By Joanne Rochman
Before you get too excited, you ought to know that these garnets are not going to make you rich. They’re not valuable in that way. They are almandine garnet crystals, the more common variety. However, Kathleen Collins of the Manchester Gem and Mineral Club and of the Lapidary and Mineral Society of Central Connecticut, Inc. said that whenever newcomers join up with one of the many CT rock and mineral clubs, a trip to the Roxbury garnet mines is always scheduled. “There are so many garnets here and they are great, but not gem quality,” she said adding that some members do cut and polish these garnets and make them into jewelry. “It’s a great place and kids love it.”
Lapidary and Mineral Society of Central Connecticut, Inc.
Meriden, CT 06450
Meeting Place: Maloney High School Cafeteria
Meeting Time: Fourth Monday of each month (except July & Aug.)
David Korzendorfer, President of the Bristol Gem and Mineral Club, said that there are an infinite number of garnets in Roxbury. He explained that garnets are plentiful in CT because the garnet is a mineral formed in metamorphic rock due to the continental shift. One of the largest clubs in the state, it boasts of 300 members. “Whenever you find garnets, it’s exciting. We collect them and give them away at our annual show in October. Some members do like to cut them, trim them and polish them up for the show.”
Bristol Gem and Mineral Club
240 Stafford Av
Bristol, CT 06011
Meeting Place: Room 109 at the Douglas Beals Senior/Community Center at 240 Stafford Ave,
Meeting Time: Second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 PM
John Pawloski, founder and director of the Connecticut Museum of Mining and Mineral Science said that The Roxbury garnet mine is the most popular place to dig for garnets in CT. “It’s not only easy to find these garnets, but the people who live adjacent to the mines are amenable to granting access to the mines.” Last year, he and his two grandsons went. They packed a stone chisel, pry bars, safety glasses and a bucket to carry home the goods. The area is rich with garnets because when the original sedimentary rocks metamorphosed and collided, the chemistry of the sediments was just right for garnets to form here in Roxbury, CT.
The Connecticut Museum of Mining and Mineral Science
Route 7, Kent
The Museum is open May through November
Best Directions on the Internet to Roxbury Garnet Mines (a.k.a. Green’s Farm Garnet Mines):
UPDATE 6/17/2013: THERE IS NO LONGER ACCESS TO THE ROXBURY GARNET MINE. THE MINE IS ON PRIVATE PROPERTY AND THE CURRENT OWNER ALLOWS NO ACCESS.
Don’t get discouraged if you make a few wrong turns in trying to find this place. The drive is pleasant and well worth the adventure. Interstate 84 East to Route 7 North. Take Route 7 to Brookfield and turn right on Route 25 South. Follow Route 25 for about a mile to Brookfield Center and turn left on Route 133 North. Follow Route 133 for about 6 miles, before you reach Bridgewater, as you go up a small hill, look for Stuart Rd. on you right. Turn on Stuart Rd. (East) and follow it, it may turn into Treat Rd. or Minor Bridge Rd.. After it crosses the Shephaug River it will come to a “T”. Go right to Roxbury Falls (a small group of building with River Rd. branching off to the right). Stay left through Roxbury Falls, as the road turns left and goes up a hill you will see Perkins Rd. on your left. Turn on Perkins Rd., take it all the way around a left curve. Do not turn right after the left curve (this is Garnet Road, but it does not take you to any!). Perkins Rd. becomes unpaved and then shortly after terminates at a gate posted with no trespassing signs. Do not park here. The collecting site is actually beyond the house and yard you can see to your right. Turn right (north) into the driveway nearest the gate and
you can park in the driveway opposite the front door and pay the owners the $5.00 fee. If nobody is home, leave the fee under the doormat.
The collecting area is immediately to the north from the parking area. Follow an obvious path straight down the driveway, along the left side of the garage, straight through a small clearing in the trees. The mine workings are quite extensive throughout the area.
$5.00 per car. If nobody is home, leave the fee under the doormat.