googleed3ca5fea536c11e.html South African Mineral Specimens: Searching for Crystals in the Scenic Western Cape Mountains

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A Mineral specimen blog by which we want to share our mineral outings as well as our experiences in the Western Cape mountains.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Searching for Crystals in the Scenic Western Cape Mountains

For a good many years, we have been driving to farms in the mountains, mostly Villiersdorp, Worcester and Ceres, to search for quartz crystals.  Quartz crystals from these areas, are mostly milky to clear, with a few places yielding smoky crystals.  Single crystals rarely exceed 100 mm, while most crystals found are smaller than 30 mm.  Some of the small crystals are as bright and gemmy as they come, while some of the smokies are of very high quality.  The crystals are not easy to find and requires a lot of walking, sometimes up steep mountain slopes.  We have discovered some crystal deposits that are very promising, but also very hard to get to.

Some of the places where we dig can be accessed by motorcar on farm land.  We are eternally grateful to generous farm owners, who grant permission to dig for crystals.

About 9 months ago we moved to Ceres, a town situated in the mountains, about 120 km drive from Cape Town.  Ceres is surrounded by mountains and farms and we regularly walk in the mountains, trout fishing or looking for crystals.

When searching for crystals, we firstly search for quartz veins, that are usually snow white.  Once such veins are found, we look for tell-tale sighns of quartz crystals.  More than often there is none, but with persistence, some nice pockets of crystals are discovered.  One such pocket recently yielded about 15 kg of crystals, but most pockets are much smaller and only a small percentage of the crystals are of good quality.  One of the best pockets that we found, was about the size of a man's head, and of very high quality.

My nephew and I digging for crystals on a farm

I found a nice pocket in mid-winter

Riana removes smoky quartz crystals just beneath the surface

Some lovely smokies exposed

A lovely find of (unwashed) crystals from the above pocket

Riana found a lovely smoky

Digging's the name of the game!

Lovely scenery near the place we found crystals

We found a good pocket high up in the mountains

Lovely crystals

A  pretty quartz cluster

Digging for crystals in a remote area

Lovely female quartz crystal

Part of our scenic climb to get to the crystals

Pretty semi-sceptre

A gemmy little crystal group

Pretty crystal on quartz matrix


Unknown said...

Do you know where there is a erea in ceres where i can find quarts that is public and not a farm

Anees Omar said...

Do you know where i can find quarts in a public erea in ceres by the way i love your blogs they are really fun to read