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Chrysoberyl locality, Haddam, Middlesex Co., Connecticut, USAi
Regional Level Types
Chrysoberyl localityOutcrop (Extinct)
Haddam- not defined -
Middlesex Co.County

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):
41° 28' 58'' North , 72° 31' 21'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal):
Locality type:
Outcrop (Extinct) - last checked 2018
Köppen climate type:
Nearest Settlements:
Higganum1,698 (2017)3.3km
East Haddam9,042 (2017)6.1km
Moodus1,413 (2017)6.4km
East Hampton2,691 (2017)10.5km
Chester Center1,558 (2017)10.8km

Chrysoberyl was discovered at Haddam in 1810 by Archibald Bruce. Though the type locality is listed as "Brazil", the type Brazilian specimens were alluvial. As pointed out in Webster (1820), the Haddam locality is the first place where chrysoberyl was found in-situ. The famous locality was a vein cropping out on the north-side courtyard and extending into the cellar of the old Cephus Brainerd House on Walkley Hill Road (formerly part of the old Middlesex County Turnpike). Miss Eveline Brainerd later named the farm "Chrysoberyl Knoll" (Williams 1899).

Collectors and mineralogists frequently blasted the rock for specimens, descriptions of this activity are given in Webster (1820) and Hall (1840). As a comment in Webster (1820), Benjamin Silliman wrote, "Mineralogists have found it necessary, and just, to insure the proprietor of the house, against their gunpowder blasts and to pay him liberally for the molestation of his peace."

Hall (1840) noted that his charge would be set off within 3 to 4 feet from the north side of the house:

The mode of operating is this: the orifice is sunk to the depth of twelve or fourteen inches; about a pound and a half of powder is poured in and confined in the ordinary manner; planks are placed before the lower windows; the upper ones are taken out; poles are brought and laid over the digging, to diminish the force of the rising fragments; all is ready; the train is laid; the family seem fearless; but I acknowledge myself a coward, and have no liking for the smell of gunpowder; I retire into the cornfield; away gives the charge; the solid granite is shattered; the explosion was a heavy one; the fragments flew in all directions; a mass, weighing, perhaps, a quarter of a ton, was thrown completely over the house, and lodged a rod or two beyond it, and yet no injury was sustained by the edifice, except the fracturing of a few panes of glass.

Davis (1901) writes:

About 1844 parties came here from New Haven in search of this rare mineral. It existed in very fine quality on the premises of Cephas Brainerd, very near his dwelling house. An eccentric old gentleman said to Professor Silliman who when blasting shook the house, 'Do you expect to take all that you have moved?' 'Yes!' he answered. 'You will have to take the old house.' 'Well.' said the professor, 'I won't take you.' Unfortunately for the scientific world this famous deposit is closed to the public, now being covered by the lawn of the present owner.

When exactly the blasting ended is not certain, but Shepard (1870) refers to "a recent blasting".

There is still no exposure of the vein or associated gneiss at the spot now. According to Williams (circa 1945 and 1899), the vein was also exposed on the adjoining hill across the road to the SW, behind a small feldspar quarry, where he found similar minerals. This area is all developed into residential properties.

The chrysoberyl occurred in abundant platy crystals up to about three inches across, typically in cyclic twins. They are greenish-yellow and not of gem quality, though by no means opaque. Webster (1820) reports "perfect garnets, up to four, five, six inches in diameter". They are spessartine according to analysis by Seybert (1823).

Small columbite-(Fe) crystals from here were also studied in the 19th century. This was the first locality where columbite was found in-situ in the USA (Torrey, 1822a & 1824) after Hatchett completed the initial description in 1802 on the old specimen from uncertain Connecticut affinity found by Governor Winthrop in the 17th century ( Shepard (1870) published finding tiny microlites in the columbite-(Fe).

