Crystal Treasure Trove
Copyright © 2015 - Bill Kaunitz
Picture # 70
I love hanging out with Danny and his crystals. Not too many people specialize in carrying around huge rocks and sculptures. The man travels 50,000 miles a year in his pursuit of crystal excellence.
Picture # 71
Brazil produces some of the largest, finest, and most colorful crystals in the world. Here is a 3-foot tall quartz crystal with thousands of black tourmaline crystals inside. Bob had this beautiful point about 20 years ago. The rose in the foreground is enormous, but is dwarfed by this 250-pound polished generator crystal. You can see how clear the tip of the crystal is by looking through it, and noting the purple shirt behind the stone.
Two of the facets on this crystal are so shiny that they act like mirrors. The rest of the stone is included with water bubbles, mist, black tourmaline crystals, and silvery fissures that refract rainbows. Bob is the man who provided me with my first collection of crystal castles. He also helped me find my very first phantom crystal, a green and orange quartz phantom from Brazil. There is a picture of the green phantom in the chapter on phantoms in Volume 4, Inside the Crystal.
Picture # 72
Here is my friend Stuart Gehrke with another special smoky castle from Bob. Recently this two-foot tall clear crystal went to a new home after it was set as a sculpture in a bronze base.
This spectacular Brazilian quartz rock crystal takes on the shape of a castle. It has a series of parallel points that look like towers on a building.
The picture shows an interesting optical illusion. The front of the crystal has three large, polished, perfectly clear windows. The back of the crystal has a series of a dozen parallel natural architectural towers. Because the front of the crystal is so clear, it looks like the back facets are transferred towards the front. In fact, all the detail you see appears THROUGH the clear depth of the crystal.
Polishing three adjacent facets next to three natural facets allows the crystal to internally magnify the beautiful striation patterns on the back of the stone. Some people say that crystals should never be polished! Other people say they should always be polished or turned into spheres or gemstones. I personally think that the crystals will tell you what they want, if you take the time to study them, talk to them, and listen to what they have to offer. It is easy enough to talk to the crystals, but what do they say in return? Can you hear them? Are you willing to listen? Perhaps the stones will respond in pictures, feelings, thoughts, concepts, words or colors. Every person has her own way of responding to intuition. The crystals are wonderful tools for promoting that innate ability.
Picture # 73
Carving and polishing quartz crystal is a really tough and complicated job. Quartz crystal, like the citrine dolphin pictured here, requires diamond dust tools to cut and polish. Quartz is as hard as granite. In fact, granite is composed of 60% microcrystalline quartz crystal. You have to use a cutting medium like diamond that is much harder than the quartz itself.
This foot-long citrine dolphin was carved out of a single Brazilian crystal belonging to my friend Damian. Damian brings us spectacular specimens, as well as carvings and phantom crystals from Brazil. In this picture, the dolphin is sitting on a piece of reflective Plexiglas that mirrors the highlights in the stone. In the next picture, you can see how I have added some colored light to give it a more aquatic feeling.
By adding flashes of colored light, it now looks like the dolphin is swimming through a sparkling crystal sea. I am very fond of the carved animals in crystal, citrine, and amethyst because this artwork seems to unite the animal kingdom with the best of the mineral kingdom.
Picture # 74
Too good to be true? No, this one looks just like the crystal. The previous picture came out a little pale and colorless. My job requires creating pictures that are neither too good nor too bad. If you have ever tried to photograph a crystal, then you know that the combination of transparency and reflectivity makes it a tough job. The art of crystal photography is all about mastering the reflections on adjacent facets so there is some visual contrast to define the shapes.
It is difficult to color match a picture of a crystal to the crystal itself. Whenever possible, I like to hold the crystal under a light near the computer where I am color-correcting the image in Photoshop. Then I can see how close the image is to reality. It is easy to exaggerate or saturate the colors in any picture. I try to avoid this, so you can get a better sense of what the crystal really looks like. Please be aware that crystals you buy from an ad on the Internet may look somewhat different in your hand.
