QUARTZ CRYSTAL WORKSHOP April 13-16, 2018 Fayetteville, AR

Here’s a two month heads-up so you can start planning your trip to Arkansas!

Join me in Fayetteville, Arkansas at the Ozark Research Institute’s Dowsing & Alternative Healing Convention this April. There will be speakers all weekend and a vendor’s area with all sorts of awesome offerings. I’ll be doing crystal readings and will have crystals and books available. What am I covering in my workshop?

SELF-HEALED Crystal Mandalas: Anatomy and Physiology of Quartz Crystals by Genn John

SELF-HEALED Crystal Mandalas: Anatomy and Physiology of Quartz Crystals by Genn John

“Metaphysical Properties of Quartz Crystal, Simplified!”

Have you ever wondered about the many different types of quartz crystal configurations and found yourself at a loss on how to know where to start? There seems to be so much information to figure out and to remember, it can be overwhelming.

The metaphysical configurations to which I am referring are names such as Record Keepers, Barnacles, Inner Child, Fairy Frost, Key, Growth Interference, Grounding, Isis Face, etc.

There are over forty different commonly found configurations of clear quartz crystal. There are even more if you add in the less-commonly found. Most books or websites list ten or more characteristics for each configuration. And to add to the confusion, nearly all crystals will have several of these different configurations in a single point.

For example, I have a (simple and not unusual) crystal here by my computer that is a Double Terminated, Tabular crystal with Record Keepers, Imprints, Barnacles, Self Healing and Lineation. This is a fairly straightforward crystal and it has seven configurations! Complex crystals would exhibit many more than seven.

If you looked each configuration up in a typical crystal book (or online), you would likely find up to ten different qualities for each of those configurations. Simple math reveals that is up to seventy different possibilities for this fairly simple crystal. What!?

If you are confused (or overwhelmed) when you are presented with this information, you’re not alone. Believe me, I was confused in the beginning, too. I wondered if I would ever get it!

RAINBOW Crystal Mandalas: Anatomy and Physiology of Quartz Crystals by Genn John

RAINBOW Crystal Mandalas: Anatomy and Physiology of Quartz Crystals by Genn John

The good news is that there is an easy way to figure out and remember which crystal configuration helps with what. Lucky for you, I have spent the last 20-plus years condensing this mass of information down into easily assimilated, bite-sized pieces!

Join me in a workshop I will be presenting this April (13-16, 2018) at the Ozark Research Institute’s Dowsing & Alternative Healing Convention in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

In this hour and a half talk I will present the most popular configurations of clear quartz crystal (we will discuss over forty configurations, as time allows) and I will demonstrate easy ways to remember their unique properties. Working with crystal shouldn’t be confusing, overwhelming or complicated.

Here’s a link to sign up and read about the other presenters and to register for the weekend: http://www.ozarkresearch.org/Site/convention.html

Register before February 28th for Early Bird Discounts.  I hope to see you in April!

YIN/YANG QUARTZ CRYSTALS – Physically, What Makes a Crystal Yin/Yang ?

CRYSTAL MANDALAS: Anatomy and Physiology of Quartz Crystal by Genn John- Yin/Yang

CRYSTAL MANDALAS: Anatomy and Physiology of Quartz Crystal by Genn John- Yin/Yang

The last couple of posts, we have been reviewing Feminine and Masculine crystals. Before we finish the three part series by talking about Yin/Yang (part Masculine, part Feminine) crystals, first a note:

As always, whenever I mention Masculine or Feminine in regard to crystals, people tend to flip their lids! This time was no exception. It would seem that in our societal complex right now, anything to do with “gender” is triggering knee-jerk reactions in people. If you find the use of these terms in relation to quartz crystal offensive, please take a deep breath and allow me to explain.

“Masculine” and “Feminine” are two of nearly FIFTY descriptions of types of quartz crystals. I am simply describing a type (Masculine equals clear, Feminine equals cloudy). These are not terms I made up or assigned to crystals, I am simply explaining names which have been assigned to types of quartz crystals and have been around at least the twenty years I have been doing this.

If you aren’t of the school that believes that crystals are sentient beings (they are) then simply suffice it to say that when someone describes a crystal as physically “Masculine” they are referring to a CLEAR crystal. If they describe it as physically “Feminine” they are referring to a CLOUDY or MILKY crystal. It also bears mentioning that I am talking ONLY about quartz crystals here. Not other types of crystals and gemstones.

So, if you are reading this, and your eye starts to twitch because you think I am assigning gender roles to crystals, I am not…

Physically, we’re talking about clear versus cloudy. That’s it. Energetically, Masculine versus Feminine is another story entirely. It has less to do with how they present physically and more to do with what type of energy with which they present. OK? OK! Moving on!

This blog post will be pretty short and sweet since we have covered both Feminine and Masculine crystals previously. Remember, just as with humans, simply because a crystal presents as Yin/Yang, Feminine or Masculine in appearance “anatomically”, it absolutely DOES NOT mean that it will also be “energetically” Yin/Yang, Feminine or Masculine. This is an important point. Just as with humans, many crystals masculine in appearance (clear) have feminine energy and many crystals feminine in appearance (cloudy) have masculine energy. Still with me?


Some crystals are an equal mix of both Feminine and Masculine, these crystals are called Yin/Yang. Lots of crystals are dense at the base but are more Masculine than Feminine, so these aren’t normally called Yin/Yang. There are also crystals which would be described as a mix of Masculine and Feminine top to bottom (meaning an even distribution of clarity and milkiness throughout. This type isn’t normally called Yin/Yang either. I typically call a crystal Yin/Yang if it is as close to 50/50 as possible (top half masculine/bottom half feminine), or sometimes 40/60 either way as long as there is a really strong area of demarcation where the masculine and feminine meet.

Here is a picture with some examples of Yin/Yang crystals. Notice how clear they are at the top and how milky they are at the bottom and that there is an obvious area where the two meet:

YIN-YANG crystals

So, it’s pretty basic. Yin/Yang crystals are half and half Feminine/Masculine. Not so hard! Basically that’s it for the anatomy lesson!


Feminine = cloudy or milky

Masculine = clear

Yin/Yang = half cloudy and half clear.


