Crystal Treasure Trove
Copyright © 2015 - Bill Kaunitz
Picture # 180
Here is a closer look at the lens on the far right side of the camera. It is a special macro lens, which features the ability of swinging and tilting the axis of the lens to allow me to correct lines of perspective in my pictures. The square end of the lens has controls for moving the glass elements up and down, side to side, and on an angle. This way I can make tiny crystals look like giant buildings in my photos.
On the far right side of this amazing “perspective control” lens, there is a set of threaded magnification filters called “diopter lenses.” The diopter filters allow me to get closer and closer to the crystals through amplified magnification. The last filter added is a polarizer lens that reduces reflections from shiny surfaces on the crystals. Using this high-resolution equipment, I can print photos up to eight feet tall.
In Volume 4, you will meet BlueStar, the amazing 138-pound clear crystal ball. I will show you some extremely magnified images of its internal rainbows. By using this camera equipment with a second bellows extension, I was able to stretch the length of the lens out to 36 inches. The apparatus was so heavy and long that I used two separate tripods for support. (One for the camera and one for the lens.)
With all this special equipment, I can focus my camera anywhere inside of a 13.5-inch wide crystal ball. I can zoom in on the tiniest areas, down to 1 millimeter. Each of the 100 rainbows inside of BlueStar yielded dozens of exquisite fractal images.
Picture # 181
I left Arkansas in 1989 and came back to California just in time for the huge Loma Prieta earthquake. Then, through the kindness of my former-girlfriend from law school, I was introduced to my future wife Nancy in August 1989. We were married soon after and lived in her beautiful home in Mill Valley, California. With the permission of my darling wife and our other roommate, her mother Rhoda, I built my second crystal museum in the backyard. You can see part of the new crystal room on the left side of the photo with two giant crystals planted in front of it. We also ended up building the two-story addition in the middle of the photo with a huge sunroom on the first floor and my crystal theater on the upper level.
Having my own space to display and arrange my crystal collection has always been like a dream come true. Since I collect so many stones, I never have a chance to display all of them at the same time. There are always thousands of crystals in boxes, where I can go to explore the history of my collection. Many of these little stones are set aside for photography or video work. That way, they end up being seen by all the people who look at my website, books and movies. Almost 500 crystals have been filmed in motion so far. You can see them on my DVDs. Please take a look at my website to preview my books and movies.
Picture # 182
December 28, 2010. This is a photo of the crystal room on our last day in Mill Valley. Everything has been moved out except for one last thousand-pound crystal. On the right side of the picture, you can see the marks where we dragged out a 1700-pound geode across the polished concrete floor. A little later in this book, you will see how all the big crystals were safely moved. I like to photograph empty rooms before and after I move so I can get a sense of spaciousness.
Picture # 183
One wall of the Mill Valley museum, with a 20-foot-long table supporting tons of giant crystals.
Picture # 184
There were so many crystals in Mill Valley that I kept a lot of them outdoors. We even had six giant pink and red boulders out on the street in front of our house. The smallest boulder weighed 2,150 pounds and the biggest one was 3,760 pounds !
Picture # 185
When I had new friends show up at the house and museum, the first things they would see were my giant rose quartz boulders. Each of these stones was about four feet wide. I always got a kick out of comments from visitors who asked if I was worried about having the giant boulders stolen. There was no way to move them without forklifts or cranes! It was easy to find our house because you could navigate by the colorful rocks, our ancient landmarks.
Picture # 186
Here I am with an 800-pound Arkansas quartz cluster that was loaned to me in 1997. I got my start in the crystal business through the kindness of Arkansas crystal miners who originally gave me TONS of crystals to sell. They generously allowed me to pay for the crystals after they were sold.
This crystal came in with 8000 pounds of quartz from Arkansas. For a few weeks, our 70-foot long driveway was filled with huge wooden boxes containing unknown treasures. I invited all my friends over to help open up the boxes and unpack the crystals. Most of them would not allow me to pay them for their work. They wanted crystals in trade! That worked out great for everyone.
To date I have sold over one million little crystals and countless large ones. I do not actually remember all the tiny ones but I have great photographs and even better memories of all my significant mineral friends. Since I cannot keep them all, I mentally internalize the crystal shapes so that I can access their beauty and energy at a distance, wherever the physical crystal might be on the planet.
Picture # 187
In this picture, you can see my four-foot tall granite obelisk, modeled after the giant obelisks of Egypt. Nancy and I also installed beautiful flagstone paths all around the house and museum. We cultivated many flowers, bushes and trees to enhance the beauty of the property and the crystals. We used a variety of colorful flat stones to create terraces, steps and paths. We even installed two huge pieces of Arizona sandstone that are each eight feet wide. These were the steps to the front door of our new building addition.
My talented wife is the person who designed the buildings and gardens as well as handcrafting all the fences and elaborate doors on the property. When I met Nancy, I found out that she was not only accomplished in the art of carpentry, but also electrical and plumbing repair. Her skills with arts and crafts are reflections of her years in art school at UCLA. She works with set design, painting, sculpture, knitting and drawing.
Picture # 188
Here I am working in my museum. What does a curator do? Well in short, everything. I find the crystals, buy the crystals or finance the crystals. I have learned how to thoroughly clean minerals and stones. My background in chemistry has come in handy so that I do not damage the gems during the cleaning process. I keep accurate inventories of my stones, photograph the crystals, videotape the crystals, move them from museum to museum and then find the right people to give good homes to the stones. Then I sweep up the floors and the crystal dust particles.
I have a tax-deductible public benefit corporation in the State of California. If you are moved to support my efforts at educating people about the beauty of minerals, gems and crystals you can receive a tax deduction for the full value of any donation of money, goods or other property. Please contact me through my websites:
Picture # 189
This is moving-in day at my third crystal display in Salinas, California. When we moved to Monterey County, I found a 1300-square foot warehouse to hold my collection. I jokingly refer to it as my “museum” but it was a fairly challenging place to work and display the beautiful stones. The industrial neighborhood smelled terrible, had lots of dust and pests, was noisy and isolated. Only a few people ever saw my collection in this drab warehouse. And yet the beauty of the crystals is so compelling that no one ever complained about the environmental inconveniences.
I actually felt very lucky to find my warehouse space so near to my home. The price was right and the people at the storage facility were wonderful.
Nancy and I lived for two years in a small apartment on the second and third floors of a building in Salinas. This was not an ideal situation for moving and storing giant stones. It isn't easy to get situated in a new place when you are lugging around 33,000 pounds of furniture and crystal boulders.
To purchase Book 2 in the "Crystal Collecting with Crystal Bill" series Crystal Love Story, go to www.ElegantCrystals.com