A Collector's Guide to Maine Mineral Localities

Chapter 4. Sources of Additional Information

Reference books and magazines are valuable sources of information in planning mineral collecting trips and identifying the material that you bring home. Most bookstores carry guidebooks for identifying rocks and minerals and learning about geology. The books that are most useful to you will depend on your level of experience, and can be determined by inspection or the recommendations of other hobbyists. Some consist mostly of colorful photographs of superbly crystallized minerals; these are impressive coffee table books, but may contain little practical information for the novice collector. Standard reference books, such as those by Pough (1996) and Prinz and others (1978), combine clear illustrations with useful advice for mineral identification.

Several hobby magazines are published for mineral collectors. They contain information on both old and new localities which is helpful in planning field trips. Educational articles, advertisements for specimens and equipment, and notices of forthcoming mineral shows also appear in these publications. Some magazines cater to lapidary interests, while others emphasize the collecting of mineral specimens. Rocks and Minerals is one of the leading magazines in the latter category; Mineralogical Record is another high-quality journal, with particular appeal to intermediate and advanced collectors. Information about specific localities can be obtained by visiting libraries and searching through old books, government reports, and scientific journals. Many such references are included in our locality descriptions and the reference list at the end of this book; and King and Foord (1994) have compiled an extensive list of Maine mineralogical literature. Though most early references are out-of-print, the collector who takes the time to locate them will often find interesting historical data and clues to little-known mineral deposits. Useful articles on collecting sites in Maine formerly were published in the annual yearbooks of the Oxford County Mineral and Gem Association. These yearbooks are now difficult to find, but many of their best articles were reprinted in the Association's 40th anniversary volume (Putnam and Spencer, 1988).

Two of the best ways of learning to identify minerals are to visit museums and colleges where they are exhibited, and to seek the advice of experienced collectors. Mineral clubs have been formed in most regions of the country; their activities include educational programs and field trips. Members of these clubs are usually glad to share their knowledge with beginners. You can find clubs in your area by inquiring at gem and mineral shows. Shows also provide opportunities to see fine mineral exhibits and purchase or exchange specimens.

Many of the best Maine minerals are exhibited in major museums, such as those at Harvard University and the Smithsonian Institution. There are some smaller mineral displays within the state of Maine that are accessible to the public.

References Cited

King, V. T., and Foord, E. E., 1994, Mineralogy of Maine - Volume 1: Descriptive mineralogy: Maine Geological Survey, 418 p.

Pough, F. H., 1996, A field guide to rocks and minerals: Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 396 p.

Prinz, M., Harlow, G., and Peters, J., 1978, Simon and Schuster's guide to rocks and minerals: New York, Simon and Schuster, 607 p.

Putnam, D., and Spencer, S., eds., 1988, Oxford County Mineral and Gem Association: 40th anniversary, 1948-1988: privately published by the O.C.M.G.A., 144 p.

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Last updated on January 3, 2012