Don Dallaire

"Heritage Award Winners: Mary & Dudy Groves and Their Impact on Maine Minerals"

"Topaz in New Hampshire's White Mountains"

Don Dallaire was born in Manchester, NH in 1946 and attended St. Anselm College and the University of New Hampshire earning an MBA degree in 1970. He spent 37 years in the banking industry, retiring in 2007. He sits as a trusted adviser on the board of NEMA, serves us as a dedicated volunteer throughout the Conference, and is regularly seen at the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum where he is also on the Board of Directors.

In 1971 when his administrative assistant came back from a vacation with her husband she talked about the mines they visited. That peaked Don's interest. He went on a collecting trip with her husband and mineral collecting became a passion.

Don will be talking on Topaz in New Hampshire from the first find in 1888 to recent finds. He will discuss the numerous topaz localities in New Hampshire's White Mountains and the extraordinary specimens found through the years. He will also feature some of the notable collectors that prospected for and discovered topaz.

Frank Perham

"Musings of a Maine Mining Legend"

Anyone who is interested in mining pegmatites in Maine will, at some point early on, be instructed to seek out Frank Perham. Of himself, he says "I'm an undergraduate geologist by training, a miner by avocation and a garage owner by necessity, right in that order." Here is a piece from the biography (Frank C. Perham: Adventures in Maine Pegmatite Mining by Karen L. Webber and Raymond A. Sprague) that lets you peak into a window as to who Frank is: "Frank was born into a mineral family on March 5, 1934. His grandfather, A. C. Perham, started the A. C. Perham Feldspar Quarry and helped establish the West Paris feldspar mill. His father, Stanley Perham, started what would eventually become Perham's Maine Mineral Store in 1919. [Also noted is that his father -in-law was Nestor Tamminen]. Frank cut his teeth on minerals and has always had an interest in pegmatites, particularly lithia-rich pegmatites with tourmaline."

After college at Bates College majoring in Geology with a mid-college stint in the US Army during the Korean War, Frank returned with his wife Mary to West Paris and went to work at his father's store. He made an arrangement with his father to mine the Harvard Quarry for the summer in 1961, and so it began....

His name is synonymous with the Waisanen Mine, the Harvard Quarry, Mt. Mica, and the Dunton Gem Mine. Still actively mining, Frank has recently opened his longest pocket yet. Found at Hayes Ledge, and named the Mother Mary Pocket after his lovely and supportive wife, he has unearthed many beautiful quartz specimens from his mining. Look for Frank's display case in the Exhibit Room highlighting some of this current find.

Jeff Swanger

"Recent mining of the pegmatites in the Pala District, California"

Jeff Swanger of Pala, California is CEO of Oceanview Mines, LLC and owner of the Oceanview, Pala Chief and Elizabeth R mines on Chief Mountain. Jeff has had an interest in pegmatites and mining since he was a boy growing up in nearby Escondido, CA. That interest developed into a passion, from mining in spare time in his teens, to now living his dream of discovering the next great gem pocket in the Pala Mining District.

Jeff's education has been on the job, both in his professional life and in his mining passion. After completing his schooling in Escondido, Jeff took a job in the family real estate development business. There he developed valuable skills in managing complex projects and teams of people. His mining education came from working with many of the "old hands" of the Pala Mining District, who taught Jeff the art and science of mining the pegmatites.

As the 1990's came to an end, Jeff wanted to move away from prospecting and working claims that belonged to others and looked to acquire his own mining claim on a promising pegmatite vein. In 1999, he approached miner Roland Reed, owner of the Elizabeth R Mine and unpatented Elizabeth R claim and reached an agreement to acquire the Oceanview Mine in 2000.

He and his team labored for several years with only minor finds as they worked their way deep into the rich zone of the Oceanview pegmatite until their hard work was rewarded with the fabulous strike of the famed 49'er Pocket, discovered on Jeff's 49th birthday in 2007. Jeff now owns all of the significant mines on Chief Mountain, and once again the mountain is alive with mining activity, for the first time in nearly a century. Jeff has made a mark on the rich mining history of the Pala Mining District, and looks to extend that with the next big strike.

Kevin Czaja

"The Fluorapatites of New England in the Harvard University Collection"

Kevin Czaja is the Assistant Curator at the Mineralogical & Geological Museum at Harvard where he has worked for over 20 years. He has been passionately interested in minerals since he first happened upon prehnite in the "trap rock" basalt road-fill he found near where he grew up in Rockfall, Middlesex County, Connecticut.

His particular strengths include mineral species identification and northeastern U.S. regional mineralogy. However, having grown up a stone's throw from Middletown pegmatite field with such outstandingly complex deposits as the Strickland Quarry in Portland, and Gillette Quarry in Haddam Neck, his particular passion has long been the study of granite pegmatite mineralogy (and particularly phosphate mineralogy in pegmatites).

He is presently working on a paper assessing and updating our present knowledge about the significant Manganese dominant phosphate producing granite pegmatites in New England.

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