Energetically speaking, we’re talking about if a crystal presents with an energy which would be described as Feminine, Masculine or Yin/Yang:

Feminine crystals might help us (both men and women) to get in touch with our feminine nature. They have a soft, yet deep, mysterious energy. Yin in nature, Feminine crystals are intuitive, nurturing and receptive. The energy is more diffuse. If the energy were compared to a light, it would be described as glowing (coming from all directions evenly).

Masculine crystals are helpful when you need to get to the point; they have a sharp and direct energy. Yang in nature, Masculine crystals are more action-oriented and the energy projects rather than recedes. The energy of Masculine crystals is more focused and linear. If its energy were described as a light, it would tend to be a high power flashlight or even a laser pointer (directed out the end in a focused beam).

Knowing that Yin/Yang crystals have an equal measure of masculine to feminine contained in them, they are good for attaining and maintaining balance.


In this set of three blog posts on “anatomy”, we learned that:

  • Feminine crystals are called “cloudy” or “milky”.
  • Masculine crystals are called “clear” or sometimes “water clear”.
  • Yin/Yang crystals are half feminine and half masculine with an obvious area where the two meet.
  • Just because a crystal presents as feminine or masculine doesn’t guarantee that its energy will match its anatomy.
  • Energetically feminine crystals help to connect us with our feminine nature and are have soft mysterious energy and are intuitive, nurturing and receptive.
  • Energetically masculine crystals help you get to the point. Their energy is sharp and direct and they are more action-oriented with projecting energy.
  • Yin/Yang crystals help us to maintain a balance of masculine to feminine traits/energies.

I hope you have enjoyed this discussion about the anatomy of Feminine, Masculine and Yin/Yang quartz crystals.

MASCULINE QUARTZ CRYSTALS – Physically, What Makes a Crystal Masculine ?

CRYSTAL MANDALAS: Anatomy and Physiology of Quartz Crystal by Genn John- Masculine

CRYSTAL MANDALAS: Anatomy and Physiology of Quartz Crystal by Genn John- Masculine

Last blog post we discussed Feminine quartz crystals, today we’re going to revisit Masculine quartz crystals. As with our discussion of Feminine crystals, we’re talking about what a “Masculine” quartz crystal looks like. In this first part, we’re discussing whether a crystal is called Masculine by features only, not by energy.

In the past I have called this an “anatomy lesson” because basically we’ll be discussing whether a crystal presents physically what has been described as Masculine. (In the next post we’ll revisit Yin/Yang quartz crystals.)

I have described whether a crystal is described as Masculine (e.g. has “man parts”), is described physically as Feminine (e.g. has “lady parts”) or presents physically as Yin/Yang (e.g. as a mix of both). Because it is pretty short and sweet to describe the LOOK of a Masculine crystal, I will also cover the energetic possibilities at the bottom of the post. Remember, just as with humans, simply because a crystal presents a certain way (masculine or feminine) in appearance “anatomically”, it absolutely DOES NOT mean that it will also absolutely be energetically feminine or masculine. This is an important point. Just as with humans, many crystals masculine in appearance have feminine energy and many crystals feminine in appearance have masculine energy.

We’ll start with the physical description of MASCULINE crystals:


Very clear points are described as Masculine. They may be optically clear, or they may have some Fairy Frost (the wispy inclusions inside a crystal). The base of a Masculine crystal may be dense with frost, however if more of the point is clear than cloudy, it is described as Masculine. But as I mentioned above, remember not to have preconceived notions, energetically speaking. Just because a point is Masculine by description doesn’t automatically mean it can only present masculine energy (the same is also true for crystals described as Feminine).

Very clear crystals are often described as “water clear”. Here is a picture with some examples of Masculine crystals which would be described as water clear. Notice how very little Fairy Frost is present, just a few wisps here and there (the crystal in the far left has a Phantom):

masculine crystals

You will find that most crystals are part Feminine and part Masculine, a little bit more of one than the other, but not fully either. These would be described as “mostly Feminine” or “mostly Masculine”. Here’s an example of that:

feminine and masculine

The crystal on the left would be described as “mostly Feminine” and the crystal on the right, “mostly Masculine”. I’ve drawn on the photos to show the areas which are described as Feminine or Masculine. I didn’t mark them as well, but the little dark areas in the crystal on the left (the mostly Feminine crystal) are the Masculine areas, the lighter areas on the crystal on the right (the mostly Masculine crystal) are the Feminine areas.


Now, let’s talk briefly about crystals which present as energetically MasculineWhether or not a crystal presents as Feminine, Masculine or Yin/Yang physically, energetically speaking, here is what you might expect from an energetically Masculine crystal:

Masculine crystals have a sharp and direct energy, and are helpful when you need to get to the point. Yang in nature, Masculine crystals are more action-oriented and the energy projects rather than recedes. The energy of Masculine crystals is more focused and linear. If its energy were described as a light, it would tend to be a high power flashlight or even a laser pointer (directed out the end in a focused beam).


Many people have a preference or are drawn to primarily Masculine, Feminine or even Yin/Yang crystals. You may have a preference that you weren’t aware of. You may tend to gravitate naturally toward one or the other. I personally am more drawn to the look of Masculine crystals and the feel of Feminine crystals! Do you find that you have a preference or that your preference has changed over the years? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

This concludes our discussion of Masculine crystals, next time we will wind up this three-part “anatomy” lesson and talk about Yin/Yang crystals.

FEMININE QUARTZ CRYSTALS – Physically, What Makes a Crystal Feminine ?

CRYSTAL MANDALAS:  Anatomy and Physiology of Quartz Crystal by Genn John- Feminine

CRYSTAL MANDALAS: Anatomy and Physiology of Quartz Crystal by Genn John- Feminine (click on image to order book)

Today we’re going to revisit Feminine quartz crystals, with the distinction that we’re talking about what a “Feminine” quartz crystal looks like. We’re discussing whether a crystal is called Feminine by features only, not by energy.

In the past I have called this an “anatomy lesson” because basically we’ll be discussing whether a crystal presents physically what has been described as Feminine. The next two posts we’ll revisit Masculine and Yin/Yang quartz crystals. I have described this is whether a crystal is described as masculine (e.g. has “man parts”), is described physically as feminine (e.g. has “lady parts”) or presents physically as Yin/Yang (e.g. as a mix of both).

