Back to our weekly photo challenge with one I’m going to call a winner! April’s color of the month photo is a gem stone traditionally seen as April’s birthstone. Quartz and Diamond.

As a color that sounds blinding but as a gem, both are grand. Although Diamonds are girls best friend (or so they say), I have a fondness for quartz.

Quartz Mining in Arkansas

From a trip many lifetimes ago, I not only touched quartz crystals, I mined up a personal collection. It was a visit back to my Mom’s new home with my then teen daughter, Cara. Cara has always been drawn to rocks and as she grew up, I was pretty a geologist was blooming. Although she chose a different path, we still enjoy discovering rocks, gems, and in general nature’s wonders.

As a way an interesting day spend with a rock loving teen, Mom took us both out to a mining operation. This was a crystal mine that had a public dig site. The trip being way before I had gray hair and before owning a decent one, the trip photos are not great. Fortunately, they captured the memory that I’m very fond of reliving.

Arkansas Quartz Crystal Mine

Of course, I thought this would not really much be much of a dig but we set out with shovels and climbed up a big mound of earth. I figured it was just a way to entertain the kid, but the process of discovering quartz crystals became very exciting even to me.

We found a ton of pieces and it was quite addicting to just keep digging!

Saving the Treasures

Today, both Cara and I have our stash of found treasures. Why a 57 year old would hang onto a rock collection still is beyond me. Now a great memory is made even better because they’re still with me. Today, I pulled them out of their resting spot (night stand) just to photograph for this post. Here’s a sample of the best pieces posing in all their shiny glory.

It was exciting to discover a rock and on closer inspection, realize there was a crystal growing. I still marvel when I see the pointed ends. There was quite a range of rocks Some showed just a little peak of crystal protruding from its rocky shell; others, showed off a full, yet unperfected crystal. Many of the found treasures were clear enough to see through while others were milky white.

Arkansas Quartz isn’t just in Arkansas

Fast forward a few years and I found this beauty at the National History Museum in Washington, DC. It was discovered in Hot Springs, AR which is the area “our” mine was located. Can you imagine digging up something like this. The photo doesn’t quite depict the scale of this specimen but, the base was probably a foot wide.

This next one we discovered in another museum whose name actually escapes me.

When we do visit a gem stone display, I’m always looking for the Arkansas representatives. They are not just beautiful but give me such fond memories of a trip I’ve never forgotten.

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