Our trip to Mount Ida, The Quartz Crystal Capital of the World, left us dazzled, amazed, and in awe of what beauty Mother Nature can create. We saw quartz crystals with points, clarity and clusters of every shape, size, and color imaginable.
Mt. Ida is about 30 miles south of Hot Springs, Arkansas and has a population of about 1000. Most residents are connected to mining and marketing quartz. We visited Crystal House and got the grand tour from Robert. He had a deep knowledge of the area and respect for the crystals. We saw many rarities from local mines that no longer exist. They also had one giant beauty that had just returned from being on display for seven months at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. It was the largest phantom quartz crystal ever found in Arkansas. A phantom has a black crystal growing within a clear one. Almost everything in this rock store was from the area. You can sit in front of 8 pallets stacked with crystals and buy them by the pound. You can cherry pick the pile for $10. a pound or shovel them for $5. a pound. We did both.
Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in earth’s continental crust, after feldspar. Crystallization is the process of forming a crystalline structure from a fluid or from materials dissolved in a fluid. Since antiquity, quartz is the most commonly used mineral for making jewelry.
Quartz crystals have many valuable properties and applications. They are conductors of electro magnetic forces; they enhance any kind of vibration, and can concentrate and focus energy. Technology companies come to the area to find small crystals for computer chips. Many people believe they have healing properties. They make great yard art. Crystals are truly magical gifts from nature you never get tired of looking at.
On the second weekend of every October, Mt. Ida sponsors The Annual World Championship Quartz Crystal Dig. This year was the 26th. It is part of the Quartz, Quiltz, and Craftz Festival. This year diggers from 13 states and Quebec competed. Two local mines-Sweet Surrender and Wegner Quartz Crystal Mine were the dig sites. Prizes were awarded for Best Point and Best Cluster.
Mt. Ida is close to Ouachita National Forest, which is the South’s oldest and largest National Forest. We stayed in Hot Springs, which is about a 40-minute drive.
Atlantis Found Gardens (Crystal House)
509 Highway 270E
Mt. Ida, Arkansas 71957
Jay’s Crystal Bonanza
1024 Highway 270E
Coleman’s Rock Shop
5837 North Highway 7
Jessieville, Arkansas 71949
November 16, 2013