Because it is pretty short and sweet to describe the LOOK of a Feminine crystal, I will also cover the energetic possibilities. Remember, just as with humans, simply because a crystal presents as feminine or masculine in appearance “anatomically”, it absolutely DOES NOT mean that it will also be energetically feminine or masculine. This is an important point. Just as with humans, many crystals feminine in appearance have masculine energy and many crystals masculine in appearance have feminine energy.

We’ll start with the physical description of FEMININE crystals:

Feminine crystals are described as “dense” and “milky”. The concentration of density in a Feminine crystal varies from nearly opaque Fairy Frost to solid white, milky quartz. Traditionally, quartz crystals which are white, rather than clear, are called milky. My assumption is that since clear crystals are often described as water clear, then cloudy or densely white quartz crystal is often called milky (because it looks more like milk than water). If you talk to a person who doesn’t ascribe to naming the metaphysical aspects of quartz crystals, if you are looking for a crystal which appears Feminine, you would ask for Milky quartz. Quartz Matrix is milky in appearance, so any chunk of white quartz crystal is called milky quartz. When asking, then, you might end up with a chunk of quartz, so to further specify, you would ask for a Milky quartz point or cluster (group of points).

The presence of tiny air bubbles is what causes quartz to appear milky. The veins of Arkansas crystal are milky, so most (but certainly not all) of the crystal in Arkansas has at least a milky base (if a crystal breaks off above the matrix, there might not be any milky nature or Fairy Frost present. Because of the presence of these teeny (even microscopic) air bubbles, milky quartz can be “softer” or broken more easily than very water clear quartz. Don’t misunderstand, though, it isn’t significantly softer. It tends to break more easily, not so much because it is significantly “softer” but the molecules of air bubbles make fracturing easier.

When talking about crystal matrix, which is most often milky in appearance, it makes me also think of the feminine property of giving life. That the matrix is the base from which the crystals spring (or grow), so it further helps explain why milky crystal is called Feminine.

Here is a picture with some examples of Feminine crystals. Notice how densely white (milky) they are:

feminine crystals

Most crystals are part Feminine and part Masculine, a little bit more of one than the other, but not fully either. These would be described as “mostly Feminine” or “mostly Masculine”. Here’s an example of that:

feminine and masculine

The crystal pictured left is mostly Feminine (cloudy or milky) in appearance, with some Masculine (clear) at the termination and down the left side. The crystal to the right is mostly Masculine (clear), with a Feminine (cloudy or milky) base.

Basically that’s it for the anatomy lesson.

Feminine = cloudy or milky

Now, let’s talk briefly about Feminine crystals energetically. Remember that a clear crystal (Masculine in appearance) might have feminine energy. Just as with people, it’s best not to make assumptions based solely on appearance. For example, I often find this to be true with crystals which have an Isis Face (5 sided face). Whether these crystals with an Isis Face are Feminine or Masculine in appearance they often have a strong feminine energy.

Feminine crystals help us (both men and women) to get in touch with our feminine nature. They have a soft, yet deep, mysterious energy. Yin in nature, Feminine crystals are intuitive, nurturing and receptive. The energy is more diffuse. If the energy were compared to a light, it would be described as glowing (coming from all directions evenly).

In order to work with a Feminine crystal, (provided it is energetically feminine, not just physically) one might choose to meditate with it, enjoying the energy of feminine nature which may present as soft, nurturing, creative, life-giving, or Yin. One might also create a grid out of Feminine crystals to hold the vibration of feminine energy. Jewelry might be made of out of a feminine crystal so that the energy could be carried intimately throughout the day, or a small point kept in a pocket or purse for the same result.

I hope you have enjoyed this discussion about the anatomy (and physiology) of Feminine crystals, next week we’ll revisit Masculine crystals.

How Do You Store, Display, and Enjoy All Your Crystals?

display and enjoy your crystalsLast week I asked you for your questions, and this was one of the really good ones. Good friend and fellow crystal lover, Melinda, said, “How do you store, display, and enjoy all of your crystals? Do you have them on tables, shelves, in divided containers (cosmetic)? I have seen that some people keep stones in a divided tool upright container (for workshop nuts and bolts and stuff), but this won’t work for me. I love having them all out to enjoy, but I really don’t have the surface space to enjoy all of them. I don’t like them in any drawers or tucked away. My dining room table is no longer a place for us, it is only for my crystal friends (not complaining, just can’t think of creative ways to display and enjoy). Any suggestions you may have will be helpful. Hoping not to have to buy a bigger home for all of my friends! :-)”

So, like I said, that’s a great question! It will vary tremendously from person to person, and depending on space requirements and personal preference. I decided that the old adage “a picture’s worth a 1000 words” fit nicely into this description, so this blog post will be more of a show and tell.

Obviously, since I have been tasked with the honor of sending crystals out to their new homes, the way I display, store and enjoy will be different than most. The crystal above is directly in front of me at about head level (I have a roll top desk which I use in my office). It is one of my personal family crystals, and is just a little smaller than my head. It is a Manifestation point, it has an amulet my dear friend Christa Reeves of UniversalGypsy made for me where I can always see and enjoy it. The little bag on top is a mojo pouch I made, full of secret goodies.

I do have a couple of shelves of my personal crystal family members which live in the office with me, but, for me, they don’t stay with me forever. If someone writes asking for something specific and one of “my” crystals steps up for the task, I must bid it a fond farewell. Not always an easy task, to be sure! Here are a couple of those shelves:

display and enjoy your crystals

As you can see, the large Manifestation point is there in the bottom right corner of the picture above. I have shelves stacked on top of the roll top, most surfaces in my house are shelves stacked to maximize storage areas. These crystals came to live in these spaces as they called to me, or were gifted to me by others and share the space with other special trinkets from trips taken or gifts received.

display and enjoy your crystals

Above is a picture of the shelf above the large Manifestation point. Going randomly around my office, there are crystals sitting, waiting to be photographed or included as an Ask Genn crystal, and the following pictures describe those. Below are some beautiful, large Arkansas crystals waiting to be photographed:

display and enjoy your crystals

The next photo is a large box of smaller points, again, waiting to be sent to new homes:

display and enjoy your crystals

Still more clusters and large points waiting patiently:

display and enjoy your crystals

Following is the storage system I have had for the page 20 years, sorted into boxes based on type of metaphysical characteristic, or other sorting criteria. This is near my order wrapping table, and the tissue paper and stuffing also lives on these shelves.

