Elbaite, Gillette Quarry
CCC Camp prospect Information
The CCC camp beryl and columbite prospects are located in the Cockaponset State Forest in Haddam, Connecticut.
Collecting is allowed by STATE PERMIT ONLY!
*** click here for driving directions via google maps ***
Get off the Beaver Meadow Road exit 8 from Rt 9 in Haddam and head NE on Beaver Meadow Road. At the 5-way intersection at Arnolds, turn hard right to go south on Turkey Hill Road. Follow to first right and turn onto Filley Road. Park to the right (west) of the large red barn just up the road on your left. Path to the quarry is straight behind the gate on the left (east) side of the barn ahead in the woods, it may be overgrown but opens up once you are past the edge of the woods. Follow this nice straight path about 600 feet to the second large pegmatite on your right. The digging area will be obvious.
The best collecting is at prospect where a coarse-grained pegmatite vein along the bottom and then up the left side of the outcrop yields good yellow, green, and blue beryl, columbite, and almandine. Micro uraninites are also a possibility. The beryl quality varies from rotten to very gemmy and good ones are tough to find these days. Sift the dumps for fragments to cut into gems or work the narrow vein for crystals. Lots of big mica sheets, too. Collecting is by STATE PERMIT ONLY. Hand tools only!!!!!
Bring tools for digging, prying, sifting, and/or rock breaking. All sizes of hammers & chisels are useful. The eastern path to the prospect is good for wagons and hand trucks. The area is forested and shady. There are no comfort facilities.
Information about the four collecting spots labeled 1. through 4 on the map above:
- Minerals in the Smith quarry SW of the former CCC camp are the basic pegmatite minerals microcline, albite, quartz, muscovite, and schorl. The schorl crystals are typically very crumbly. Large partial crystals can be seen in the SW corner of the cut. Some terminated schorl crystals and psuedo-hexagonal muscovite crystals have been the best finds, but much of the limited dumps are unexplored. A football-sized microcline crystal turned up in the spring 2008.
- The old beryl trench was not very productive.
- The Cook columbite prospect occurs in a narrow, 2 to 4-foot-wide, very-coarse-grained pegmatite dike that cross-cuts the barren, fine-grained pegmatite that makes up most of the outcrop. Besides the usual pegmatite minerals named above, which can measure 2 feet across, beryl is the most common accessory. Crystals range in quality from very corroded and opaque to gem grade and in color from nearly colorless, through pale green and yellow to deep golden honey. Other minerals include well-formed garnet (almandine-spessartine) crystals, columbite-tantalites, micro-sized uraninites, and massive pale green fluorapatite.
- The rock surrounding the pegmatites is gray schist. Half-inch-sized almandine garnets of decent crystal quality have been found in outcrops here.
For information about the history of collecting in this area, visit:
The Lapidary & Mineral Society of Central Connecticut