The biggest crystal in my life (so far)
There's no more rain in the morning and it got warmer. We know our way around already, so we take off with certainty. Backpacks on our backs, buckets in hand, we move along a narrow path through the marsh like robots. The last two hundred metres are a steep and slippery slope that made us wheeze by the time we reached the top. Site number five is a rather small, shallow pit, about fifteen times five metres. Again, the hole is full of water. We roam around, here and there we put the chisel to a wall or a loose boulder. We drink coffee from thermos bottles and think about how we're going to continue. I walk around the pit with a heavy stick, beating the stones. On the left edge of the pond the blows sound hollow, something could be there! After three hours of ferocious work we break off several blocks of pegmatite, but it's not worth it. A few quartz crystals here and there and two samples of bertrandite. But wherever there's bertrandite, there's also beryl! We keep pounding our chisels blunt and flexing our jimmies. It still sounds hollow!
After another hour I give up and go for a walk. There's an old copper mine about a kilometre away. Dalibor stayed in the pegmatite pit and I rummage through old mine dumps. I find interesting samples, it could be pentlandite. Just then my cell phone rings. It's Dalibor calling for me to come back, he opened up a cavity, and a big one too!!!
I run like a caribou and truly the spot that sounded hollow really is a hollow cavity. Dalibor is lying in a muddy pond, his hands stuck into the rock. He is pulling out exquisite quartz crystals covered in clots of clay. We take turns, one burrows, the other washes and the crystals are stacking up. They're up to twenty centimetres long and often we find "double-sided floaters".
The cavity has no end, we already pulled out several hundred crystals and our hands are too short. We keep switching from left hand to the right, because the cavity has a partition down the middle. My hands are longer than Dalibor's and I try to go around the partition to get behind it. They're there too - sharp little sweethearts. At one moment it seems like the partition moved. It would be great if we could get it out. I try my jimmy carefully, but there's not enough room. So I just pry my five fingers into the clay, pulling, wobbling, desperately digging in my heels. Than it really moved. It's a pretty big chunk of rock and I use my fingers to inch it to the opening centimetre by centimetre. Than it appears in the light. It's a giant crystal!! It's sticking out of the rock like the tip of an SS 20 rocket and won't come out. It's bigger than the opening we dug out into the cavity.
Sure thing we pulled it out! It's in my collection, it weighs twenty-one and a half kilograms and measures forty by twenty centimetres.
On the whole we dug out one-thousand-two-hundred crystals from this pit on site number five. From one centimetre up to the size of the biggie. Exciting day!
Day of rest
The next day we get some rest. We are going to Setesdal to see the mineralogical park. It's about eight kilometres from Evje and something to experience for sure.
Large lake peninsula and a great greyish-red granite rock on it. In 1844 they discovered a lode containing copper and nickel, which was mined up until 1880. Several corridors were hollowed out, the longest has one-hundred-seventy-five metres. Today the corridors are adapted to hold an extraordinary exposition of many superb exhibits from Norway, as well as samples from all over the world. It's out of season, so we're alone in the museum. We have peace and quiet to look at beryls the size of a salami, druses of various types of quartz weighing tons, incredible calcites. Here anatases are not measured in millimetres, but centimetres.
About two hours later we exit the corridors to a hall, housing a large store. There is a group of Germans listening to the commentary of a gentleman of about sixty-five, brandishing a walking stick. We buy a few items and some coffee and go sit in front of the shop. In about half an hour the Germans also go out with their guide and sit at the next table. We try to glean some mineralogical information and to our great surprise the limping grandpa turned out to be the owner of the museum. When he found out that we are collectors, he offered us a full day excursion of various sites - actinolite, calcite, crystallic graphite, rutile, galenite, etc.
To us it seems impossible and we show our doubts. But the man made three-four calls from his cell phone and said: "Saturday at 8 in the morning in front of the museum in Kristiansand." We are completely taken aback and mumble something about having spent three days digging without seeing a single tiny beryl.. The old sage brought out a map and drew directions to one pegmatite pit. And added: "the pit is flooded and I am not about to drain it sooner than in another month, but there's a dump pile to the right of it and there you will find what you're looking for."
So this is what happened on Thursday, our day of rest.Previous page Page 2/3 Story continued