display and enjoy your crystals

The plastic tubs above are the back-up boxes, and the crystals I choose from currently are in these small drawers, separated from Artemis to Yin/Yang. The boxes with all the small numbers on them are how the crystals which are posted to the webpage are stored until they are adopted.

display and enjoy your crystals

Sitting right in front of my keyboard are special crystals, both gifted and which called to me for various reasons. The little rusty looking crystal on the left with the black ribbon tied around it was one which presented to me when I was burying my beloved Gitszy… It is a Dolphin crystal and as I was picking up crystals from around gardens and walkways to place on her grave, it told me it was to remind me of the playfulness and love between the two of us which will last beyond our physical bodies. It lives here by my keyboard, as it has these past two years. To the right of that is a Double Terminated Smoky Tibetan Tabby, good for grounding and communication, full of Rainbows for hope and optimism. To the right of that are three clear quartz points, two Double Term Tibetan Merlin or Generators, and one Arkansas Manifestation crystal. The Pink one is a rose quartz scarab from my dear friend, Carol; it has spent time with the crystal skull, Synergy. The little black tumbles, also from Carol, are Shungite, good for healing, shielding from electromagnetic radiation and grounding. These are crystals which I work with (and which work with me) daily.

display and enjoy your crystals

Moving from the office, the next room really filled with crystal is my bedroom. I’ll only share a few of the surfaces from there. Directly inside my door to the right is this antique Tibetan cabinet with crystals which were lovingly gifted to me from my friends Ken and Karen. They are all crystals which they dug themselves here in Arkansas. There is also a small selenite wand there and a piece of rose quartz from my friend Patti.

To bring us back to giving you ideas of how to display and enjoy, you will see that under the large Twin crystal in the center, there is a smaller rock. I often use crystals as props for larger points if they need a little help standing upright. The smaller points never seem to mind lending a helping “hand”. There is also a small beanbag type pillow which you can nestle a larger crystal on if the base isn’t flat.

display and enjoy your crystals

Next is a wooden cabinet which was given to me as a gift. It isn’t something I would have chosen as a crystal storing option for myself, but it has actually become very handy, and I have learned to like it quite a lot.

display and enjoy your crystals

Most of the drawers have non-crystal gemstone family members, mostly gifts from customers and friends over the years. Some of them have stones which my Granny picked up and they are still in the baggies in which she used to store them, with her handwriting still on the labels. So I guess, this is a crystal and gemstone hope chest/heirloom chest of sorts. Next is a picture of what is on the top of that wooden cabinet:

display and enjoy your crystals

It’s a lovely place for grids, the doilie was hand crocheted by my friend Darla and has a Channeling grid set-up on it right now. The other stones were gifted to me from lovely friends. Black tourmaline hand dug by my beautiful friend Pippa and topaz from my friend Tommy (who also gave me a bunch of sun stone, both of which he had the pleasure of digging himself). There is also garnet in matrix and many other goodies, both found and gifted.

So for some display possibilities, you might consider small bowls, boxes, linens, fabric baggies and pouches. Whatever works for you. My friends Karen and Ken (mentioned earlier) have crystals, both large and small, sitting everywhere! On tabletops, in corners, by themselves or nestled joyfully in bowls and baskets all over their house and it is a crystal HEAVEN! You can look and look and there is always yet another surprise around every corner. Delightful!!

display and enjoy your crystals

Finally, we come to the top of my altar. This is a cabinet about head-high. My spheres live here, most of them gifts from my soul-sister, Angel. Crystal, amethyst, rose quartz, fluorite and one glass one I picked up in Mexico years and years ago.

So, as you can see, there are many different ways to display and enjoy your crystal friends. I have been told that they don’t mind being in drawers at all (as long as you don’t forget they are there). Venus said with a slight giggle that they have lived for a VERY long time in the earth, a few years, even up to a human lifetime, is but a blink on their timeline. She reminded me to tell you that it IS important to remember they are there, and to touch in periodically, however. She reminds me that this can be done mentally if you can’t get to the crystal (say, if it is in storage deep in a box where you can’t reach it). This is why it is important to make a strong connection with your crystals, to become familiar with their look, their feel, their energy. That way you can call them up in your minds eye and connect with them from a distance at any time at all, near or far.

Do you have a favorite way to display your crystal friends? Drawers, bedside tables, pockets, bras, window sills, garden paths, tree trunks… These are all places where crystals live at my house. Feel free to comment below and share with the rest of us where your crystal friends live!


digging_crystal_in_AR-6-6bringing-it-homeThis is the final post of the series on digging crystal in Arkansas. Last time we discussed how to find crystal (what to look for). This time we’ll cover what to do with your crystal once you get it home, namely, cleaning.

When you’re finished digging and ready to go home, the best way to pack your crystal for transport is with newspaper. If you have used the zip top baggie suggestion I mentioned in post number four, they can be placed side by side in the floor behind the seats. Clusters can be placed in a flat box with newspaper around and bunched in between them to prevent them from bumping each other. The same goes for any large points you might have found.

If you were lucky and found a cluster with lots of clay on it in the fresh tailings, it is best to leave the clay on for protection until you can get it home (we discussed this briefly in the previous post as well). Resist the temptation to “unwrap” it from the clay, and it will be safer for the jiggly (and sometimes jarring) ride home.

crystal_cleaningAfter you wash off the dirt and clay, some crystal appears clean or almost clean straight out of the mine (like it looks when you see it in shops). Most, however, is stained or coated with rust which requires an acid bath to remove. This layer of rust will vary crystal to crystal and mine to mine. Some of the mines produce crystals with very thick layers of rust, some with less. There are a few ways you may wish to clean your crystal.

The first is the traditional way, and that is by using oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is a dry white powder and they sell it packaged by the pound at almost all of the rock shops which also have mines open to the public. If you choose this method, plan to buy some acid at the rock shop to take home with which to clean your crystals. Generally it is one pound of acid to two to five gallons of water. While one pound is generally more than enough, you can ask the person running the rock shop what they recommend for the amount of crystal you found; they are very helpful. There is a process to using the acid, so be sure to ask for the instructions as well, usually they have a printout with the acid. This can be quite a process. Stu Smith from Clear Creek Crystal Mine has a really excellent write up of the ins and outs of using this acid. I’d rather not re-invent the wheel, so you can find that info here. It is advisable to wear thick gloves, however I have yet to do this and keep my hands dry and out of the acid. I don’t know what my problem is! Goggles are also highly recommended. I have splashed the oxalic acid in my eye a time or two, and since I usually use a pretty dilute solution I didn’t suffer irreparable damage. Don’t take the chance, though. Put on your goggles.

photo credit Super Iron out dot comAnother method which I have recently discovered which also works really well (and has become my method of choice) is something called Super Iron Out. This picture is from the website www.superironout.com. I bought mine at our local Walmart but you can find it in many places both on and off line. It comes in liquid form as well as powder. I have only used the powder, because it was what the store had on hand.

