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WishingWell
27-07-2008, 07:48
Good afternoon, ya'll! :) I've read the reviews on Ebay of Jim Coleman's unclean quartz bushels (which are all positive), but I was wondering if anyone at the forum has ordered one from the website. If you're not familiar with the product, here is a link: http://www.jimcolemancrystals.com/minerun/minerun.htm

We ordered a couple (prior to our trip, scheduled for October, to hit the public mines in Arkansas), just to get a taste of what the Coleman mine has to offer. If you've purchased a basket, were you pretty pleased with the crystals?

morticia monroe
27-07-2008, 09:11
I've made three trips to the Coleman mines to dig in the last year, and have struck up a small friendship with the curator (There are two Coleman mines,,,I go to the one on Miller Mountain). The office has a wrap around porch with baskets of uncleaned quartz for sale, and long tables of pre-cleaned quartz for sale if you get out there and decide that the digging looks like too much dirty work. (Not a problem for me, he laughed at me last time and said I was one of the few who really digs with gusto).

John told me that he always tries to make the baskets worthwhile, and although its hard to tell exactly what a crstal will look like when it's still in clay, I could see that there were clusters and points in all of them.

I have been thinking of ordering a basket lately myself, I love washing the clay from new pieces and finding beautiful crystals....

faunabay
27-07-2008, 09:16
I"m like Morticia. I've never ordered one of his bushels, but I have dug at his mine - sounds like the same one Morticia has gone to also. I've gotten good crystals and had a blast!! :)

morticia monroe
27-07-2008, 09:18
This thread is giving me that itch again to drive to Hot Springs...Once you go on a dig, you want to keep going back...

faunabay
27-07-2008, 09:19
Funny!!! I was thinking that exact thing Morticia!!!! })

morticia monroe
27-07-2008, 09:19
RRRoooooooaaaaaddddd TTrrriiiippppp!!!!! LOL.

faunabay
27-07-2008, 09:23
ROFL!!!!

WishingWell
27-07-2008, 09:24
Thanks for replying, Morticia. I actually did a search on the forum about the AR mines and found your thread, which provided MUCH inspiration to take the trip! When I mentioned the idea to my mother, she confessed digging for crystals in Arkansas has been a dream she's held for 30+ years. That cinched it, and we're heading off. Reading about your experience in the mine really helped me trust that this would be a worthwhile trip for both of us.

From what I've read, the Ron Coleman or Miller's Mountain mine that you mention is the Coleman mine to visit. That's where I'm geared to go, and also the Arrowhead mine in Mount Ida. I am so excited!!! Digging hardly strikes me as dirty work, either. I'm going to attack that clay with a fierceness! For an entire week! :)

As for the baskets...It might sound strange, but I'm really looking forward to cleaning them myself. Something about unveiling them right before my own eyes really appeals to me.

Morticia, may I ask how many hours or days you spent at the mines? Do you think a week is not enough time, ample time, or more than enough time to gather tons of crystals? I've got quartz greed, I'm afraid. I literally want to fill my living room with them.

P.S. I'll let everyone know how the bushels turn out. Everyone I've told about the "vacation" to go digging in Arkansas has looked at me incredulously, like I was out of my mind, but I know I'll catch the fever and have to go, again!

morticia monroe
27-07-2008, 09:42
You're asking the wrong person how long you should stay to dig....I told him last time I'd be back with all my stuff and that little trailer out back would be just fine for me if I could just wake up every morning, knowing it was a good day to dig.....:)

Yeah my boyfriend went the first time and that was it for him,..he hated it.

My mom and sisters have a new saying...when they don't want to do something instead of saying "I'd rather be poked in the eye with a sharp stick", they say "I'd rather dig for crystals." LOL.

So you see, we are a rare breed, but that's ok with me, less people to share the dirt with,,:) Although there is PLENTY, trust me.



Don't be afraid to ask the curator where the newest deposits are, or where would he recommend you dig...he'll be glad to show you.

The main thing I have to say is to get your eyes right when you get there,,,there are smaller point and even bigger ones on the ground all over the place that can be collected without digging, but you have to be able to SEE them...he'll show you what to look for.

I would KILL to have a wekks worth of digs,,,I've only ever been able to go for a day at a time.

The first time we dug for 5 or 6 hours and found about a dozen really pretty ones (One or two really big ones and then medium sized points and clusters and tons of small points and tabbys)...., the second time was right after a rain,,,they say that's the best time to dig, but I disagree,, however it's the perfect time to walk around staring at the gound :) clean points everywhere.

morticia monroe
27-07-2008, 09:48
Oh, one more thing.. make sure to stop at Coleman's rock shop (it's on the way to the mine) and check out the stones. They have some beautiful pieces, and inexpensive to boot. You'll see Malachite, rose quartz, desert rose selenite, shiva lingam, quartz, copper, amethyst, celestite, labradorite, calcite,,,everything! And they have huge tables of everything sittiing out and the pieces go from tiny to huge, tumbled or in the rough....You'll love it!

AJ
27-07-2008, 10:02
How big is 1/2 bushel? Would that fit in one of the big flat rate boxes, otherwise the shipping would be the killer. VERY tempting!

