Sourcing

Maine Museum Ready to Reveal Jewelry Designs Set with Historic Tourmalines

SourcingSep 19, 2022

Maine Museum Ready to Reveal Jewelry Designs Set with Historic Tourmalines

The Maine Mineral & Gem Museum enlisted 12 jewelers to create pieces using gems from 1972’s “The Big Find” for fundraising.

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The Maine Mineral & Gem Museum will soon reveal the 12 designs created using gemstones from the historic “Big Find” discovery of tourmaline in the early 1970s. “The Big Reveal” will take place Oct. 8 in Newry, Maine.
Bethel, Maine—It’s almost time for the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum to reveal the jewels created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of the most significant gem tourmaline finds in North America.

In October 1972, four men unearthed a huge source of tourmaline crystals at the Dunton Mine on Plumbago Mountain in Newry, Maine, a discovery known as “The Big Find.”

It resulted in more than a ton of gem tourmaline produced between 1972 and 1974 and revived gemstone mining in the state. The discovery included everything from green to red to watermelon tourmaline.

The museum already has specimens from the find in its permanent exhibitions, but in honor of the 50th anniversary of The Big Find, it announced earlier this year a new initiative to tell the story of the discovery through the lens of jewelry artists.

Twelve jewelers from across the country were selected by a jury of industry experts to create a piece of jewelry using one of the tourmaline gemstones reserved from the discovery as part of “The Big Find: A Legend Continues.”

Now, months after announcing the project, the museum and the artists are nearly ready to reveal those pieces.

They will be debuted at “The Big Reveal” on Oct. 8, a ‘70s themed runway event to be held in Newry, Maine. 

After the event, the collection will go to Tucson, Arizona, to be on display during the gems shows before being sold at an auction that will benefit the museum, located in Bethel, Maine.

The museum said the estimated value of the gemstones, which were donated, is $300,000. Its goal is to raise more than $1 million from the finished pieces.

Tickets for The Big Reveal are on sale now. General admission tickets are $50, while tickets for museum members are priced at $40. 

There is also a limited number of VIP tickets available for $125; the VIP Experience includes access to the VIP Lounge, a first look experience, and more.

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