All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Friday, August 18, 2006

Opening Pockets on Mount Mica

Commercial mining of tourmaline has resumed on Mount Mica in Paris—called the oldest gem mine in America. The first mining there followed discoveries made in 1820 by Ezekiel Holmes and Elijah L. Hamlin, brother of Vice President Hannibal Hamlin. Gary Freeman's company Coromoto Minerals now owns the site, and Creaser Jewelers in South Paris is the exclusive dealer of the treasures most recently unearthed.
After paying $350,000 for the mine, and putting $150,000 a year into it, that investment isn't even close to paying for itself. Still, Freeman and his longtime right-hand-man, Richard Edwards, have begin making some finds. Ironically, as well as the mine has been excavated, Freeman believes his current discoveries are in the same general area as the first scores made 184 years ago.

One recent specimen, known as "The Piece," will not be cut into gemstones because of the value it carries to collectors in its natural state. It's been estimated to have a value of at least $35,000. [Link]
The Coromoto website features an online journal of current operations, and photos of significant finds.

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