Though described generically as a "pegmatite", the locality is very unusual for the Middletown pegmatite district because of its intimate mixture of typical metamorphic minerals (albite var. oligoclase, cordierite, talc) with typical pegmatitic species (chrysoberyl, spessartine, beryl, columbite-(Fe), bismuthinite). Quartz, gahnite, schorl and zircon could be found in either type of rock; but critically, K-feldspar is absent, and most pegmatitic garnets in the district are almandine. The descriptions of its former outcrop indicate it was conformable to the regional foliation. Thus, its mineralogy and geology are dissimilar to the myriads of cross-cutting albite-microcline-quartz pegmatite dikes that populate Connecticut. Of these, only the Hollister quarry in South Glastonbury has any significant gahnite.

The rock is similar to, and along strike with, the Tim's Hill ( and Beaver Meadow Road-State Route 9 Interchange (, which also have oligoclase, cordierite, and schorl but lack the chrysoberyl, beryl, spessartine, talc, and columbite. The Tim's Hill and Beaver Meadow Road-State Route 9 Interchange veins, which still crop out, are also conformable with the regional foliation, suggesting they all result from the metamorphism of a distinct layer in the gneiss' protolith.

Though the strike of the layer does extend across the Connecticut river, a general reference to chrysoberyl east of the river by Torrey (1822) has never been substantiated by any exact locality or reference and would certainly have become well-known if it existed. The problem may have resulted from the vein at the Brainerd house being confused with the Brainerd Quarries in Haddam Neck across the river. Specimens for sale also moved freely across the river on ferries and were potentially available from many members of the locally prominent Brainerd family and local dealers such as Nathaniel Cook.

In any case, the Haddam chrysoberyls are NOT from the Gillette Quarry across the Connecticut River in Haddam Neck as is sometimes reported. The opening of that quarry in the 1890s post-dates this locality by over 80 years, early references do not mention it and modern collecting has never found it there. Specimens mislabeled as originating there (such as the first illustration in the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks and Minerals) match all the mineralogical and petrological characteristics of the Walkley Hill Road locality.

There is one other Connecticut chrysoberyl locality, though very obscure and meager. Januzzi (1994) reports finding chrysoberyl during construction of the U.S. Route 7 Expressway near the Iron Works District in Brookfield ( This is confirmed via two specimens from his former collection, the best (2mm crystal) can be seen here:

Select Mineral List Type

Standard Detailed Strunz Dana Chemical Elements

Mineral List

13 valid minerals.

Detailed Mineral List:

Formula: Na(AlSi3O8)
Habit: massive
Colour: white
Albite var: Oligoclase
Formula: (Na,Ca)[Al(Si,Al)Si2O8]
Habit: anhedral, cleavable, massive
Colour: white, blue opalescence
Reference: - Schooner, Richard. (1958): THE MINERALOGY OF THE PORTLAND-EAST HAMPTON-MIDDLETOWN-HADDAM AREA IN CONNECTICUT (With a few notes on Glastonbury and Marlborough).
Formula: Be3Al2(Si6O18)
Habit: elongated prisms
Colour: green, greenish-yellow to wax-yellow
Description: Shepard (1837 writes: "crystals sometimes five or six inches in diameter, occasionally occur. They have a greenish yellow color, sometimes passing into wax-yellow; and are frequently penetrated by crystals of chrysoberyl."
Reference: Shepard (1837); Schooner (1958); Rocks & Minerals (1995) 70:396-409
Formula: Bi2S3
Habit: elongated, slender
Colour: metallic
Description: A few slender crystals of this species have been detected (Shepard 1837)
Formula: (BiO)2CO3
Habit: earthy
Colour: yellow
Description: With [bismuthinite], occurs a yellow pulverulent substance resembling the bismuth-ochre (Shepard 1837).
Reference: Shepard (1837)
Formula: BeAl2O4
Habit: Typically flat, striated, cyclic twins, sometimes fully 6-sided.
Colour: yellow-green, pale green
Description: First locality where it was found in-situ. Intensely studied in the 19th century - crystal drawings are in Dana's System of Mineralogy and Goldschmidt's Atlas der Krystallformen. Shepard (1837) writes: "occurs in large distinct crystals, simple and compound (see fig. 136 of my Mineralogy) as well as massive". Crystals reached up to about 7.5 cm across, typically translucent but not gemmy.
Reference: Webster, J. W. (1820), Localities of minerals, observed principally in Haddam, in Connecticut, in September, 1819. American Journal of Science: s. 1: 2: 239; Shepard, Charles U. (1837): Report on the Geological Survey of Connecticut. Hamlem, New Haven.
Formula: Fe2+Nb2O6
Habit: massive, slender prisms
Colour: black
Description: First confirmed in-situ locality after the mineral was first described in 1802 from an old, loose crystal. Massive material was "from one-fourth to half an inch in diameter, of a grayish black colour, with the surface always more or less irised", "The crystals are very minute, being seldom greater in diameter than a common pin, and often much less; yet many are extremely perfect.", "They are often grouped, or or intersecting, and are very brittle. The form of the crystal is that of a compressed rectangular prism, usually truncated on the lateral edges, or a four-sided pyramid, two sides of which are, in most instances, unduly extended.", "Specific gravity 5.90" Torrey (1824). The gravity of four crystals tested by Shepard (1870) were 6.02, 6.03, 6.10, 6.19, making them columbite. Dana (1875) gives analyses showing about three times as much iron as manganese.
Reference: Torrey, John (1822a), Tantalite in Haddam rocks. American Journal of Science: s. 1: 4: 52.; Torrey (Torry), John (1824), An Account of the Columbite of Haddam (Connecticut). The Annals of Philosophy: 8(24): 359-362.; Shepard, Charles U. (1837), Report on the Geological Survey of Connecticut. Hamlem, New Haven.
Formula: (Mg,Fe)2Al3(AlSi5O18)
Habit: massive to subhedral short prisms
Colour: blue to green
Description: Shepard (1837) referring to it as "iolite" writes: "It occurs in large massive individuals, having one very eminent cleavage. Its colors are various shades of blue and green, the former predominating; it is transparent in spots, and possessed of dichroism. It is obtained at this place with some difficulty, and does not promise to be abundant." Much of it is altered to what Shepard (1841) refers to as "pinite" but more likely "fahlunite" similar to that found at Tim's Hill.
Reference: Shepard (1837): Report on the Geological Survey of Connecticut.
Formula: (Mg,Fe)Al2Si3O10 · 2H2O
Habit: foliated masses, pseudomorphs after cordierite
Colour: dull bluish green color
Description: Referred to by Shepard (1841) as "pinite" and similar to the material he gives the same name to at Tim's Hill, now referred to as "fahlunite". Here he says "It presents itself most commonly, in small foliated masses of a dull bluish green color, disseminated through, the same albitic granite in which the chrysoberyl, garnet, columbite, zircon, automalite and bismuthic ores occur. A few specimens have been observed, in which the pinite assumed a regular crystalline form; the figure of the crystal being either an hexagonal prism, or this form altered by the bevelment of its lateral edges."
Reference: Shepard, Charles U. (1841): On two Decomposed Varieties of Iolite. American Journal of Science: series 1, 41: 354-358.
Formula: ZnAl2O4
Habit: massive grains, subhedral octahedrons
Colour: dark bluish green
Description: Referred to by Shepard (1837) as "automolite". Crystals up to 1 inch (Silliman, 1829). Apparently more common than the columbite-(Fe).
Reference: Shepard (1837): Report on the Geological Survey of Connecticut.; Silliman, Benjamin. (1829): Discovery of Columbite in Chesterfield, Mass. American Journal of Science, s. 2, vol 16. pp. 220-224.
'Microlite Group'
Formula: A2-mTa2X6-wZ-n
Habit: octahedral
Colour: brown
Description: Micro crystals in and on columbite-(Fe).
Reference: Shepard, Charles U. (1870): Mineralogical Contributions, 1. A new variety (species?) of Columbite. 2. An unknown mineral (microlite?) in Haddam columbite. American Journal of Science: s. 2: 50: 90-94.
Formula: SiO2
Habit: massive
Colour: smoky gray
Reference: Harold Moritz collection
Quartz var: Smoky Quartz
Formula: SiO2
Habit: massive
Colour: smoky gray
Reference: Harold Moritz collection
Formula: Na(Fe2+3)Al6(Si6O18)(BO3)3(OH)3(OH)
Habit: subhedral short prisms
Colour: black
Description: Accessory mineral, crystals not that large or well formed compared to other localities.
Reference: Harold Moritz collection
Formula: Mn2+3Al2(SiO4)3
Habit: Dodecahedral
Colour: blood red
Description: Crystals are translucent and partly gemmy, some perfectly formed, reached up to 15 cm across. Seybert's (1823) analysis showed twice as much Mn oxide as Fe oxide, unusual as most garnets from the Middletown pegmatite district are almandine.
Reference: Seybert, Henry (1823): Analysis of a manganesian garnet from Haddam. American Journal of Science s. 1, v. 6, p. 155-57.
Formula: Mg3Si4O10(OH)2
Habit: massive, fibrous
Colour: white to pale yellow
Formula: Zr(SiO4)
Habit: square prisms with pyramidal terminations
Colour: grayish brown, dark brown
Description: referred to by Shepard as "calyptolite" in small or minute crystals
Reference: Shepard, Charles U. (1837): REPORT ON THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF CONNECTICUT; Silliman, Benjamin. (1852):Mineral Species Described by Prof. C. U. Shepard. AJS s2 v12 p210.

