Left: Dennis Durgan in the pocket. Above: Freshly washed garnets in the wall.
An Exciting Discovery of a soon-to-be American Classic
During the last year and a half, Dennis Durgan, the owner of the Mt. Marie Mine in Paris Township east of South Paris has encountered and collected a sizable pocket of almandine garnets. The crystals are very dark red, appearing almost black, but are surprisingly sharp and large. If you are familiar with the historic specimens from Russell, MA, these specimens are similar in many ways, but distinguishable by their more complex crystals and in many cases, by their larger size.
The Mt. Marie complex covers many acres and has several diverse pegmatites. Previously, Dennis has found tourmaline rough in an amazing array of colors and converted it into fine gemstones. That collection of faceted tourmaline is now part of the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum in Bethel and will be on display when the museum opens in 2019.
The garnet pocket was unusual for Maine in that the crystals could be separated from the surrounding quartz and feldspar producing sharp crystals. There were no quartz crystals found with the garnets, but a few of the specimens have muscovite crystals attached. My prior experience at nearby Mt. Mica has been that all of the garnets were frozen in the margins of the pegmatite zones and could be extracted only in pieces.
I was privileged to visit the Mount Marie in the summer of 2017 while the pocket was being excavated and saw some of the garnets in place. Dennis asked me to take some broken material to my Colorado lab to determine how best to clean it. I returned to the mine in the summer of 2018 and was able to see the product of his work. We also arranged for me to be the sole source of these crystals in the market place. Dennis provided me with specimens, representing the best from the mine and a few reference pieces. We were able to place many of them in private and institutional collection (such as the Ameerican Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Maine Mineral and gem Museum I Bethel, ME.
The almandine specimens made their world debut in Tucson in February at the Westward Look Fine Mineral Show, Feb. 7-11 in the Graeber and Himes room. Look fro an Article on the mine and its garnets in a 2022 Rocks & Minerals magazine.
The mine is not open to collecting or visitors. But I am happy to share some photos of the property and the garnets.
A 3-inch and a 2-inch crystal showing varied habits.
All of the specimens are larger than miniature.
A NEW FIND OF SILVER FROM ARIZONA
Between the two Tucson 'shows' of 2021, I received a phone call from a prospector from the Globe, AZ area. He had been metal detecting in the area of old silver mines north of Globe for the last year and had found silver specimens. We arranged a meeting and I was fortunate to acquire his collection. At the time I was pleased but had no idea how rare such pieces are. There is a fine article in the Mineralogical Record by Les Presmyck on the Arizona silver deposits from Silver Hill to McMillanville. While there are photos of choice specimens from Silver Hill, there is are few of specimens from the McMillanville, where these were found.
I later learned that no specimens from this are had been come to market since the 1930s, with the exception of three 'nuggets' up to 400 pounds! that were on display at the 2020 Tucson Show (TGMS). Those are now on loan to the new U of AZ's Norville museum. I was able to process most of my purchase in time to spread the word to Arizona collectors and display them at Mineral City. They were well received by the locals, to say the least, but because I acquired over 100 specimens, there are excellent choices remaining. Sizes range from thumbnail to small cabinet. Below or some photos. Their next public appearance will be in Frisco, Texas in July, but they are available in my showroom currently.
Two specimens of Mt. Marie tourmaline and apatite that I prepared in my lab a few years ago. Both are toenail to small miniature size.
Opal-AN (Hyalite Opal) from near Rio Verde, San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Something a bit different has shown up too. Hyalite Opal (now properly labeled Opal-AN) from Mexico and other localities has been around for years, in fact the first flat of minerals I ever bought for my fledgling business was topaz from San Luis Potosi, Mexico and some had hyalite on them. Well in recent years more has been mined and I have just had the opportunity to high-grade some of it. below are three photos of the same specimen in white light, SW UV and my hand for size reference. The specimens are rosettes and cups of transparent colorless opal on chalcedony. I have miniature to cabinet-size specimens that are fine in their own right, but also have wonderful fluorescence. I'll debate them at the July show in Dallas.
May-June 2021 July-August 2021
Legrandite, Mexico Azurite, Tsumeb Spinel. Burma Torbernite, Zaire
Three of the finest. Prices on request.
My galleries show specimens that are currently available for purchase.
I advertise regularly in Rocks & Minerals and sometimes in the The Mineralogical Record and other publications. My ads show either exceptional specimens from my inventory or excellent specimens that coordinate with articles in the current issue. Please support these journals with your subscription if you don't already. It will enhance your mineral knowledge. You can contact them at www.tandfonline.com/vram and www.MineralogicalRecord.org. I know that most serious collectors take the MR but I'm surprised at how many do not subscribe to R&M. If you haven't for a while, you should give it another look, over the past decades it has become a very good publication, frequently rivaling the MR for content and it is often more readable for non-scientists. Let me know if my encouragement caused you to subscribe and I'll credit it you with your first-year subscription amount on your next mineral specimen purchase of over $200.
Here are my recent and current Rocks and Minerals ads. The featured specimens were available at the time the ad was submitted. However, specimens often sell prior to the magazine's publication due to the long lead time for ad submissions, but it never hurts to ask if they are still available. Predicting when a specimen will sell is impossible!
Note that because ads must be submitted months in advance, show information might have changed.
Leonard Himes Dealer in Fine Mineral Specimens
Three of many thumbnails.
A long-range view of Mt. Marie and a close-up of the wild blueberries that cover the open space adjacent to the mine. The blueberries alone were worth my trip!
Many of you know me from my early days dealing from Florida as Minerals America. I started my business selling what I dug around the US and still love American locality specimens. I was working in my storage areas and came a cross the remains (pretty nice ones) of a large purchase Cal and I made when the Philadelphia Academy collection was disbursed. Here are some of the classic pieces we have for sale. These are excellent quality and very hard to come by, particularly with he museums display labels. I remind you that my labels are 2 inches wide at the borders, for a size reference.
Contact me directly to learn more about available specimens. I have many more specimens than can be shown here, so if you are seeking something in particular, ask. I often have other specimens of the species shown, but in different sizes and prices. I enjoy getting to know my customers and believe that learning about you and your collection will help me find specimens that will enhance your collection.
I accept PayPal, credit cards, and checks on US banks. Payment is required prior to shipping. Insured shipping within the US is free. Prompt insured returns of unaltered specimens (at your expense) will result in full immediate refunds. Due to current transportation problems, we are not shipping out of North America
Cabinet specimens are larger than fit into a 5-inch cube. Small cabinets (s-cab) are under the 5-inch cube but larger than miniature. Miniatures (min) fit within a 2-inch cube, Toenails fit within a 1.5-inch cube, and Thumbnails (TN) fit within a 1-inch cube.
Many of my best specimens come with custom bases by The Sunnywood Collection, the industry standard. For information about having your collection mounted contact them at www.sunnywood.com.
Here is some eye candy as I work on summer plans