I started picking up rocks with my Granny on our summer vacations to Crescent City, California. We would pick up the agate on the beach. Sometimes we would lay in the pebbles and sift through them, holding them up to the sunlight to see which were most translucent. The top layer, dried by the sun, (which beckoned us to sit and dig) was deceptive. The sea water would seep up from the under layer and soak our knees and elbows. When the agates we found dried, we would lick them to rediscover the shine.
This 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.
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.
Last 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.
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.
Last 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.
Last blog post we talked about where to dig crystal in Arkansas, in this post I was planning to cover how to dig. It's a MUCH bigger subject than it seems like it might be, so I am breaking it into several parts. Let's start with the actual crystal mining process and we'll cover what the difference is in "mining" and "digging".
Crystals emerge from the earth in two ways; either they are dug out by people, or they surface on their own through natural causes such as folding, faulting and erosion. By comparison, when we dig them out, they are “born” via C-Section (versus erosion, which would be comparable to natural delivery). There is often controversy about whether we should be bringing the crystals out of the Earth or leaving them there. I have been guided to understand that Mother Earth and the Crystal People know how much humanity needs their assistance going into this new era, so they're allowing us to deliver them by C-Section. To wait for the crystal to emerge on the Earth's time scale, we probably would have destroyed ourselves three or four times over, so that by the time they made their way out into the sunshine, we'd have already been toast. Mother Earth and the Crystal People are graciously, and intentionally, allowing us to cut open and dig in to pull them out now, while there's still time to save humanity.