Crystal Treasure Trove
Copyright © 2015 - Bill Kaunitz
Digging and Cleaning Quartz at the Crystal Mines
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Where does your beautiful crystal come from? It could be from any area or nation on earth. The term “crystal” covers a lot of territory. Most people use it to refer to quartz crystal or rock quartz crystal. However, any clear faceted natural stone could be called a crystal. There are also manufactured crystals, which we will see later.
Once a crystal is cut into a newly designed and faceted stone, it is called a “gem” or a “gemstone.” When a gemstone is set in gold or other materials for wearing, it is called jewelry. People have been wearing jewelry ever since they found the first glittering treasure on the ground. The historical production of gems and jewelry required enormous amounts of work and investment over thousands of years. Yet every gemstone starts out as a natural rock, under the earth, in the ground.
Typically, this means that gemstone crystals are found in mud or clay. Some are discovered embedded in solid rock like granite. It is much easier to harvest crystals from clay. This clay is usually soft when wet, unlike solid granite, dolomite or other hard rock.
This picture above shows a typical area where quartz crystals in Arkansas have weathered and eroded out of the ground. When you are walking through the woods, you can sometimes see this kind of white rock lying all over the ground. This would be a great place to dig for clear crystals.
You never know how many crystals are right under your feet until you start digging. Or there could be none at all. However, this profusion of white chunks tells you there is a large vein of pure quartz nearby.
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Every quartz mine has literally tons of broken white rocks left behind. Most of the crystals are shapeless quartz chunks. This is also known as “rough quartz or massive quartz”. This dense white crystal surrounds pockets of clear faceted quartz if you are lucky. A vein of white quartz may have little caves inside of it containing perfect crystals. In order to get to the clear collectible quartz, the miner has to break up tons of white rock with a pickax, chisel and sledge hammer. You cannot use any explosives to mine quartz, because dynamite shatters everything.
Ideally, crystal mining would be addressed with archaeological skill. In reality, the work has to go much faster to be commercially productive. Because of this, a large percentage of crystals get chipped while being mined. When you get a perfect, flawless crystal, please treasure it, protect it, and keep it in pristine condition. That means not hitting it against hard objects like floors, jewelry or other rocks.
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This is Pappy Gossage at age 72, exploring one of his crystal digs. Please note the thousands of pieces of white rock, all of which are pure quartz. Over the years, they have been bleached by the sun and washed by the rain. The pit is over 10 feet deep, and was excavated entirely by hand. The stick structure is used during the summer with a tarp for protection from the sun.
Arkansas summers get blistering hot and very humid, so plan accordingly if you want to visit a mine. When a new crystal mine like this is opened, the miner can expect to find over 99% junk rock and 1% crystal. This is the most physical of jobs. Pappy was able to effectively swing a pickax up to the age of 80. He was amazing! Pappy could instantly find the weak point in a rock or boulder just by looking at it. Then he could smack it six times with a pickax before I could even lift my arms. He and his brothers moved MILLIONS of pounds of rocks in their lifetime. They dug over 50 tons of rock crystal from one hole at Lake Winona over a 20 year period. These guys started digging crystals during the Great Depression and did not quit for the next 60 years. My heroes!
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When you first discover crystals in the ground, this is what they look like. You might only see one tiny white point sticking out of the red mud. It is not really mud. It is crystal clay. The clay forms in the crystal pockets after the large crystals have completed their growth. At first, the clay is completely white, and is made out of pure silicon dioxide, known as silica. This is the main component of quartz crystal. Quartz crystal could be seen as an “ore” of silica. Most of the sand on the world's white beaches is made out of pulverized quartz crystals. The Mississippi Delta contains millions of tons of ground-up crystals from Arkansas that eroded over hundreds of millions of years.