Picture # 75
Over the years, I have seen several crystal shapes in natural quartz that reminded me of different animals. This quartz crystal from Messina, South Africa, looks like it has a curvy dragon shape with many faceted scales. The blue color comes from ajoite minerals inside the clear quartz. The golden hands are a sculpture that was cast from actual hands, and painted with antiqued gold colors. The hands can give you a sense of scale, so that you know the size of the quartz crystal.
I enjoy fantasizing about what the crystals are, and what they might be. I like to use the crystals as a starting point for imaginary journeys triggered by the shapes, colors and inclusions in the stone.
Ajoite is a rare mineral that is found as colorful copper inclusions in crystals from South Africa. There is only one location that produces the occasional pocket of clear crystals with blue ajoite inside. This copper compound is also found as coatings on boulders in Arizona. If you ever find a piece of it that you can afford to add to your collection, hold onto it because there are so few of them available.
Picture # 76
It does not take a stretch of the imagination to see this as alligator quartz. This carving from Brazil is a visual pun on the colloquial name for smoky rock crystals that are called alligator quartz. Alligator crystal is known as jacaré quartz in Brazil. The jacaré is a type of Caiman, a small species of alligator found all through the Amazon River. Since the smoky crystals have patterning on the surface that look like scales, many miners associate them with the Caimans in nearby rivers.
The clever carvers took a 15-inch long piece of alligator quartz and carved alligator legs. It already had a scaly tail and a crystal head that looked like an ancient gator. This is a great use for a broken piece of quartz that might have been discarded. Alligator quartz has also been called skeleton, or skeletal quartz because of clay layers trapped inside that look like the color of old bone. These clay layers are sometimes called inclusions, or phantoms.
The color often infiltrates the crystal long after formation of the stone. Clay and colorful chemicals like rust or manganese can seep into gaps in the quartz crystal, whether a crack is a millimeter or 1 millionth of an inch. Once inside the stone, this clay, sand and rust is permanently embedded in the crystal structure.
Because people in the spiritual arena, particularly in the USA, did not like the terms “alligator quartz or skeleton quartz,” an author coined a new word for this type of crystal in 1983. Katrina Raphael, author of the book Crystal Enlightenment, started the use of the word Elestial. She coined this fanciful and creative term from the root word “celestial,” meaning heavenly.
Elestial crystals have become very popular in recent years, due to their complex colors and multilayered patterns with intricate faceting. These are some of my favorite stones. I will show you a wide selection in the Elestial chapter of Volume 3. They are known as rapid-growth crystals, and are accomplished agents for internal change.
Picture # 77
When I imagine crystals as little people, I like to see them as dancers. Here's an amethyst dancer from Uruguay. She seems to be welcoming the sky as her arms extend to the heavens with her head tilted back. Technically, this would be called a stalactite. Typically, the tiny amethyst crystals grow on top of calcite stalactites. The calcite forms a tan or green core inside the amethyst. At the base of a stalactite, you can usually see this concentric circle of color. After all these years of collecting crystals, I finally have two amethyst dancers in my collection.
Looking at crystal shapes is much like cloud gazing. You can choose to see whatever you like, and you are never wrong. Sometimes it is tough to share this resemblance with other people! However, I am hoping you see the dancer here.
Picture # 78
Remember the ajoite dragon? In comparison, this one is much more explicit. This foot tall piece of extremely clear quartz from Brazil has been meticulously carved into an elegant dragon figure. The clear crystal is lit up by rainbow light from a holographic mirror. Tiny treasures of gems and fine crystals grace the ground under the Dragon.
This type of large complicated carving in quartz is a major undertaking that might require hundreds of hours of grinding and polishing. There is a multi-thousand year tradition of carving crystals in many parts of the world. Our ancestors had foot-powered tools for cutting, grinding and polishing quartz. More than a thousand years ago in China, artisans were producing sophisticated carvings and sculptures for the Emperor using giant ice-clear quartz crystals. Many of these masterpieces are now in art museums throughout the world, including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The perfection of this ancient work can be duplicated today, but seldom surpassed.
To purchase Book 2 in the "Crystal Collecting with Crystal Bill" series Crystal Love Story, go to www.ElegantCrystals.com