My Honey Calcite Crystal Mining Experience

Hibiscus Moon geology, Mother Earth, Videos 9 Comments

Crystals in Florida?

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.

[caption id="attachment_18652" align="aligncenter" width="600"] 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[/caption]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?

[caption id="attachment_18653" align="aligncenter" width="600"] 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[/caption]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

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.

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. 🙁

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!

  • Type in the name of your area and “mining” and see what comes up. You may have to do a road trip a few hours out of your way, but it’s an adventure!
  • There’s a listing of mines for most US states listed here
  • The TOP Spots in the US are listed here
  • And if you really want to get into it you can join a local rockhound club and go with them on regular field trips! Here’s a listing of those for the US (other countries may have listings like this too…again…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,

Omg! The Best Crystal Mining Adventure Ever!

Hibiscus Moon Crystals, geology 20 Comments

So we’re back & I’m now sitting down to try to round up all the content I collected while out on our magical Crystal Dig RV Trip. It truly was a rolling sacred biz trip. Since I already gave you all the highlights in my weekly Glitter Updates, I’ll try to stick to just the actual crystal-digging in Hot Springs, AR here in this post.

NOTE TO SELF: FOCUS! FOCUS!

So this was the adventure of a lifetime. I’m so glad Frankie (my hubby) & I did it!

In this video I:

  • compare & contrast the 2 main mines we went to, how to find them
  • show some of the crystals we hand-mined
  • give you digging tips
  • tell about the supplies you’ll need
  • explain why this was such a profound experience for me

My #BucketList Crystal Mining Experience

Why Hot Springs, AR?
You always hear about Sedona, AZ, right?

Well, let me tell you what’s so special about Hot Springs, AR nestled in the Ouachita Mountains & why I was called there.

Arkansas is known for having the world’s finest quartz crystals, many are water clear & supremely powerful. Not only are there abundant quartz crystal deposits throughout AR, but 1 particular area is known to be the single largest quartz deposit in the world; The Quartz Belt. It’s about 30-40 miles (48-64km) wide & extends a distance of about 170 miles (274 km) west-southwest from Little Rock, AR to eastern Oklahoma; the Ouachita Mountain region.

Planning it out was a big part of the fun! We carefully planned out our hot springs, caverns and crystal dig RV trip meandering our way slowly out of Florida, through Alabama, Tennessee with Arkansas as the final destination. I did it old school style; real map, magnifying glass and some crystal inspiration, of course!

The Hot Springs are all part of the quartz story here (and they really are HOT!)

The springs aren’t unaltered like in Yellowstone. Instead, they’ve been covered & protected (except for a couple of areas at the bottom of the mountain). They do this to keep them uncontaminated for public use. No pee-pee please!

People have been using these hot springs for healing baths since ancient times. There are so many beneficial minerals in these waters, it’s like an Epsom salt bath super-amplified! In fact the hot springs here have 53 ppm (parts per million) of silica! There you go. That’s the reason why quartz (silicon dioxide) is so abundant here.

How could I NOT go?

Why so Hot?
The average temp. of the water is 143º F/62º C. Surface water sinks down through faults & fractures about 1 mile deep into Mama Earth getting heated as it goes by the natural geothermal heating of the earth. There’s some evidence (& rumors) that there may be a super-volcano in this area.

The main street in Hot Springs is lined with a group of bathhouses built between 1892-1923 that tap into the healing waters. They’re gorgeous & taking a dip in 1 of these places is a must. This spot ain’t nicknamed Spa City for nothin’! One thing I didn’t see on the spa menus was a Crystal Healing session. I think they should come up with an Arkansas Quartz Crystal Therapy Immersion! What do you think? I’d be all over that!
Final Destination
My ultimate destination on this trip was to  hit the Jim & Ron Coleman Crystal Mines!

Having now done this I have a list of must-brings to share with you:
Crystal Dig Essentials

  • hat
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen
  • closed toe shoes
  • gloves
  • small digging tools (with comfy handles, your hands will thank me!)
  • bucket or container to hold your treasures
  • something to sit on: a cushion, rolled up yoga mat, folded towel, etc.
  • lots of water
  • healthy snacks
  • patience
  • At first they didn’t look like much. These are just a few of the many “diamonds in the rough” Frank & I mined with our hands!! But just brushing off a bit of the clay & holding them up tot the sun I could see there untapped potential. It was so exciting! 🙂

    I knew we had some gorgeous treasures. I couldn’t wait to get them home & clean them up. They turned out to be water clear + of supreme quality. I loved the experience of working really hard to birth these babies from the ground myself.

    Life is sweet?

    (I also mentioned in the vlog I’d link to my post on the ethics of crystal mining.)

    Here’s a video montage of the actual dig sites:

    In the vlog above I mention this video where I show you how to do an oxalic acid wash:

    Here are some of the beauties we dug, rounded up and cleaned at home…

    Photos never ever do them justice. Do they?

    Well, that’s the culmination of everything & I’m so grateful to have you to share it with! Interested in visiting? You can check out the Quartz Crystals – Arkansas webpage for great info on the area & to plan it all out.

    Have you already been or plan to go? Please tell me in the comments below, Crystal Hottie!

    Crystal Blessings,