The most famous and sought after of New England Fluorapatites are the deep purple varieties which get their color from traces of Manganese. The truly deep purple varieties are restricted to a few world renowned pegmatite localities in Maine and a lesser known quarry in Connecticut. The most famous of the pegmatites to produce world class fluorapatite is the Pulsifer Quarry in Auburn, Androscoggin County, Maine. The example to the right is among the best to ever come out of the Pulsifer Quarry. Collected by Terry Szenics in the 1960s, It measures 4cm high and is back-lit to show its deep gem color.
This beautiful example is one of the rare cut purple fluorapatites from the Pulsifer Quarry in Auburn, Maine. It was cut by Arthur Grant and weighs 14.12cts.
When one thinks of the most important fluorapatite finds at the Pulsifer Quarry in Auburn, Maine, two periods definitely come to mind. The first of the initial important finds were during the early days of quarrying near the turn of the 20th Century under the supervision of the original owner, Pitt Pulsifer. This 11cm wide example of fluorapatite crystals on quartz was collected during this time by Pitt Pulsifer himself.
Although collecting at the quarry continued throughout the 20th century, the first post Pitt Pulsifer major fluorapatite find at the mine did not happen until the late 1960s when a young and determined New Jersey collector name Terry "Skip" Szenics traveled by bus to Auburn, Maine and ending up unearthing some of the best specimens to ever come out of the mine. The specimen pictured here that displays the typical combination of fluorapatite with cookeite and quartz (and following two photos) are just some of those special finds.
Fluorapatite on Cookeite - Pulsifer Quarry, Auburn, Androscoggin Co., MaineMineralogical and Geological Museum, Harvard University
2cm example of fluorapatite on cookeite with minor Quartz.
Fluorapatite & Cookeite - Pulsifer Quarry, Auburn, Androscoggin Co., MaineMineralogical and Geological Museum, Harvard University
Another fine 2cm example of gem purple fluorapatite with cookeite.
The Pulsifer Quarry is the most famous of the pegmatite quarries on the aptly name Mt. Apatite in Auburn, Maine, but just about all the quarries on the mountain produced some degree of deep purple to lavender fluorapatite. This specimen in microcline to the right is just one example from the very small Hatch Farm Quarry and measures about 3cm wide.
When one travels to other quarries in southwestern Maine's pegmatite field, one can still find purple fluorapatites, but in general they do not tend to display as deep and dark a purple color as with the quarries on Mt. Apatite. This pinkish-purple example to the right is from the Mt. Rubellite Quarry in Hebron, Oxford Co, Maine (a quarry that is much better known for its pink tourmaline specimens). The specimen nicely displays the platy fluorapatite habit that is very typical for the mine. The specimen is 7 cm wide.
This and the following photo are smaller but darker purple examples from the Mt. Rubellite Quarry, in Hebron, Oxford Co., Maine. They also a aesthetically combine with sharp quartz crystals. They are 2 and 2.5 cm respectively
Fluorapatite & Cookeite - Mt. Rubellite, Hebron, Oxford Co., MaineMineralogical and Geological Museum, Harvard University
2cm fluorapatite with Quartz and minor cookeite.
Other than perhaps the Emmons Quarry in Greenwood, Maine, the only other quarry that has produced fine purple fluoapatites that have been recognized outside of New England is the Harvard Quarry on Noyes Mountain, in Greenwood, Oxford County, Maine. Some are very deep purple and often exhibit aesthetically pleasing crystal zoning. The specimen to the right is a Harvard example measuring 5 cm wide.
Fluorapatite in Albite and Quartz - Harvard Quarry, Greenwood, Oxford Co., MaineMineralogical and Geological Museum, Harvard University
Fluorapatite in Quartz from the Harvard Quarry.
This nice lavender specimen came to the MGMH with only "Greenwood, Oxford Co., Maine" as a locality description. It is possibly a Harvard Quarry specimen, but it is also consistent with certain specimens found at the Tamminen-Waisanen Quarries south of the Harvard mine. The specimen is 5 cm tall and nestled in quartz crystals.
The various quarries on Plumbago Mountain in Newry, Oxford County, Maine (such as the Dunton and Nevel Quarries) are world famous for their gem Elbaite tourmaline production, but many of these quarries were rich in phosphates including some nice lavender colored fluorapatite. The specimen to the right of drusy fluorapatite on albite is from the Bell Pit and is a whopping 19cm wide.
Fluorapatite - Bell Pit, Newry, Oxford Co., MaineMineralogical and Geological Museum, Harvard University
A darker 7cm tall example of purple fluorapatite from the Bell Pit in Newry, Maine.
Outside of Maine there is really only one other pegmatite that produced purple fluorapatites that rival Maine's best, and these were found at the Strickland Quarry in Portland, Middlesex County, Connecticut. It is true that New Hampshire produced a few sites with pink and pale lavender fluorapatites, but only the Strickland Quarry produced examples as deep and gemmy as the world famous Pulsifer Quarry in Auburn, Maine. This 3 cm wide example in feldspar to the right is back lit to show how deep colored and gemmy it is. The following picture is another Strickland example without the back-lighting.
Here is another view of the biggest and best crystal that came out of the 1960s Terry Szenics mining adventure at the Pulsifer Quarry, in Auburn, Androscoggin County, Maine. It is set next the the second largest crystal from the same pocket. They are 4 and 3 cm wide respectively.
Thanks to MGMH Curator Raquel Alonso-Perez and MGMH Collections Manager Caroline Im for editing and support.