List of minerals arranged by Strunz 10th Edition classification

Group 2 - Sulphides and Sulfosalts
Group 4 - Oxides and Hydroxides
'Microlite Group'4.00.A2-mTa2X6-wZ-n
var: Smoky Quartz4.DA.05SiO2
Group 5 - Nitrates and Carbonates
Group 9 - Silicates
var: Oligoclase9.FA.35(Na,Ca)[Al(Si,Al)Si2O8]
Unclassified Minerals, Rocks, etc.
'Fahlunite'-(Mg,Fe)Al2Si3O10 · 2H2O

List of minerals arranged by Dana 8th Edition classification

Group 2 - SULFIDES
AmBnXp, with (m+n):p = 2:3
'Microlite Group'
Group 51 - NESOSILICATES Insular SiO4 Groups Only
Insular SiO4 Groups Only with cations in [6] and >[6] coordination
Insular SiO4 Groups Only with cations in >[6] coordination
Group 61 - CYCLOSILICATES Six-Membered Rings
Six-Membered Rings with [Si6O18] rings; possible (OH) and Al substitution
Six-Membered Rings with Al substituted rings
Six-Membered Rings with borate groups
Group 71 - PHYLLOSILICATES Sheets of Six-Membered Rings
Sheets of 6-membered rings with 2:1 layers
Group 75 - TECTOSILICATES Si Tetrahedral Frameworks
Si Tetrahedral Frameworks - SiO2 with [4] coordinated Si
Group 76 - TECTOSILICATES Al-Si Framework
Al-Si Framework with Al-Si frameworks
Unclassified Minerals, Mixtures, etc.
var: Oligoclase-(Na,Ca)[Al(Si,Al)Si2O8]
'Fahlunite'-(Mg,Fe)Al2Si3O10 · 2H2O
var: Smoky Quartz

