Sunday, January 10, 2010

Digging For Crystals In Arkansas

I just realized I didn't post any pictures from my crystal digging adventure at the Sweet Surrender Crystal mine in Mt. Ida, Arkansas. When I decided I was going to dig for crystals I imagined it to sparkling and a little glamorous. In my grandiose vision I would be Scrooge from Ducktales, only swimming through sparkles instead of coins. I am a dreamer...Arkansas is a realist Arkansas you scared me into loving you. Here is the recount of my adventure with my good friend from RISD, Brady (a native to AR). It is truly unsettling when you see fear in the eyes of a trusted native on your adventure.

On our way to Mt Ida with a special surprise detour through Norman, Arkansas, population 400. Notice the shot gun in the back of the truck. I thought it was charming/funny until we arrived and I realized hunters would be hunting all around us as we were digging in our crystal hole.

This is the pile of dirt we got to dig through in search of quartz crystals.

It was quite the emotion evoking adventure trekking hours away into the deep country/hunting territory of Arkansas. The directions were given to us in obscure land markers and via telekinesis. So, we got lost. We were lost an hour the wrong way in a tiny town that looked like it was straight out of a horror movie (think House of 1000 corpses and Vacancy). Our phones had no reception. But, we cheated death (one of the several times that day) . We finally arrived at Sweet Surrender only to find out we had to drive an additional 10 mins up the side of a dirt mountain in a eighties SAAB. No bueno. I was ready to give up when I thought the under carriage of the car fell off. Luckily, whatever part was lost was not needed. And we were greeted by the owner, Randy and his shot gun (he apparently would be hunting for deers as we hunted for crystals). Turns out he opened the mine that day, just for us. Not the jam packed crystal spa I had imagined. Brady appeared to have a heart attack when she saw his gun. I just assumed it was a "prop" for authenticity as Brady stood frozen in fear imaging our dead bodies being buried in crystals and dirt off of Broke and Retired Dr.
I don't suggest off-roading in 1980 Saab if you go and I do suggest bringing your rifle.

Crystal digging in Arkansas requires blood, sweat and tears of fear.
These are smiles of some relief traded in for new founded fear mixed with exhaustion and surprise.

Did you know when you get out to the center of no where they give you the luxury of naming your own street? Neither did I. "Looney Tune Lane" and "Retired and Broke Rd" where two prize worthy names. FYI- Since you will probably get lost as we did. Sweet Surrender Crystal Patch is just before "Broke and Retired Dr."

This picture is was taken on the way home and I like to call it, "Cheating Death"

Another potentially ominous picture leaving Sweet Surrender Crystal mine.

Back safety at Brady's in Little Rock.
The crystals are covered in iron deposits and as result are orange.

After the crystals are all cleaned up in an acid bath.
**This is Randy's fine specimen I took after demanding to see a prize worthy crystal.

Arkansas Crystal Jewelry to come....


  1. Love your story! sounds like a real adventure.

  2. When everything is coming your way, you are in the wrong lane. ....................................................


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