Crystal clay that starts out as white or light tan turns to a dark red-orange color when dissolved rust from groundwater penetrates the clay. Now the clay contains silica and iron oxide, commonly known as rust. Clay is a very basic compound that has powerful and sometimes dramatic effects on the health of people who use it. Clay packs are a traditional medicine for treating wounds, inflammation, cuts and burns. Native people also use clay internally for treating stomach and intestinal issues. There are several wonderful books available about the healing power of clay. Please check out the book called Living Clay, as well as the Pascalite company publication called More Precious than Gold.
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When you buy a crystal in a store, it is hard to imagine it emerging from the ground as a lump of mud and rust. Someone spent a lot of time cleaning and scraping the mud off your beautiful crystal. Once the crystals are lifted out of the wet clay in the ground, miners leave them out in the sun for a number of days or weeks until the clay is completely dry. As the clay dries, it shrinks and cracks. When you spray the crystal or cluster with a stream of water from a hose, the cracked clay lifts right off the stone and falls to the ground.
Even if 90% of the clay sprays off with a hose, there will still be a lot of sticky stuff down inside the crevices of the crystal. Use a safety pin or a sharp tool like an awl if you are cleaning up your own stones. Be patient and try not to scratch the surfaces of the crystal. You can also soak the crystals in wood bleach or Iron Out, effective products for taking metal and iron off stones.
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In this picture, the crystals are resting on tables made out of chicken wire and expanded steel. The clay chunks and water can fall to the ground. We alternate the scraping procedure with a spray of water to help dislodge clay. Be patient when cleaning your own stones. Try not to damage the little crystals in between the big ones.
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There is a vast, ancient river of crystals that flows through our planet, our star system and our lives. Crystallized cosmic dust floats through space and time. It forms into stars, planets, rocks, buildings, oceans, animals, roses and you. Crystal minerals and crystallized proteins spin and grow in the far reaches of the galaxies, in the oceans of the earth, and in DNA: our genetic material- a tapestry of the Universal body made into rock and flesh. The elemental crystal particles are held together by the infinite power of the rainbow energies of creation. This chapter will follow the eternal flow of quartz crystals as they rise from the ancient caves of the earth to our homes and our collections.
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The universal ocean of space contains gigantic flows of swirling energy and crystal particles that form, over eons, into heavenly bodies. These cosmic rivers of particles and rays are mirrored in the flow of elements, energy and water inside our planet, in the oceans and in our bodies. As earth energy melts rocks and purifies them, crystals are formed- millions of crystals, billions of crystals, uncounted crystals grow from the rocks of the Earth. These appear as massive crystals, micro-crystals, hidden crystals, liquid crystals, solid crystals- and above all quartz crystals.
Quartz crystal, in its many forms, holds all the rocks of the earth together. Underneath the crystalline rocks in the crust of the earth, great seas of magma (melted crystals) pulse with mineral energy. Deeper yet, an enormous solid iron crystal sphere forms the center of our planet. Earth's crystal heart rings with the power of huge magnetic pulses flowing to crystal veins and arteries in the planetary crust.
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“As above, so below.” All the elements of the earth exist within our own bodies. All the energies of the planet are reflected in us. These flows of electricity and magnetism bring life to the planets, to you, and to your pets- the animals, plants and precious stones that bring you so much pleasure. In an energetic universe, everything is alive! Can we communicate better with these life forms through the inherent power of the quartz crystal? Yes...
Scientific research in the past 100 years has shown how electronic crystal components can expand our planetary and social awareness by allowing faster communications. There might be NO communications network, NO information superhighway, without the crystal knowledge and crystalline materials discovered in recent times.
Can we also accelerate our communications with our spiritual selves, our souls, and the Universal Being, by using naturally tuned quartz crystals? Many people think so.
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Powerful techniques from the dawn of history are now emerging for using perfectly tuned quartz crystals for hundreds of purposes, including personal growth. The crystals speak for themselves- through visual images and through energy sensations. The crystals can help to empower you to hear and understand the lovely languages of light and density, of energy and matter, of rainbows and rocks.
To purchase Book 2 in the "Crystal Collecting with Crystal Bill" series Crystal Love Story, go to www.ElegantCrystals.com