I have found that this does work more quickly than the oxalic acid (as quickly as overnight on lightly stained crystals), but it only works on the iron, it doesn’t do anything unless you remove all the dirt. In contrast, a little dirt won’t stop the oxalic acid from cleaning your crystal (especially if you heat it) Read Stu’s article about heating the acid. I had several used crock pots which I used to use for this. Anyway, if you do choose the Super Iron Out method, be sure to wash your crystals very well first.

The third option is to leave them in their natural state by washing them but leaving the rust. I really like the pretty rust-free look personally, so I most always soak mine to remove the rust. The only time I don’t do this is when the crystals are exactly as they came out of the mine (dirt and all). Sometimes I will send people uncleaned crystal if they express interest in this.

cleaning crystalMoving on (but also backing up). When you get your crystal home, you will need to wash it off well with water. You might choose to leave it in the sun and weather to let the process of nature clean it (rain and sun). This is what I described when I mentioned leaving the clay in clusters for protection on the ride home. If left in the sun, a certain amount of the clay will shrink and fall off. (Obviously don’t leave amethyst or other colored stones in the sun, they will fade. We’re talking about clear (aka colorless) quartz crystal here.

The more clay and dirt you remove before putting it in the acid, the better. There are two reasons for this. Firstly if you don’t, the crystal might require two trips through the acid and secondly, the less dirt you get in your acid, the better. It can be re-used until it gets saturated. When it turns a dirty green color, it is time to throw it out. When finished, neutralize the acid with lime (the kind you buy for the garden) or baking soda and use plenty of water. When the mixture stops fizzing when you add the lime or soda, that means it is neutralized. If your crystal isn’t heavily stained with iron, it should take only a few days in the acid bath to get it clean.

With either of these soaking-in-the-acid (or Iron Out) methods, be sure to rinse the crystal extremely well with water after you take it out. A good barometer is after several rinses, if you think it is well-rinsed, then rinse it once more. I have been lazy a time or two and didn’t get all the acid off. When your crystal dries, it is covered with a layer of acid which is not fun to touch or breathe. With all of these instructions, your common sense is your most valuable tool.

That concludes our discussion on what to do with your crystal once you get it home, and also winds up the 6 part series on digging crystal. I would say the single most important things to plan to bring with you to the mine are your gratefulness, respect and reverence, as well as your gratitude and respect for the crystal and your reverence to Mother Earth for enduring this birth process on our behalf. Most especially remember to bring your laughter and good vibes; this is a joyous endeavor! Until next time, if you are blessed with the opportunity to dig your own crystal, Happy Digging!


crystal digging in ArkansasThis is a continuation of a series on digging crystal in Arkansas. Last time we discussed what to wear, what tools are essential, and the other intimate details of what to pack in your vehicle. This time let’s get down to the actual nitty gritty of digging the crystal and let’s talk about what to look for in the tailings themselves.

In the new tailings, you will be looking for sticky masses of clay. At the majority of the mines I have been to, the clay is red. Some mines have different colors of dirt and clay, depending on the composition of the Earth. We’ll just discuss the red clay, since it is in the majority, but keep in mind it may differ according to where you are.

At any rate, the fresh tailings will look like wet, mushy mud and rocks. Most of the mud will be a dark brown color; some of it (if you’re lucky) will be red clay. Remember when we talked about the folding and faulting that created the mountains and the subsequent crevasses in which the crystal grew? Silt or mud filled in the gaps and acted as a sort of cushion for the clusters and points. This is the stuff you’ll be looking for in the new tailings. The clay is red, sticky and gooey; it is clingy and hard to move. What you’ll be looking for inside the clay is anything black and shiny. The really clear points will appear black because you are seeing “through” them and into the dark of the inside of the “hole” it has made in the clay. White looking areas in the mud are usually quartz matrix (the filler material with no points). Often there are points on the quartz matrix, so it is always a good idea to check. Sometimes the white areas are partial or whole Feminine points. Many a leaverite has been brought home, not knowing until they were washed off if they were crystals or just chunks of matrix. What’s a leaverite? That’s a rock that when you see it you “leave ‘er right” there. It’s an old tongue-in-cheek rock hounding term, and it’s one of the first rock hounding words I learned because my grandparents considered most of the rocks I picked up to be leaverites.

Back to what to look for when you’re digging; as I said, walking the old tailings is what I usually end up doing. Every time I dig, initially, I am always lured in by the promise of finding that really big, giant point or cluster in the fresh tailings. While this has yet to happen for me, I have seen it happen for many! However, after a usually unfruitful slog through the fresh tailings, the raw energy will become too much for me and I will end up strolling through the old tailings.

crystal digging in Arkansas The same “shiny black” instruction is true for the old tailings as for the new. These need to be pried CAREFULLY out of the dirt with your trusty hemostats or garden trowel, being sure to scrape and loosen just the dirt around the crystal, but not the crystal itself.

The way I usually find crystal in the old tailings, however, is fairly easy to explain, but much harder to put into practice. Have you ever seen those Magic Eye 3-D posters that were popular in the 1990’s? After getting your eyes focused, a picture suddenly emerges from what previously looked like just a bunch of splotchy colors. crystal at the mineFinding crystal can be like this. The splotchy colors are represented by dirt and rocks, the hologram is the crystal. You have to get your eyes set and scan the ground. If the sun is shining, that’s all the better, because a flash of light here or there will alert you to where to center your gaze. If your focus is correct, a crystal may emerge. Your mind might register just the dirt, but with practice, right where you were looking, there is a crystal. I find that if my head’s not in the right space, I don’t find very many crystals. I make it a point to remain in a space of thankfulness and gratitude. I usually like to walk off by myself even when digging with friends because I like to talk to the crystal as I’m looking and digging.