WishingWell
27-07-2008, 10:48
Actually, AJ, the shipping wasn't so bad (and we live in Alaska!). We had two 30- 40 lb baskets shipped, and since the Colemans split up the baskets into 4 parcels (to take advantage of flat rate shipping), the shipping came to about $24 per each one. All the way up in the frozen North, we think that's not so bad, really.

Morticia, I think it does take a certain breed to enjoy grubbing for "rocks." Frankly, I never thought I'd fall into that category, being the girly girl that I am (to an annoying extent, really). Then, I stepped into a local rock shop, which was filled with more crystals, rocks, and doohickeys than I'd ever seen! I'd never had much interest in crystals, and suddenly I wanted them all. Once I started reading about quartz, going to the mines was the only thing that made sense. Personally, I think that being the first person to uncover, see, and touch a crystal is an adventure and reward in itself. It's definitely a treasure hunt!

I also plan on going to the shops at the mines, for that very reason. I bet they have all sorts of gems at much better prices than I could find here! I've seen pictures of the tables and I can hardly wait for October to arrive so I can see them firsthand. :D

I'm sure that I will come back with your attitude, too. I've already threatened my family with the possibility of moving to Arkansas, if this dig goes well. Thank you for the advice on asking the manager about the ideal place to dig... I'll remember that. Knowing myself, I'd be on sensory overload and too confused to even think of such a straight forward approach. lol.

*edit* I also read on the Arrowhead mine website that, for a fee, the owner will excavate a pocket of the mine for you. I'm going to call, next week, and make sure that offer still applies. If it does, we're going to do that and hunker down for a few days at Arrowhead sorting through the pile. I think that will probably deliver some large, quality pieces. My only fear is that we'll be hauling back more crystals than we can carry! But...if we're traveling all the way from Alaska, I want to pull out all the stops and get enough crystals to tide us over....for at least a year. Until it's time to go back. ;)

WishingWell
31-07-2008, 03:11
Our parcels arrived-all four of them. They were PACKED with dirty crystals. We certainly feel that we got more than $60 worth of nice quartz each (since we placed two orders). It took hours to sort through the boxes (I expect the trip to AR will prove a bit easier, because we won't be sorting through so many little tiny pieces) and we have a large table covered in choice clusters and points waiting for the acid bath.

I'm not sure if some pieces got damaged in transit, but most of what we received is broken or more suitable for the rock garden (which is fine; they'll make good energy around the property). Still, we're really pleased with the purchase and can't wait to see these gems clean up a bit more. I pulled out a double terminated quartz the size of my palm. Some pieces were larger, and some were smaller, but there were many palm sized crystals in the boxes.

I do have rather dainty hands, however. I was amazed with the clarity of these crystals, too.

If anyone plans to order this product in the future, I would recommend it, but I would also recommend ordering a full 30-40 lb bushel, just to insure some nice big chunks.

It definitely left me more excited than ever to get to Arkansas, just knowing that the pieces we will find there will be better intact.

If anybody would like to see pictures of the crystals we kept from the boxes, I'll have some photos together in a few days. :)

morticia monroe
31-07-2008, 04:46
Hooray! They arrived!

I'm so glad you've recieved them, and super glad that you're pleased!

Be careful with the acid. Actually, I used something I got at Wal-Mart called Iron-Out. It's much safer and nowhere near as hard on them.....99% of your pieces will come totally clean this way. It's a powder, and about $6 a jug. Use the water hose to first remove as much of the clay as you can, then take a plastic bucket and add warm water and add your Iron remover.. then very carefully add your crystals. It's okay to put larger pieces on the bottom and set some of the smaller points and things on top. But if the clusters have smaller crystals, be sure not to set anything on them that will break some off.

If you're getting sunny days, let the buckets sit outside in the sun for a few days.... I, personally, couldn't let mine be,,I was so excited I checked on them every few hours to monitor their progress....:) Then I took a toothbrush and gently cleaned them. Most of them came clean. For the stubborn ones, or the clusters with dirt in the crevices, let them dry and then re soak them. use a bottle brush if needed (the bristles are longer) to gently get into the crevices....... Some are almost impossible and they need to be done many times,,,(As they dry, the clay in the cracks shrinks and get smaller and easier to get out). I have one cluster that I've been working on for over a month.

When all else fails, a little bit of the acid will help, but be careful. Some of the crystals have what looks like granite connected to the bases sometimes. The acid will make the granite turn a hideous green,,,,,,,

Best of luck!

By the way,, just wanted to let you know that even when you are at the dig site, a LOT of the crystals you find will be imperfect or broken. You probably dig 5 or 6 before you find one that is pristine. Like you, I use the broken pieces in other ways, some used to decorate my potted plants and others go into the rock tumbler where they come out gorgeous!

Since you're going to be travelling with yours, you might prefer to wash them at the mine and find the good ones so then you don't end up bringing home a lot of broken pieces.

I'd love to see pictures when you're finished!