List of minerals for each chemical element

H SchorlNa(Fe32+)Al6(Si6O18)(BO3)3(OH)3(OH)
H Fahlunite(Mg,Fe)Al2Si3O10 · 2H2O
H TalcMg3Si4O10(OH)2
Be ChrysoberylBeAl2O4
Be BerylBe3Al2(Si6O18)
B SchorlNa(Fe32+)Al6(Si6O18)(BO3)3(OH)3(OH)
C Bismutite(BiO)2CO3
O ChrysoberylBeAl2O4
O SpessartineMn32+Al2(SiO4)3
O GahniteZnAl2O4
O BerylBe3Al2(Si6O18)
O Columbite-(Fe)Fe2+Nb2O6
O ZirconZr(SiO4)
O SchorlNa(Fe32+)Al6(Si6O18)(BO3)3(OH)3(OH)
O Cordierite(Mg,Fe)2Al3(AlSi5O18)
O Bismutite(BiO)2CO3
O Fahlunite(Mg,Fe)Al2Si3O10 · 2H2O
O TalcMg3Si4O10(OH)2
O AlbiteNa(AlSi3O8)
O Quartz (var: Smoky Quartz)SiO2
O Albite (var: Oligoclase)(Na,Ca)[Al(Si,Al)Si2O8]
O QuartzSiO2
Na SchorlNa(Fe32+)Al6(Si6O18)(BO3)3(OH)3(OH)
Na AlbiteNa(AlSi3O8)
Na Albite (var: Oligoclase)(Na,Ca)[Al(Si,Al)Si2O8]
Mg Cordierite(Mg,Fe)2Al3(AlSi5O18)
Mg Fahlunite(Mg,Fe)Al2Si3O10 · 2H2O
Mg TalcMg3Si4O10(OH)2
Al ChrysoberylBeAl2O4
Al SpessartineMn32+Al2(SiO4)3
Al GahniteZnAl2O4
Al BerylBe3Al2(Si6O18)
Al SchorlNa(Fe32+)Al6(Si6O18)(BO3)3(OH)3(OH)
Al Cordierite(Mg,Fe)2Al3(AlSi5O18)
Al Fahlunite(Mg,Fe)Al2Si3O10 · 2H2O
Al AlbiteNa(AlSi3O8)
Al Albite (var: Oligoclase)(Na,Ca)[Al(Si,Al)Si2O8]
Si SpessartineMn32+Al2(SiO4)3
Si BerylBe3Al2(Si6O18)
Si ZirconZr(SiO4)
Si SchorlNa(Fe32+)Al6(Si6O18)(BO3)3(OH)3(OH)
Si Cordierite(Mg,Fe)2Al3(AlSi5O18)
Si Fahlunite(Mg,Fe)Al2Si3O10 · 2H2O
Si TalcMg3Si4O10(OH)2
Si AlbiteNa(AlSi3O8)
Si Quartz (var: Smoky Quartz)SiO2
Si Albite (var: Oligoclase)(Na,Ca)[Al(Si,Al)Si2O8]
Si QuartzSiO2
S BismuthiniteBi2S3
Ca Albite (var: Oligoclase)(Na,Ca)[Al(Si,Al)Si2O8]
Mn SpessartineMn32+Al2(SiO4)3
Fe Columbite-(Fe)Fe2+Nb2O6
Fe SchorlNa(Fe32+)Al6(Si6O18)(BO3)3(OH)3(OH)
Fe Cordierite(Mg,Fe)2Al3(AlSi5O18)
Fe Fahlunite(Mg,Fe)Al2Si3O10 · 2H2O
Zn GahniteZnAl2O4
Zr ZirconZr(SiO4)
Nb Columbite-(Fe)Fe2+Nb2O6
Ta Microlite GroupA2-mTa2X6-wZ-n
Bi BismuthiniteBi2S3
Bi Bismutite(BiO)2CO3


