When hunting for rare gems, interesting minerals, and unique fossils then Connecticut is a special state to visit. The state has a rich gem mining history.
Mining for rare gems in Connecticut began in the 1700s. Most of the gems in Connecticut were created by the crystallization of the minerals formed in the state's metamorphic and igneous rocks. Today you can collect valuable and decorative gems and minerals in quarries and abandoned mines across the state.
Here are just a few of the important gems you should look for on your visit to Connecticut:
Almandine Garnet is one of Connecticut's most important gems. In fact, the Almandine Garnet has been the state mineral for Connecticut since 1977. The garnet can be found throughout the state and come in a very large variety of colors.
Locations you should expect to find garnets in a wide variety of forms such as igneous pegmatites, mica, schist, granites and metamorphic gneiss. Garnets are used commercially for various purposes key among them is that it is used as an abrasive as a result of its hardness.
Garnets are also used to make jewelry and for decorative purposes. Nice specimens of this gemstone make beautiful displays that are fine additions to any mineral collection.
Tourmaline is a valuable gem that you can find in Connecticut. The mining of this mineral dates back to as early as 1822. In fact, the U.S. Geological survey has found out that the tourmaline was the first gem to be mined in the United States.
You can expect to find you tourmaline in a wide variety of colors with some even having multiple colors. The most common tourmaline in Connecticut is the black tourmaline, which has been found in specific mines and quarries throughout the state. You can also find them in open pits and in many different locations throughout the state.
This is another wonderful gemstone that you can find in various locations within Connecticut although it is not as common as garnets. Although danburite specimens are somehow rare, this should not dampen your spirits if you are gemstone enthusiast as there are several mines and quarries in which you can still find this rare gem.
The most common Danburite are white or colorless, although you can find some that are yellow, tan, and sometimes even pink.
Barite is a common mineral in Connecticut. It is an important collectible mineral that comes in a wide range of colors. Although in most cases it is found associated with other rare minerals, it can come in the form of wonderfully bright colored crystals or at times tubular crystals.
The mineral has several other important characteristics that you should look out for such as the vitreous luster, transparent or translucent crystals, hardness of 3-3.5 and the specific gravity of about 4.5. In Connecticut, barite is mined in the Jinny Hill mines in Cheshire. However, you can also find it in several other places across the state.
Eubrontes Giganteus Fossil
This large three-toed track was officially named the state fossil in 1991. Scientific studies indicate that the Connecticut Valley is one of the world's most important dinosaur track localities. This is due to the fact that several fossil track impressions have in the past been discovered in the valley's sandstone.