Maine tourmaline is the official state gemstone of Maine, and some of the largest and finest tourmaline crystals in the world have been found in the mines here, including the Dunton Quarry and Mount Mica.
Known as the American Gem, it was first discovered in 1820 when two students found green crystals in the roots of an upturned tree. Named after the Sinhalese word “turmali,” meaning “something out of the earth,” tourmaline is found all throughout the world.
In 1972, on Plumbago Mountain in Maine, more than 3.5 million carats of high-grade Maine tourmaline were found, making it the largest discovery in North America, establishing Maine as one of the best sources for premium tourmaline pieces. This is what eventually led it as being one of Maine’s state gemstone.
Owning a piece of Maine tourmaline, especially as jewelry, is a rare treasure. Despite the substantial 1972 discovery, these gems are becoming scarce. The quantity and quality of future Maine tourmaline discoveries are unknown, but this gemstone, with its wide range of colors, remains one of nature’s most spectacular offerings.
What is Maine tourmaline?
Maine tourmaline will refer to the tourmaline gems only found in Maine, and it’s a semi-precious mineral known for its range of colors. They were discovered in the western mountains of Maine around the early 1800s and have since been highly sought after, mainly as pieces of jewelry. Let it be known that it is not a single mineral. Rather, it’s a group of minerals related in their physical and chemical properties.
Tourmaline that’s found in Maine will often be pink, green, or a watermelon variety, which will be more of a bi-color with a pink center and green periphery. The watermelon color tends to be the most sought after, mostly due to the unique color combination. However, it should be noted that it can come in an array of other colors, but the most popular do tend to be green and pink bi-colors and the watermelon tourmalines, often cut into slices resembling the fruit.
What are the healing properties of Maine tourmaline?
Balance and stability: In general, tourmaline is said to help promote balance and maybe eliminate negative energies. You will often find this gemstone being used to help ground energy as well as increase physical vitality.
Chakra alignments: Depending on the color you choose, tourmaline is associated with various chakras. Green, for instance, is said to open the heart, whereas pink can help promote love.
Emotional healing: Some people believe that Maine tourmaline can help with past emotional wounds as well as help with your self confidence and self expression.
Manifestation: Some people will use this stone to help aid with manifestation. Many believe it can help attract abundance and turn your dreams into a reality.
Protection: Many say that Main tourmaline may offer psychic protection, which may shield you from negative energies.
Is Maine tourmaline rare?
Yes, this type of tourmaline is considered to be relatively rare, mostly because the state of Maine is one of the few places where high quality Maine tourmaline can be found. The only other state that comes close would be California.
While tourmaline is fairly common, it’s the gem quality pieces as well as the colors that are used in jewelry, such as rings, which tend to be the rarest. As noted, Maine tourmaline is known for its watermelon colors, which displays a pink core surrounded by a green rind, and this tends to be the rarest specimen.
As a last note, mining in Maine for tourmaline isn’t as common as other gem producing regions and this can contribute to the rarity overall.
Each tourmaline piece is unique, each with its own color and inclusions, which simply means each stone can be thought of as rare in its own right.
Maine tourmaline mines
Maine is home to many tourmaline mines and tends to produce high quality gems comparable to those from California, Brazil, and the Himalayas.
The most common mines include the following:
Bennett Quarry: Located in Buckfield, Maine and is known for multi-colored tourmaline.
Dunton Quarry: Located in Newry, Maine, famously known for a massive pocket found in 1972. This was one of the largest pockets found and has yielded thousands of carats of both green and pink tourmaline crystals.
Havey Quarry: Located in Poland, Maine, also known for gem-quality pieces, however, it’s not as well known as the few noted here.
Mount Mica: Located near Paris, Maine, and is one of the most famous tourmaline mines in the world. It was first discovered in the early 1800’s and tourmaline is still being mined to this day.
Orchard Pit: Located in Auburn, Maine and produces both tourmaline and other gems such as amethyst.
Maine tourmaline prices
As with any gemstone, the value will depend on many factors including the color, clarity, carat weight, and overall quality. What you will find is that the unique character of this tourmaline, combined with its Maine history, can make it a desirable gemstone for collectors and jewelry collectors alike.
Maine tourmaline is considered to be rare and valuable due to limited supply from mining efforts. Fine quality Maine tourmalines currently sell for about $500~ a carat. Despite this, they remain popular, particularly the watermelon and bi-color pink-and-green varieties. They’re also used as engagement stones and are considered an authentic gift from Maine.
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