My Honey Calcite Crystal Mining Experience

Hibiscus Moon geology, Mother Earth, Videos 9 Comments

Crystals in Florida?

Honey Calcite Mine

You know I went a long time thinking that there were no crystals to be found in my home state of Florida b/c its too geologically young & for most of its history it’s been mostly underwater as part of a shallow sea bed. It wasn’t until about 33.9 million to 23 million years ago that sea levels dropped and Florida finally emerged from the sea.

I know, I know. That sounds like a hella long time ago, but compared to most other places, that’s relatively recently.

But a few years ago I discovered that just ain’t so! There are indeed crystals to be found in Florida.

Florida has huge limestone deposits leftover from the Pliocene & Pleistocene Era of Florida’s past… back when it was still living under a large shallow ocean…& that era has left behind large 2 million year old fossilized clam shells encrusted with honey calcite in Ft. Drum, FL. 

During the early Pleistocene era, this was the location of the Atlantic shoreline.

On to Ft. Drum!

Honey Calcite

Calcite comes in many colors and a while ago I did a video all about some of the different kinds… (oh my, so old & embarrassing this video is):

Starting here I go over honey calcite’s specific healing properties.

How These Crystals Came To Be

After the animal living inside the clam shell (Mercenaria permagna) was long gone, calcite crystals  began to crystallize from within. How? Well, in Florida mangroves tend to grow along shorelines. At some point, the calcium in the clam shells leached out due to the acid-rich tannins from those mangroves and the hollow areas within the shells provided the perfect crystal growing hollow area.

A gorgeous golden Honey calcite to be exact.

Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Fairly recently, workers discovered these amazing SPARKLY specimens while digging up limestone to be used for construction purposes.

This is the area:

The original dig site was known as Ruck’s Pit & the story goes that in 2008, the family who owned the property decided to close it down & allowed it to flood making it now inaccessible.

This is a specimen found at the original location with that characteristic dog-tooth calcite formations.  So gorgeous, right?

Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

BUT, apparently a lot of the material that was dredged out was moved to another property, now known as the Fort Drum Crystal Mine (although that name is really a misnomer b/c it’s not really a mine at all). Piles of the mined material (tailings) are brought out for visitors to a “staging area” on a farm (that’s what you saw in my above video) allowing visitors like me & my family to dig through. 

There are different tailings that are dug from various levels from the original pit so it’s wise to check them all out. 😉

I have to be honest & tell you that I didn’t love the idea that we were digging in an inauthentic site. But I guess I should be grateful that some of the material was saved for us to sort through & have the experience of discovering some of the gorgeous calcite there.

This is the sign you’re greeted with when you reach the Fort Drum Crystal Mine

sign

Be Prepared

I recommend you bring the usual array of mining supplies, although they do have some tools for you to use there. I have a blog post here about that.

IMG_4452-862x647

I’d also recommend bringing lots & lots of water + a packed lunch in a cooler (it gets HOT out there… & there are no food trucks or restaurants close by). There’s a bathroom, but don’t expect it to be very nice… if you know what I mean.

You might also want to bring a change of clothes for your ride home b/c  you tend to get pretty muddy!

You can expect to find lots of partial clam shells with a small calcite crystal filling, like a glittery coating inside the clam…but the larger dog-tooth calcite that used to be mined from the original location is probably all gone. 🙁

calcite

BTW, if you’re looking more for the spiral, cone-shaped type shells, those are also very hard to find. We didn’t find any.

If you think you’re going to find the entire clam shell in good condition filled with golden honey calcite…worth hundreds of dollars…well, we didn’t find any of that either & didn’t see any of the other people finding that material either…unless they were keeping it on the down low. 😉

Not to say that what we did find wasn’t lovely & gorgeous!

Was it Worth Going?

Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that.

It costs $60/per person/for the day. Kids are less. Yeah…OUCH! Very steep for mining, IMHO.

You’re allowed to mine as much as you wish, unlimited (although I’ve seen others say that you were only allowed to fill a 5 gallon bucket. We weren’t told that, but then again, we didn’t leave with anywhere near that much material)…and despite the website saying that the “mine” is only open until 5 pm…he told us we could stay until dark.

All in all, I’m glad we all went. It was a great experience, but I wouldn’t go back & do it again. Did it.

I’d rather check out other areas to mine.

Now would I go back to Hot Springs, Arkansas to mine quartz? You better believe it! In a hot second!