Sort by

Year (asc) Year (desc) Author (A-Z) Author (Z-A)
Webster, J. W. (1820): Localities of minerals, observed principally in Haddam, in Connecticut, in September, 1819. American Journal of Science: s. 1: 2: 239.
Cleaveland, Parker (1822): Elementary treatise on mineralogy. ed. 2. Cummings and Hilliard. Boston. 2 vols.
Torrey, John (1822a): Tantalite in Haddam rocks. American Journal of Science: s. 1: 4: 52.
Torrey, John (1822b): Chrysoberyl of Haddam. American Journal of Science: s. 1: 4: 52-53.
Hitchcock, Edward (1823): Sketch of the geology, mineralogy and scenery of the regions contiguous to the River Connecticut. American Journal of Science: s. 1: 6.
Seybert, Henry (1823): Analysis of a manganesian garnet from Haddam. American Journal of Science: s. 1: 6: 155-57.
Torrey (Torry), John (1824): An Account of the Columbite of Haddam (Connecticut). The Annals of Philosophy: 8(24): 359-362.
Porter, T. D. (1825): T. D. Porter's Localities of Minerals on Connecticut River. American Journal of Science: s.1: 9: 177 and figure at end plate.
Robinson, Samuel (1825): Catalog of American minerals with their localities. Cummings, Hilliard. Boston.
Seybert, Henry (1825): Analyses of the chrysoberyls of Haddam and Brazil. American Philosophical Society Transactions n.s.: 2: 116-23; also in American Journal of Science: s. 1: 8: 105-12.
Silliman, Benjamin. (1829): Discovery of Columbite in Chesterfield, Mass. American Journal of Science: s. 2: 16: 220-224.
Shepard, Charles U. (1837): Report on the Geological Survey of Connecticut. Hamlen.
Hall, Frederick. (1840): From the East and from the West. F. Taylor and W. M. Morrison, Washington City.
Shepard, Charles U. (1851): Ores of bismuth at Haddam. American Journal of Science: s. 2: 12: 220.
Silliman, Benjamin. (1852): Mineral Species Described by Prof. C. U. Shepard. American Journal of Science: s. 2: 12: 210.
Shepard, Charles U. (1870): Mineralogical Contributions, 1. A new variety (species?) of Columbite. 2. An unknown mineral (microlite?) in Haddam columbite. American Journal of Science: s. 2: 50: 90-94.
Dana, James D. (1892): Manual of mineralogy and petrography. ed. 12. Wiley. New York.
Dana, James D. (1895): System of Mineralogy. ed. 5. pp. 155-7. Wiley. New York.
Cochrane, Hattie (1896): Rocks and minerals of Connecticut. In Connecticut Board of Education, Report, 1895/96: 512-24.
Williams, Horace S. (1899): Letter to Miss Eveline Brainerd of Haddam, February 18, 1899. Brainerd Public Library, Haddam, Connecticut.
Davis, James W. (1901): The Minerals of Haddam, Connecticut Mineral Collector: 8(4): 50-54, and 8(5): 65-70.
Goldschmidt, Victor. (1913): Atlas der Krystallformen. Text - Band II, pp. 158-9. Figures - Band II, Tafel 212. Heidelberg.
Sanford, Samuel and R. W. Stone (1914): Useful minerals of the United States. U. S. Geological Survey bulletin 585.
Foye, Wilbur G. (1922): Mineral localities in the vicinity of Middletown. American Mineralogist: 7: 4-12.
Schairer, John F. (1931): Minerals of Connecticut. Connecticut Geological and Natural History Survey, Bulletin 51.
Palache, Charles, et al. (1944): Dana's System of mineralogy. ed. 7. Wiley. New York.
Williams, Horace S. (circa 1945): Article for New York Society of Mineralogists. Brainerd Public Library, Haddam, Connecticut.
Heinrich, E. Wm. (1950): Cordierite in pegmatite near Micanite, Colorado. American Mineralogist: 35: 173-184.
Schooner, Richard. (1958): The Mineralogy of the Portland-East Hampton-Middletown-Haddam Area in Connecticut (With a few notes on Glastonbury and Marlborough). Published by Richard Schooner; Ralph Lieser of Pappy’s Beryl Shop, East Hampton; and Howard Pate of Fluorescent House, Branford, Connecticut.
Schooner, Richard. (1961): The Mineralogy of Connecticut. Fluorescent House, Branford, Connecticut.
Januzzi, Ronald E. (1994), Mineral Data Book - Western Connecticut and Environs. The Mineralogical Press, Danbury, Connecticut.
Weber, Marcelle H. and Earle C. Sullivan. (1995): Connecticut Mineral Locality Index. Rocks & Minerals (Connecticut Issue): 70(6): 403.

External Links 19th Century American Journal of Science search page -- 1811 Haddam Chrysoberyl ("ALUMINA chrysoberyllus," "Chrysoberill") illustrations

Other Regions, Features and Areas containg this locality

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