Another handy tool which I really like to bring is a long handled rake or hoe. The type I’m talking about isn’t a leaf rake, but a 3 or 4 pronged rake (like the small hand trowels but with a long handle like a hoe). It makes a handy walking stick and also makes turning over dirt much easier.

I sometimes compare digging crystals to finding Easter eggs. It is exciting and sometimes they are “hidden” in plain sight. Be sure to look in places you might not think would have a crystal such as dirt ruts in the roads. I once found a beautiful crystal in a little mound of mud on the side of one of the roads at the crystal mine. It was raining very hard, and you know how a tire will push an indent into the road, and some of the mud squishes up into a long mound alongside the rut? I was tired, soaking wet and saw a little gleam in this rut-hill. I almost didn’t stop to check, but luckily I did. I saw about an inch of a gleam and pulled out a long, thin Double Terminated Soulmate point so you never know if that tiny glimmer will be just the tip of the crystal iceberg.

It is advisable that if you find a cluster, (or even a large point) especially in the new tailings, leave the clay and dirt in place as much as possible. I know it is very tempting to clean off the clay and dirt so you can look at your new find. Try and resist as much as possible. This clay will provide protection for any long, slender points during packing and on the ride home. You can leave a cluster like this out in the weather once you get it home and the clay will dry and shrink, and as it shrinks, will often shrink away from the point. There will be more on this in the next post, on cleaning crystals.

We’ve touched on this before, but is bears repeating. As you dig, be respectful. You aren’t going to be able to bring home every single crystal that you come across. Some crystals I know instinctively aren’t for me. I have seen people mindlessly toss such crystals aside in the search for something better. Don’t be one of these people! Instead, consider doing what I do or something similar which resonates for you. When I find a crystal that isn’t for me, I thank it, tell it how beautiful it is and set it prominently on a nearby rock so it will be easily found by the person it is meant for. This doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out process and it doesn’t have to occur verbally. It works just as well to think these things; the crystal will receive the message. Also, if the crystal is for me (or for one of you, through me) and it goes into my bucket, I don’t just plop it in; I carefully place it in and thank it as I do so. I don’t do this as much because I am afraid I will damage it by dropping it in, but more because to carelessly drop it in the bucket is disrespectful. We talked about how I kiss the crystal before putting it in my bucket. I will continue to do that, even if it does make me look a little demented. I have a vision of myself through other people’s eyes: this crazy girl walking around alone, mumbling away with dirt all around her mouth. Maybe this is why I like to walk away and dig by myself; it saves my friends the embarrassment of having to admit they know me!

As a final reminder, PLEASE obey all signs at the mine and do not cross ropes, taped off areas or areas which are marked off limits. The cautions are there for your safely. Usually when you check in, the person who gives you your waiver form to sign will also tell you where it is OK to dig and where it is not. If they don’t tell you, please ask.

Ok! That does it for how to find crystal when digging. Next post we’ll talk about what to do once you get your new finds home.



what to bring when you dig crystal in ArkansasLast time we talked about when the best time is for digging crystal in Arkansas, and covered a little bit about new tailings versus old tailings, dry weather versus wet. Whichever area and whatever weather, crystal digging is a dirty process. Even when it’s not wet, the red clay permanently discolors your clothes. In this post we’ll talk about what to bring, what type of clothes to wear and what tools are handy to have.

Wear something old that you don’t mind getting stained. It is ideal if you have a pair of coveralls or overalls. When you are ready to pack it in and go home, you can strip off your dirty outer layer and ride home in relatively clean, dry clothes. Of course, there are bathrooms at some (not all) of the mines, so you can change before you go home. I find that I am usually too tired to change my clothes, and my truck is testament to this fact. You might want to put old towels or sheets over your seats if you are persnickety and don’t want your vehicle to get all dirty, dusty and stained.

dig-bootsSturdy shoes are a must, as well. You will be climbing up and down large piles of dirt and rock. I’ve seen people come to dig wearing sandals or open toed shoes, and I don’t recommend it. It isn’t necessary to wear boots, any sturdy closed toe shoe is fine, but if you do have comfortable boots, all the better. You’ll be the one not hobbling around because your shoes are full of rocks and dirt.

dig-noHammers, picks and wedges are recommended by some of the more enthusiastic types, I don’t recommend them at all, and it isn’t only because it is hard work, and they are heavy, that I don’t like using them. The premise is to use them on the really large boulders that make their way out of the pit with partial veins still attached. Removing the crystal from the boulder is tempting, but it is usually best to leave it right there. Here is why: smashing a crystal off the matrix is disappointing and brutal. Sadly, I have seen, and heard, this done over the years. The sound is hideous (this is the brutal part); not only that, but crystal which has been unskillfully smashed off its matrix never has the luster that it did when it was still attached (this is the disappointing part). If you are skillful and know what you are doing, you may be able to break the cluster off the sandstone without injuring it, but that isn’t usually what happens. Normally, you end up with part of the cluster on the ground and part still on the rock, and you’ve irreparably damaged both. One of the worst sounds I have encountered at the crystal mine is the relentless hammering followed by the sound of smashing, cracking crystal as it is being destroyed. The feeling in your gut which accompanies that horrible sound is infinitely worse. Believe me, as tempting as it may be, it is best to leave it right there. The Crystal People, and your fellow crystal diggers, will thank you.

dig your own crystalThere is good news regarding large rocks with crystal attached. If you have the strength of Hercules and can get the rock from the tailings and into your car or truck, you’re welcome to do so. It is amazing that for the price of your permit, and providing you can get it into your vehicle, you really can take out anything you find in the tailings. The heavier “mining tools” were recommended in the past because they used to let you go into the pit if they weren’t working it on the day you went to dig. Due to numerous safety hazards and OSHA regulations, they aren’t allowing this practice anymore. So, my suggestion is to leave your hammer and bring a group of your strongest friends instead. Barring that, some other alternatives are to take a picture of the large boulders with crystal attached (like the one at left), or another thing I like to do is sit on or near the boulder and enjoy the energy that the crystal plate lends. Sometimes these crystal-covered rocks will have small crystals which have detached (either naturally or by wandering diggers), and these smaller points can be picked up easily with your tweezers or hemostats. (More on this coming up).

