Roxy Suger, head designer and owner of Angelrox, wearing the piece created by Patricia Daunis-Dunning. Submitted

NEWRY — The ballroom of the Grand Summit Hotel was transformed into a fashion runway on Saturday for the Maine Mineral & Gem Museum’s Big Reveal celebration.

Planning for the event started more than a year ago, said the museum’s executive director, Jessica Siraco, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Big Find in a big way.

In October 1972, near the top of Plumbago Mountain in Newry, George Hartman, Dean McCrillis, Dale Sweatt, and Frank Perham unearthed North America’s most magnificent single discovery of gem-quality tourmaline crystals – more than a ton in all. The discovery sent shockwaves around the mineral world. Never had such a large quantity of world-class tourmaline gem rough been found in a single locality in North America.

To celebrate, the museum hosted The Big Reveal, a runway extravaganza featuring 12 jewelry masterpieces – the work of 12 jewelry artists from across the country who designed and handcrafted masterpieces incorporating gems from the Big Find.

The tourmaline gems – donated for fundraising – ranged in size (9.78 carats to 49.30 carats), shape, and color, and are worth roughly $300,000.

Three Maine-based fashion designers provided looks for the runway: Catherine Fisher Designs, Roxi Suger of Angelrox, and Gnykol of True Self Couture.


“We’ve created a new community,” said Siraco, “between the artists and fashion designers, an extension of our museum community, and I think it’s amazing. I believe it’s going to have a ripple effect, that connection between art and science.”

Patricia Daunis-Dunning of Portland was one of the selected jewelry artists.

“As an artist, if you can get to where you were a child, slipping into the moment, doing things for the sheer joy of it, the work is always a success,” said Daunis. “When I got that rough rock and could play with it and see this beautiful gem coming out of it, that’s what it’s all about. The museum has drawers and drawers of rough rock; it’s really wonderful!”

The piece she created features a 15.57 carat square of dark peach tourmaline, rising between two pieces of pegmatite with purple sapphire accents.

Other artists were from South Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, Massachusetts, New York, and of course, Maine. A full list of artists and their profiles can be found at

The jewelry pieces will be on display at the museum and visitors are invited to vote for their favorite, with the “People’s Choice” winner announced in January.

Eventually the pieces will be auctioned off to support the museum’s mission, their largest fundraising effort to date, Siraco said, to support MMGM’s commitment to education, science, and discovery around the mineralogy of Maine, Earth, and beyond.

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