine is Pertica quadrifaria, since 1985. It is a primitive plant that lived in the Devonian Period, about 390 million years ago. It is a rare fossil, as it is found in only three other places worldwide. It was probably the largest plant of its era, measuring six feet.
Maine is undoubtedly among the best rockhounding states when it comes to minerals, gemstones, and crystals. You can find some high-quality specimens, but always make sure that the sites you visit are legal to collect.
TIP: And it’s rockhounding time now! Do you have all needed equipment? If not, check out my list of recommended rockhounding equipement in the article below: