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Tourmaline is an otherworldly-looking gemstone, beautiful in its way, and a mineral that many rockhounds will enjoy finding. This mineral is part of the crystalline silicate group in various colors. So where can you find tourmaline in the United States?
The best states where you can find tourmaline include Maine, Vermont, North Carolina, and South Carolina, but there are plenty of others. Tourmaline is present in mines, pegmatite outcrops, rocky exposures, gravels, quarries, road cuts, outcrops, and various other environments worldwide.
To better understand how to find tourmaline in nature, it’s essential to know how this mineral usually forms. With this information, you can narrow down the environments in which you can find it. Let’s see which are the best states in the U.S. where you can find tourmaline, how it works, and where to look for it!
If you want to check out the best rock and mineral identification books, you can find them here (Amazon link).
Where to Find Tourmaline Near Me? (Most Common Environments)
Tourmaline is a mineral made of boron, aluminum, iron, sodium, magnesium, lithium, or potassium and has pyroelectric properties. It can attract and repel hot ashes. It primarily forms in pegmatites.
When magma is produced by volcanoes and begins to cool, some empty cracks will form, where, in time, they become filled with water and various minerals. This is when tourmaline forms so you may find it in environments such as mines, pegmatite outcrops, road cuts, rocky exposures, or quarries.
Explore some of these mediums and see why you can find tourmaline!
Mines and Quarries
Mines or quarries often dig deep within the earth, revealing exciting rocks, minerals, and gemstones. Since tourmaline forms deep within the world, it is brought forth and quickly discovered the deeper the mining operations go, especially if they reveal metamorphic rocks.
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)
Pegmatite Outcrops, Road Cuts, and Exposures
Pegmatite outcrops, road cuts, or exposures are also great mediums to find tourmaline specimens. Granite or granite pegmatites often reveal tourmaline specimens, but you should also find them where schist or marble is present.
Because of the geological folding of more giant rock formations within our earth’s crust, the upper layers’ fade to expose the various mineral veins and metamorphic rocks where tourmaline is present.
Mountainous regions, especially where mines are present, are ideal for finding tourmaline if the area also has had volcanic activity.
In hydrothermal processes, where magma cracks are filled with water and minerals, cools, and hardens, tourmaline is present in large veins. Mines or quarries that exploit these regions will undoubtedly stumble across tourmaline specimens.
TIP: The many uses and complicated characteristics of different types of rocks and minerals are a testament to the wonders of the natural world. Find out more in the article below:
15 Cool & Interesting Facts about Rocks and Minerals
Where Can I Find Tourmaline in the USA? The Best Locations
The U.S. generally has plenty of regions with a rich volcanic history. Because of this, you can find tourmaline in half of all the states with no problem. However, some states are more prosperous than others or with more confirmed findings.
The best states in the U.S. to find tourmaline specimens include Maine, where it is the state gemstone, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Dakota, Virginia, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, Connecticut, Georgia, California, Alabama, New Mexico, New York, Texas, or Colorado.
|Maine||Poland Mining Camps, Porcupine Hill Quarry, Bemis Stream Prospect|
|Georgia||Arabia Mountain, Turkey Hill, Gumlog Mountain|
|California||Stewart Mine, Ware Mine, Lake Henshaw Mine Dumps|
Explore some of these states and see where you can find tourmaline!
Maine is most likely the best U.S. state to find tourmaline specimens. Tourmaline was also designated as the state’s official gemstone in 1971, which means it is a common mineral here.
To begin your journey, you can start searching for tourmaline specimens at the Porcupine Hill Quarry near Topsham. Here, you will find green elbaite tourmaline specimens, among several other exciting gemstones, rocks, minerals, and crystals.
The Bemis Stream Prospect just north of Byron is also an excellent area to find green elbaite tourmaline specimens, among spodumene crystals or sphalerite.
If you are up for a hike, the Mount Apatite Quarries near Auburn are excellent locations to find green elbaite tourmaline specimens, aquamarine, or rhodochrosite.
Lastly, if you want a guaranteed finding, you can always visit the Poland Mining Camps to find tourmaline and other minerals, but you will need to pay a fee.
No matter what areas you decide to stay in, Maine or the other states mentioned here, always ensure you have permission to collect and follow the rockhounding laws of the state you visit.
South Carolina has plenty of beautiful rockhounding locations where you can also find tourmaline specimens, but it isn’t as abundant as in North Carolina.