dig-hemostatsLighter weight hand tools can be, well, handy! Garden trowels, a small hand shovel, even hemostats and tweezers as I mentioned above. You may be thinking, “Really, Genn! Tweezers?” Well, if you have hemostats, you won’t need tweezers. I never go the mine without my hemostats. If you don’t know what they are, they’re the scissor looking things with the alligator nose and locking grip. I like to clamp them to the front of my shirt so they are always at the ready. They are helpful in picking up really tiny crystals. They also can extend your reach up to a foot, which is nice when you’re climbing the face of a steep hill. They are also good to use as diggers to loosen the dirt around crystals stuck in dry clay or packed dirt.

dig-trowelA three or four-pronged garden trowel or small shovel can be very handy in both the old and new tailings. I also like to use a long garden trowel (they have a long handle like a hoe but with prongs rather than a flat hoe scraping edge). These are super for using as a walking stick of sorts, and also allow you to dig at the dirt without bending and stooping. It’s a multi-use tool.

dig-bucketsBuckets of all sizes are invaluable. I tend to nest my buckets, large to small. I bring extras so that when I fill one bucket up I can leave it in the truck and start out fresh with an empty one. A five gallon bucket is tempting, but gets heavy quickly. If you have a little red wagon, bring it; they are to die for. If you don’t have a wagon to pull around a heavy bucket, then I suggest you use a smaller bucket and empty it frequently. I like to use the small mop buckets with the plastic tube on the handle. Inside this I will put a plastic coffee container and inside that a smaller container. The plastic containers that Crystal Light come in are great; they have a lid and are the perfect size. I know this sounds pretty fussy, and maybe it is, but it has worked for me over the years. Usually inside at least one of these I will have a zip top plastic bag. Put your plastic bag in the container like you would put a plastic bag in a garbage can. When your container is full, you simply slide the bag out, zip it up and put it in your vehicle. This prevents you from having to pour your crystals out, possibly dinging or breaking them. dig-bottlesThis leads me to the smallest containers I recommend. Pill or vitamin bottles are for especially small and/or fragile crystals. Lots of small bottles and containers and plastic baggies are a must. One set of stacking containers per digger is sufficient if you have plenty of plastic bags.

Speaking of using plastic bags in your containers like you would use garbage liners; it is best to plan to carry out everything you carry in. They usually have barrels on site for garbage. However, if you come prepared to take your garbage with you, there is no possibility of the wind blowing your trash out of the barrel and into the crystal mine. I’m sure if you are reading this blog, you and I view nature in the same manner. It is beyond disrespectful to see gum wrappers, cigarette butts, empty pop cans and bits of trash blowing about a crystal mine. If you are walking along and see someone else’s trash, please do the crystals and Mother Earth a favor and pick it up.

dig-waterFood and water are the other things you’ll want to pack plenty of for your day at the mine. A picnic on the tailgate is a lot of fun. Plenty of drinking water is also essential, especially in the summer. Some of the mines have a store with vending machines on site, but not all do; be sure to ask. I always bring more food than I need because usually there are hungry people who didn’t think to bring food. Digging can be hungry work. Sharing with your fellow crystal enthusiast is good karma.

dig-tpAfter discussing eating, I guess it is a natural lead-in to what happens after eating. Not every mine has bathrooms on site. Some have portable toilets, the larger ones have “flushers,” but it’s best not to assume this. Check with the mine before you arrive. You might need to add toilet paper to your list of things to bring. If you’re lucky and the mines do have a bathroom with flushing toilets and running water, no matter how tempting, please do them a favor and don’t rinse off your crystals in the sink. The clay clogs the plumbing and can be a nightmare. Normally, there will be a special area with a pump or tubs full of water where you can do this.

dig-bandaidBand-Aids, sun screen and other first aid items are always good to bring. If you choose to dig in the new tailings, it is quite possible to cut yourself on the broken crystal hidden in the clay. Broken crystal is every bit as sharp as broken glass. I have been cut more times than I can count. If you aren’t careful, it can cut you to the bone. Gloves are handy, but it can cut through them as well. Using a trowel instead of fingers is recommended. For this reason, Band-Aids come in handy; even when you’re careful, you usually end up needing them. I will have to say that if you do cut yourself, the red clay in which the crystals grow works really well to stop the bleeding, and it promotes fast healing. Believe it or not, it is very beneficial. As a former nurse, I can’t believe I’m suggesting that people put mud into their fresh wound. That having been said, I have done it and it works. Obviously, if this doesn’t feel right for you, don’t do it.

This ends the list of things to bring with you when digging crystal. I have a special page on my website (ArkansasCrystalWorks.com) with a printable list, you can find that by clicking this link. Next time we’ll talk about how to find the crystal when you get to the mine. What does it look like and how do you see it? See you next time!


when to dig crystal in ArkansasLast time we discussed a general overview of digging quartz crystal in Arkansas. This week we’ll cover when is the best time to dig.

Cool weather is the ideal time to go digging. In Arkansas, the most reliably cool weather occurs in the Spring or Fall. Of course, there are days during the winter that are mild and enjoyable and sometimes you might luck into a cool day in the summer.

Remember, in the actual mine area, you are up on a mountaintop with no trees around. You will be digging in full sun. Heat stroke is no joke. And on the other end of the spectrum, in the winter, the wind can be brutally cold. Add wet to that equation, and it can be truly miserable. That’s why it is wise to check the weather when planning a dig.

After you have chosen which mine to visit, you will arrive at the entrance. Usually there is a store, or another place, to check in. You will sign a liability release and pay your dig fee. The dig fees typically vary from $10 to $20 per person, per day for adults. When you check in, the clerk will tell you where to park and where the entrance to the tailings is located. Usually, they will tell you where the freshest tailings are; if they don’t tell you, be sure to ask them.

Most Arkansas crystal mines are open every day except Christmas. Typically, they let you dig from nearly dawn until dusk, and then they run you off with a stick (well, not really a stick, but they will run you off … nicely). Some mines have fees based on an hourly rate, and they take you to the mine in their own truck. This is usually the exception to the rule, however.

digging crystal in ArkansasIf you have plans to dig and it happens to rain, don’t worry. Other than it being incredibly messy and sloggy, some of the best crystal can be found during, or just after, a rain. I once found a Double Terminated Twin crystal, about seven inches long and an inch thick on the side of the road, in a truck rut, in the pouring down rain. You are able to find more in the old tailings because the water washes the dirt off crystals that have been hiding from other diggers. To go the day after a really huge rain can provide you with some really great digging experiences. And you also don’t have to contend with the rain running down your neck and blurring your glasses. A serious reminder about this “better when it rains” scenario is not to forget about the sticky mess and the difficulty slogging through wet Arkansas red clay; it can be slippery and dangerous, and will also ruin your shoes and clothes.