AJ
31-07-2008, 08:44
I received some crystals and other goodies from morticia monroe today, I have them here on my desk and my head keeps going like the return bar on a manual typewriter. I'm reading along and THWANG goes my head and I'm back staring at my lovelies.
THWANG...there I go again...Happy camper here

morticia monroe
31-07-2008, 09:00
LOL! I love the simile(?), AJ!!


AJ fails to say that she first sent me some beautiful, large pieces of petrified wood. I opened my package and clapped my hands rapidly together like a little kid..:)

I don't remember who said it, but the quote was something like "If karma had a shape, it would be a boomerang."

Can't wait to see WishingWell's treasures:)

WishingWell
01-08-2008, 03:10
Whew! Morticia, I'm so glad you left a message mentioning Iron-Out because I signed on, this morning, fully intending to ask you how you cleaned your crystals. I'm not sure this oxalic stuff is doing its job. It's hard to tell, and, like you, I feel too impatient to let it sit outside (as it's doing, right now) for several days. Besides, we're not exactly experiencing sunny weather. So, off to the store we go today to buy some Iron-Out. Is this something that you can heat to speed the process?

I think I have one of those granite-type based clusters. Is that sandstone? I'm glad you said that, because I neutralized the acid, this morning, and got it out of there first thing this morning.

Your crystals, in your photos, just look gorgeous! And sparkling clean. Did you dig the majority of them in Arkansas? I was inspired by your bowl of quartz. I need one of those by my couch and tarot shelf. :) I'm afraid, after this trip to Arkansas, I will have no room for anything else. We've already covered every surface in the kitchen with crystals, which are in the cleaning process, still. There's no room to cook, and we had no energy last night, so we ordered take out. :) I can only imagine how many we will have after a week in the mines. Eek!!

I expect to dig a few really nice pieces in the Old Coleman mine, but something tells me we're going to get our best crystals from Arrowhead, after paying to excavate a pocket. I've read reviews that say that is the way to go, if you want large intact quartz. Have you gone to any of the Mount Ida mines?

morticia monroe
01-08-2008, 06:49
Yes, WW, if you're doing them inside, use super warm tap water to fill your buckets, then add the Iron Out. I probably added a cup or so per bucket..... but don't be afraid to add some extra if it doesn't seem to be doing the job. I added it until the water started to bubble a little.They WILL come clean, but you do have to use the toothbrush, and with some a scrub brush with harder bristles (be careful with the clusters.)

I got ALL of my crystals at the Miller Mountain mine. The first time I went, I thought the curator was so nice and friendly I've just never gone anywhere else.

Before I ever made my first trip, I called the owner of Arrowhead because I, too, thought it would be more lucrative to have him excavate a pocket for me. He was a nice man, but when I asked him if he was going to be there the next morning for me, he hemmed and hawed, wasn't sure, and told me to call him when I got to Arkansas. Well hell, it's a 7 hour drive for me
and there was no way I was going to drive up there for a "maybe", so instead of going to Mt Ida, I went to Jessieville. But I'm VERY interested in seeing what you get from there and hearing about your experience.

By the way, did you know that in Prescott, about an hour from Hot Springs, is the Crater of Diamonds State Park? Never tried my luck there yet. You can dig for diamonds and other stones but of course not everyone finds them,,,,the crystal mines are a sure thing.

The bowl of points are the small ones you gather up just by walking around and looking at the ground.


Here is a link for the Crater of Diamonds. If you've got a week, it might be worth checking out....

http://www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com/

WishingWell
01-08-2008, 07:42
Morticia,

I am still tossing around the idea of Crater of Diamonds Park. Wouldn't it be amazing to find a diamond? The odds are so slim, though, that I'm not sure the experience would be as satisfying as heading to the mines. Besides, knowing me, I'd find a quartz and tell my family they can all quit their dayjobs.

Yikes @ the Arrowhead story! That is precisely what I'm a bit concerned about. Especially since we are traveling all the way to Arkansas from Alaska. Some sort of verbal agreement would be nice, prior to our arrival. I'll give the owner a ring either tomorrow or next week to try to gauge his receptiveness.

My mother was the one who actually placed the order for the baskets with the Jim Coleman mine. She said they (he and his wife?) were so nice and helpful. Even though we will be heading to the older mine, the Ron Coleman one, I've heard/read nothing but positive things from a number of sources about the folks who run both. That really gives me something to look forward to, and I'm sure the first two days spent in Hot Springs/Jessieville will be worthwhile.

Some of the crystals that we picked out of the baskets really look promising, but they've just got these thick spots of dark brown magnesium or iron. I'm not sure which it is. Many of the crystals came clean with just soap, water, and a scrubby brush. My 8 year old son was clever enough to point that out to me, after I thought they were as clean as they were going to get (without some heavy duty treatment) after just rinsing away the clay. I was sort of surprised at how orange they still were. Now, I know why.

This little taste of Arkansas in a basket has really helped me understand how much work this trip will be. Do you plan to visit AR soon, again, for another crystal dig? If my arm is this tired (in a good way because I have so many fabulous crystals to look at), after a few hours of scrubbing cast-off rocks, I know that you must love the process.

I can't wait for October to get here!