How to find mines near you

Just Google it!

And just in case anyone wants to talk about the ethics of mining… b/c that usually comes up when I talk about this stuffs… and that’s OK, b/c it’s an opportunity to discuss & educate, here’s my blog post all about that. 🙂

Have you done your own Crystal Mining?  Been to the Fort Drum Mine? Or a local Mine near you?  What crystal treasures did you find?  Tell us about it in the comments below!

Crystal Blessings,

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Comments 9

  1. You’re awesome!! I grow up in Okeechobee and it’s a lot like camping. Lol, it’s like boot camp for survival. Glad you put it on the map. It’s rich in nature.. ???????

    1. I have found a secret spot a little north of Orlando that has alot of the beautiful calcite in the fossilized clam shells. I found an old Indian shell/trash mound and the calcite was all over. I still have not connected all of the dots on why I found Indian pottery in the same place as fossils that are potentially millions of years old. But it isnt just around okeechobee!! Happy travels!

  2. Lovely stuff! I live in North Yorkshire, England, and have done some great trips with local Geology clubs. They are a great way of getting out and about and getting permission to collect mineral samples from areas not usually open to the public. I guess it works the same way in the USA. The thrill of finding something so old, and being the first person to ever lay eyes on it, is wonderful. I’ve found garnets in mica schist in Scotland, and nearer to home jet, fluorite, calcite and galena (as well as some ace fossils). Mind you, I’ve also spent hours looking for amber on the east coast without success! :-).

  3. great images. i had acquired some honey calcite pieces a couple of days ago and this blog kind of ‘cemented’ the relationship.
    thanks for sharing.

  4. Love that honey calcite! This spring I went with my friend, Nancy, to a fee dig at the Oceanview Tourmaline mine in Pala, CA, north of San Diego. The digs occur 3 times a week, on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, when they bring up a big pile of tailings from the mines, and for $60 you can take as many buckets as you want to sieve through in the 4-hour dig time. We found small beautiful gemmy pieces of green beryl, aquamarine, garnet, citrine, lepidolite, kunzite, as well as all colors of tourmaline, and even some quartz. They’ve been accused of “salting” the pile with material that doesn’t actually come from their mines, and it’s probably true. However, it is so much fun and being up there on the mountain, standing on top of all those amazing crystalline pockets is nothing short of awe-inspiring. I don’t see a way to post a picture of what I found, but maybe on the FB page? I had a magical crystal adventure in Arkansas in 1981, and this is right up there with that. I highly recommend it. <3

  5. Sounds amazing, I wonder what there might be in Kent? I have heard that maybe Amber on the SE coast, but never have seen any.

  6. I found this page while trying to identify the clams that I’m finding here in Northwest Missouri along the Missouri river and a couple of other locations. I’ve found a sizable fossil bed and as I disassemble the already fractured rocks, I’m finding loads of beautiful crystal formations within the chunks of limestone I remove. The calcite formations range from clear to a strong brass color and sometimes a combination of both. I’ve also noticed that sometimes when I first expose these cavities, the crystals look wet and I’ve watched as some of the clear crystals turn brassy after being exposed to the sunlight. So far I’ve found hundreds of pounds of these fossil rocks and they contain all manner of other fossils. I’ve found so many of these crystallized clams that I have to force myself to leave the site with my bags bulging to overflowing. The cavities are generally about the size of a penny to a quarter but I’ve found a couple that are about the diameter of a half dollar.

  7. I just came from Rucks pit 2 days ago I mined for the whole day from sun up till sun down and found so much stuff, over 9 five gallon buckets to be exact!! I also found 7 whelps(the cone shaped shells) I’m pretty picky on what I keep just a side note😀 sorry if you did not do so well🙃 as for the Minning fee of $60.00, I say it is well worth the trip considering how valuable the pieces I found are! Just the whelps alone covered my trip there including gas food and ect. I’ve also been to Arkansas Minning Twin Creek Mine to be exact located on Mt. Ida which I also filled up with amazing quartz crystals and clusters. If I had to pick a place to mine I would pick Rucks hands down! The owner is the most down to earth man I’ve ever met and if you can’t afford the $60.00 he will work with you, just offer him a hand with his animals and he may even give you some nice clams! He also has a amazing gift shop with a large assortment of fossils and minerals, he is a very reasonable. I give Rucks pit five stars!!

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