On the flip side, if there hasn’t been much rain leading up to the day of your chosen dig, the digging can be difficult at best. The dirt and clay harden and encapsulate the crystals, it can be hard to dig them out of the hardened soil.

In crystal digging, understanding the difference between fresh or “new” tailings versus old tailings is important. Keeping in mind the terminology I am discussing is new to you; I’ll go over the terms again. The giant hole where they do the actual mining is called the pit. The piles of dirt, rock and crystal that they haul to the top are called the tailings. The new tailings are the loads of dirt and rock that they have trucked up most recently. They are usually individual piles of wet and muddy dirt, rock, crystal and clay. The old tailings consist of the piles of dirt that have been there longer. They are made up of layer upon layer of what used to be the fresh tailings. Periodically, a bulldozer will be used to move the dirt to make room for more material brought up from the pit. The dirt, rocks, and crystal get pushed up and up, so the old tailings can be quite high.

Arkansas crystal miningThe majority of the large mines operate nearly every day. If you are digging on a day in which they are actively working in the pit, the fresh tailings will be big piles of wet dirt, mud and clay. When you get your permit to dig, remember to ask them where they are dumping the new tailings. If you’re the sort who likes to dig through mucky mud, that’s the area for you. It is also the area where you are most likely to find the really big crystals and clusters. While some people prefer to work the new tailings, I prefer to walk the old.

At the larger mines, generally you will find if the operators aren’t actively working the pit, they are pushing the tailings around. This makes room for more material and also turns the dirt over to expose new areas for better digging. I like to walk the old tailings because the energy seems softer. To me, the energy in the fresh tailings feels raw and exposed. Whether you prefer the fresh tailings or the old tailings will be something with which you will have to experiment; both have their ups and downs, pardon the pun.

This ends the discussion of when to dig. Things to keep in mind: the weather (whether it’s too hot or too cold, raining or during a dry spell), whether a mine is being actively worked, where the “new” tailings are being deposited and where the “old” tailings are.

Next time we’ll talk about what to bring on your trip to dig crystal in Arkansas. See you next time!


digging_crystal_in_AR-2-6Gen-DescLast time we discussed crystal mining in Arkansas and how it varies from digging. Digging your own crystal is a rewarding and exhilarating experience; because I’ll describe digging in much more detail later, for now, I will speak in generalities.

Most of the mines require a small digging fee for the entire day. You simply choose a mine, pay the fee, sign a liability release and then start digging. Safety is a major concern for all ages. Children need close supervision and must be guided and watched diligently. There are a lot of drop offs and places for little (and big) people to get seriously hurt. However, if the safety considerations are carefully observed, I would recommend crystal digging to people of all ages. It is important to remember that common sense is the most important tool to use.

A “working mine” will offer the best digging. When choosing a mine, you’ll want to find out how often they “work” it. You‟ll want to know if they dig every day, or if they are digging the day you are going to be there. Which day will give you the best chance to find something? Crystal digging is a bit like fishing; a mine that gave you lots of crystal last time may give you very little the next time. It depends on many factors. It depends on what the mine owners have found in the pit (and subsequently brought up in the tailings). It also depends on the weather (rain is helpful to wash the dirt off crystals that may not otherwise be seen), and believe it or not, it also depends on your own mood. I have discovered that if I‟m not in the right place mentally, the Crystal People seem to go into hiding. When I am feeling good, and my vibrations are high, when I am in a grateful space, I tend to see them more easily. Don’t worry; we will talk more about the specifics of crystal digging later.

crystal digging in ArkansasBreakage happens quite a lot, as you might imagine. Crystal is hard, but blasting and earth-moving equipment takes its toll. The process creates a lot of loose rock and dirt that has to come out of the pit. The mine operators are digging for the “premium” crystal, intact large points and clusters, with the key word being intact. The rest comes up in the tailings for rescue by you and me. There is a LOT of “premium” crystal to be found in the tailings; there is also a lot of breakage. When I say “premium,” I am not making a value judgment that these crystals are “premium” because they are “better.” Nor am I saying that the crystals in the tailings aren’t as worthy or powerful. In fact, at times, the crystals in the tailings seem more precious to me, because the very act of retrieval is why they aren’t in one piece.

Mount Ida and Jessieville crystal mines aren’t the only place you can find crystal in Arkansas. On hiking trails, along the roadside, even in Lake Ouachita (Wash-i-taw), you might happen upon a crystal point or two. Certainly you will find quartz matrix (smashed-in-the-spaces, non-point kind of quartz crystal). Of course, finding rock crystal (points) in these places isn’t as likely because there is less of it being uncovered by weather and erosion.

digging quartz crystal in ArkansasConvenience and use play a part in the question of size. Is bigger better? Does a large point put out more energy than a small point? Certainly, by mass alone, a 500-pound single crystal point is going to exude more energy than a tiny jewelry point, but this is not to say that the smaller points don’t have comparable energy or enough energy to matter. Comparatively speaking, a small crystal might have the same energy as a large point. By example, an ant can move ten to fifty times its body weight. Using that gauge, you can see that ants are stronger than humans, ounce for ounce. A small point may be stronger than a large point in the same respect; some very small points are deceptively powerful, meaning that bigger in size doesn’t always mean better. Also, it is easy to put a small point around your neck or in your pocket. Wheeling a 500-pound crystal around in a wagon would get tiring after a while! Depending on the crystal, its use and your need, a small point can be every bit as helpful to you as its larger cousin. The old adage is true about not judging a book by its cover (or an item by its size).

In the next post we’ll move on to discover when is the best time to go crystal digging. Gathering is technically the process that I’m describing, but to say you are gathering crystals invokes a picture of skipping through a meadow and picking flowers. This is not an accurate picture. What follows in the upcoming posts will be a detailed description of how to go about collecting your own crystals; when to go, what to bring, how to find it and finally, what to do when you bring it home. See you next time!