In the fall of 1972, high on “Newry Hill” on the eastern slope of Plumbago Mountain in Oxford County, Maine, Plumbago Mining Partners Dale Sweatt, George Hartman, and Dean McCrillis, along with contract miner Frank C. Perham opened a series of spectacular tourmaline bearing pockets from the Dunton Pegmatite. The largest of these, called the “Big Pocket,” was 8 m long, 2 m high and 2 m wide and produced ~ 2 tons of watermelon tourmaline. This pocket was unique in Maine’s mining history both for its size and the quantity of gem tourmaline produced and put Maine on the map for gem watermelon tourmaline. The largest single crystal found in this pocket was in four pieces. The 28 cm tall termination section was dubbed the “Jolly Green Giant” and resides in the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian) collection. The exquisite “Newry Necklace” was custom made for the MMGM using 40.82 carats of Dunton Mine tourmaline.
This talk will cover the discovery of a series of Dunton Pegmatite tourmaline pockets beginning in 1966 through 1974, told from the perspective of Frank C. Perham, whom Karen interviewed extensively for the biography Frank C. Perham, Adventures in Maine Pegmatite Mining.