Nonetheless, both states are among the best for finding tourmaline. In the northwestern parts of South Carolina, you can find beautiful black tourmaline specimens near Anderson, the eastern areas.
Tourmaline and aquamarine specimens can also be found in the pegmatite outcrops at Piedmont, south of Pelzer. You can also find tourmaline at Paris Mt. State Park at the Boiling Prospect.
There are also some rocky exposures worth exploring at Henry’s Knob, where tourmaline is present, or you can head to Hickory Grove, just four miles southwest, and find the minerals.
At Smyrna, there are plenty of gold mines south of Hickory Grove, where apart from gold nuggets, you can also find beautiful tourmaline specimens.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in South Carolina, check out this article.
When it comes to North Carolina has even more locations to find tourmaline than South Carolina. Apart from this, there is a greater variety of tourmaline specimens.
Starting in western North Carolina, tourmaline, topaz, amethyst, and various other gemstones and minerals are found at the famous Emerald Hollow Mine.
If you want to find beautiful black tourmaline specimens, head to Hiddenite, where many old mines are in the area. At the White Plains, there are also several mines worth exploring that have tourmaline specimens.
Hall Creek and Silver Creek have gravels worth exploring for tourmaline specimens and rutile crystals. The area gravels around Hanging Dog Creek are also filled with tourmaline.
Another famous location in North Carolina where various minerals and gemstones are unearthed, including tourmaline, is the Elijah Mountain Gem Mine.
Black tourmaline specimens can also be found at several area mines near Lattimore, or you can visit the Foote Mine and other mines near Kings Mountain.
The Stice Shoal Lake Dam has an area just northeast where various tourmaline specimens were discovered. If you want an even better shot, visit Roberson Ridge, and you will find tourmaline on the southwestern side near Deep Gap Creek.
Another great area to find tourmaline in the western parts of North Carolina is Higdon Mountain, the southern region near U.S. 64, or the several mines present near Burnsville.
In central North Carolina, you can find tourmaline in the area fields and gravels near Kernersville or the area mines and exposures around Clubb Mountain.
Crowder’s Mountain is also a great place to explore, not just for tourmaline. The mineral can also be found at South Yadkin River, near Turnersburg. If you want to find beautiful pink or green tourmaline specimens, head to Salisbury and search the area fields, gravels, and exposures.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in North Carolina, check out this article.
Georgia is the last state on our list to explore in hopes of finding tourmaline specimens. Georgia is also among the best location to find tourmaline specimens, and you can start your journey in Northwestern Georgia at the area quarries near Lithonia.
The north side of Arabia Mountain is also a great place to find tourmaline. In Northeastern Georgia, you can find tourmaline at Turkey Hill in the various mines and prospects or head to Gumlog Mountain and explore the schist outcrops.
In western Georgia, black tourmaline specimens are found along both sides of the road to Vaugh. Another great place to find tourmaline is the Hogg Mine at La Grange, but you must pay a fee.
In eastern Georgia, you can find tourmaline in Elberton, the mines on the northern side of Coldwater Creek. The specimens here aren’t that big, but you never know what you might find until you try!
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Georgia, check out this article.
TIP: Have you ever wondered how professional geologists identify rocks and minerals? Check out these modern methods in the article below:
Modern Methods of Rock & Mineral Identification (by Expert)
FAQ About Finding Tourmaline
Still did not find the answer to your questions about finding tourmaline? Find frequently asked questions in the section below:
Is Tourmaline Hard to Find?
Tourmaline isn’t hard to find if you know how it forms and in which environments. Mines and quarries are great places to find tourmaline specimens, but you should also focus on schist, gravel, and pegmatites.
What Rocks is Tourmaline Found in?
Tourmaline is primarily found in igneous or metamorphic rocks such as schist and marble or in granite and granite pegmatites, sandstones, or conglomerates. The best specimens are usually found in metamorphic rocks.
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Tourmaline is among the most beautiful and varied gemstones out there and something to add to your collection if you are passionate about minerals.
If you want to find a tourmaline, consider the locations and tips mentioned above, and you will indeed find one, apart from other exciting rocks, gemstones, crystals, and minerals!
TIP: Rock tumbling is a rewarding hobby if you have patience. Check out the proven and safety tips on placing your rock tumbler in the article below:
Rock Tumblers: Where to Put Them & Proven Safety Tips