by Mike New

Treasure Mountain Mining photos; map by Eric Greene

Note: Have you ever dreamed of traveling to a foreign country and buying up and bringing home thousands and thousands of dollars of mineral specimens? I know I have, and in the process I've romanticized the trip into a series of exciting collecting adventures in fabulous localities in the most remote corners of the globe, where I buy the most fantastic and beautiful crystals for pennies. Alas, the reality doesn't come anywhere close to my fantasies (it never does, does it?), but I have been enjoying for several years the opportunity to be an armchair traveler when my friend Mike New heads to Mexico to buy minerals. Here is his latest report, which he has generously agreed to let us share with you. Enjoy! - Eric

Collecting at the Blue Pit on Plumbago Mountain in Newry, Maine

THE PLUMBAGO MOUNTAIN STORY
Newry Hill, a spur off Plumbago Mountain, is the most prolific tourmaline producer in Maine. Since its discovery in 1898, production from the mine has exceeded thousands of kilograms of high-quality tourmaline. Then, in August 1972, three amateur mineral collectors traveled to Newry, Maine for a weekend of digging to see if they could find any tourmaline. They hit a series of small pockets containing gem crystals that were so promising that they leased the property, and in October opened some major pockets. This was to become the largest discovery of gem tourmaline in the world, producing one metric ton of fine-quality tourmaline, consisting of many variations of colors never seen before. Overnight, the lives of the collectors who made this legendary find were changed forever.


3¼" Herkimer Diamond

Opening a pocket full of Herkimer Diamonds is one of the greatest thrills any rock collector can experience. You are the first person to ever see the contents, and as you pull out and examine the perfect, sparkling, gemmy crystals you experience a joyful feeling that is truly indescribable. Here's a report on my 2001 4-day mining expedition to Treasure Mountain, a now-closed fee-digging area in Little Falls, NY.

After a brief shower in the morning, the skies cleared and it was partly sunny, cool and great collecting weather for out late September collecting trip to Sugar Hill, NH. The leaves had started to turn, and some areas were very colorful- especially west-facing hillsides that were covered with bright red, orange and yellow maples. Six of us from the Keene Mineral Club attended the club field trip.


by Eric S. Greene

Having the chance to collect pyrite at Navajún, Spain has been #1 on my bucket list since I first saw specimens from Mina Ampliación a Victoria. Now, after a buying trip to Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines in France, my dream was about to come true. It was the 4th of July. My wife Jeanne and I were celebrating America's Independence Day by visiting the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, then heading south to Navajún to meet mine owner Pedro Ansorena Conde and dig for pyrite. The drive from Bilbao takes about 3½ hours on a superhighway that passes over and around rolling hills and mountains studded with state-of-the-art windmills and field after field of wine grapes, wheat and hops. The last 40 km of the trip takes over an hour because the road winds through small villages and up, down and around hairpin turns on the way to our destination.

The Story of an Extraordinary Boulder Unearthed at Manhan River Mine, Easthampton, Massachusetts

by Eric Greene & John Marshall

6.1" Pyromorphite on Quartz - Manhan River Lead Mine,
Loudville, Easthampton, MA; collected in 1999

At heart, all mineral collectors are field collectors. So when someone finds an extraordinary specimen, the thrill can be shared by the entire mineral collecting community. And, as anyone who has experienced it can tell you, the precise moment of making an exceptional find is forever etched in your memory… well, usually. Occasionally, when a truly great specimen is found, the finder doesn't immediately realize the significance of what has emerged from the earth. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months before the true importance of the find is realized. This is such a story.