Tourmaline is a gemstone that can be found all over the world. In the U.S., there are mines in California, Maine and New Hampshire that produce this semi-precious stone.
Tourmalines from California can be found in a variety of colors except for blue and yellow. Some of the mines there have been in operation since the 1800’s. The more well-known ones in the state are the Himalaya Mine, the Oceanview Mine and the Gems of Pala, also known as the Stewart Mine.
The Himalaya Mine is near Lake Henshaw in San Diego County. The mine is open to the public, and for a minimal fee, you will be provided all the equipment needed for a day of gem hunting.
The Oceanview Mine is located in Pala, California, and is also open to the public. In addition to renting out gem hunting equipment, gem hunters can also see actual gems being mined.
The Stewart Mine, located near the Oceanview Mine, had one of the largest pink tourmaline mining operations in the late 1800s. The mine is not open to the public, but buckets of pilings from the mine re offered.
There are also tourmaline mines in the southern part of Maine, near the Oxford area.
No matter which mine you choose to visit, it is best to call ahead and ask what the policy is when it comes to public access.
The mines usually allow the public to search the rocks and dirt that have been left behind after an extraction.
There may not be large pieces of tourmaline in the rubble, but it would be possible to find some smaller, pencil-lead sized ones.
What to Look for in Tourmaline
Knowing what to look for when searching for tourmaline is part of the hunting process.
The more iron-rich gemstones are usually black, bluish-black or a deep brown color.
The lithium-rich tourmaline comes in colors such as green, red and pink.
The majority of tourmaline is multi-colored. There is also a colorless variety of the stone, but it is rare to find tourmaline without any color in it.
Tourmaline is often found in the company of metamorphic rocks such as pegmatites, which contain crystals such as quartz and mica.
It is also a good idea to find out ahead of time what kind of tourmaline is most commonly found at the mine you will be visiting.
For instance, if the mine usually has a lot of the watermelon type of tourmaline, then you will know to look for stones that are green with a pink core.
Where to Buy Tourmaline?
We recommend that you take a look at GemsNY and at the great selection of tourmaline pieces at Amazon.