Crystal Treasure Trove
Copyright © 2015 - Bill Kaunitz
Chapter 7 Four Crystal Museums
Picture # 173
I arrived in Dallas, Texas with half a ton of crystals in 1980. I acquired them at a magical crystal cabin in the canyons above Los Angeles. I wanted to figure out how to make money off my new passion of crystal collecting. I soon discovered that the quartz crystal mines of Arkansas were only five hours from Dallas by car. I ended up making several journeys to the crystal mines around Hot Springs National Park, a small town with a crystalline heart.
The main attraction was the geological home of hundreds of crystal mines and millions of crystals. I bought a rustic house in 1983 near the little town of Royal, Arkansas, about 10 miles west of Hot Springs. This five-acre property had a home with a 1000 square foot living room, a three-room underground building, a little pond and beautiful hills and trees.
Once I was established there, I set up my crystal sales business with this great billboard announcing my location on Highway 270. The crystal that I painted on this 8' x 8' sign was the same one featured on the cover of Katrina Raphael's book, Crystal Enlightenment. This was the first book on the spirituality of crystals that had an actual photograph instead of a sketch of a crystal on the cover. This little one-and-a-half inch tall crystal has been seen and enjoyed by millions of people around the globe. I like to think that I am connected to everyone who has admired this crystal.
Picture # 174
Here is a photograph of the completed museum displays at my place in Royal, Arkansas. I was fortunate to connect with the owner of an old building, who sold me 17 perfect white oak showcases for $50 each. I ended up stripping and refinishing them over one long summer in hot, humid Arkansas.
My showroom turned out to be my first crystal museum. Having my own museum was something that I never dreamed of as a kid. I don't think anybody ever expects to grow up to be a museum curator. I can see the signs of my dedicated (somewhat obsessive) collecting even in my childhood. As far back as third grade, I used to collect miniature soldiers and tiny buildings to create front yard battlefields. In subsequent years, I switched my juvenile militaristic tendencies to collecting postage stamps from around the world. Let's talk dedication here! I ended up with over 100,000 stamps. They were issued from every country on Earth over the previous 100 years. Then I began collecting foreign coins. I also loved assembling erector sets as a kid and actually kept some of the parts of these primitive toy systems for the next 40 years. I suppose that if Legos® had been around when I was a child, I would have collected and enjoyed those as well. At least I had a chance to play with them with my son back in the 1990s.
I also collected slot cars and built elaborate racetracks for my custom-machined miniature vehicles over the course of some 30 years. Yet all these toys paled in comparison with my final collector's dedication to the crystal kingdom. Over the years, I amassed as many as 150,000 crystals at one time on my property in Arkansas. Yet this was one of the smaller crystal businesses in the area. Miners in the region might have one or two MILLION crystals lying around on acres and acres of their property.
Picture # 175
My Arkansas showroom and museum also functioned as a movie theater for my innovative Crystal Vision light shows. Here you can see the main movie screen for my slides and videos, which also had hundreds of spiraling peripheral images. Can you imagine being inside of a spinning kaleidoscope?
This huge room in Arkansas also served me well as a photography studio. I was able to borrow magnificent crystals and gems from my friends, the local miners and dealers. Since my days in Los Angeles and Royal, Arkansas, I have photographed some 5,000 crystals. I then selected the best of them for this book series. Not all the photographs are taken from quartz crystals but certainly that is my main focus.
Picture # 176
Thank you Walter and Helen. You created a perfect place for me in Arkansas to discover the depths of my crystal passion. This sturdy oak home became a meeting place for crystal lovers during the years 1983 to 1989. So many people showed up to camp out with the crystals and me! I felt like I was running a KOA® campground. By 1987, I had so many crystal friends from Dallas, Houston and Austin, Texas that I hosted some 300 visitors that year. It worked out well since my visitors had access to all kinds of recreational outdoor activities as well as an enormous selection of crystals to purchase for their collections.
I helped direct many people in their study of crystals. In return, they assisted me with cleaning and photographing the crystals, as well as making the house and property look beautiful. During this time, I traveled extensively through the South and West of the USA where I taught workshops on crystal healing and meditation. I would like to once again acknowledge my teacher DaEl Walker for my introduction to using crystals for meditation and natural healing.
Picture # 177
Arkansas provided me with a serene place to work and study as I explored my new fascination with the mineral kingdom. Here is a picture of the pond on my home property where you can see a family of neighborhood goats enjoying the greenery and the water. Royal, Arkansas was so under-populated that I sometimes went for days without seeing any human beings.
The local wildlife and farm animals became welcome visitors. I would arise each morning and walk outside my front door to gaze over this pond in my little kingdom. On many days, I would be startled by a noise behind me when I thought I was alone. As I turned around, I would find myself eye-to-eye with Goofy the Goat, who liked to sit on top of an oak barrel next to my front door. We were always really nice to each other even though we would startle one another daily.
Picture # 178
Springtime in Arkansas. This is the time when the land turns lush and the bugs turn hungry. When you visit the Lake Ouachita crystal region, be sure to bring some bug repellant. This hot and humid area is well known for harboring mosquitoes, ticks and chiggers. People who hike in the woods need to protect themselves with DEET or Neem oil. The Neem oil works great but smells terrible. The DEET is powerful but can be harmful to your health if applied wrong. Another great bug repellant is called "lemon-eucalyptus" oil from the Australian lemon-eucalyptus tree.
Always check your clothing and skin for ticks when you are done with your forest journey. Try to avoid brushing against bushes so that baby ticks do not swarm your legs. This area of the country is so beautiful despite the hardship of ravenous bugs.
Picture # 179
In Arkansas, I perfected my photographic specialty techniques. I love my Nikon camera system! This amazing machine allows me to examine my crystals, gems and minerals in exquisite detail. This picture shows you the full macro-photographic set-up that I use to capture the tiny details on the surfaces and interiors of crystals.
Some of you may be unfamiliar with photographic equipment. This image shows you what is necessary to take pictures of one- or two-millimeter wide objects. The camera body is on the left of the picture and is actually much smaller than the lens apparatus. In between the camera and the lens, an extendable bellows is flexible enough to bend and take pictures around corners. The fabric of the bellows sits on a set of shiny metal rails, which allow me to adjust magnification in the pictures. You could think of the bellows as a substitute for a zoom lens. Everything sits on an extremely sturdy tripod. In between the bellows and the tripod, two sets of positioning rails allow me to move the camera in 1/100-inch increments.
To purchase Book 2 in the "Crystal Collecting with Crystal Bill" series Crystal Love Story, go to www.ElegantCrystals.com