For more than a century, industry has cut quartz in exact, repeatable configurations, providing enormous benefit to humanity through technology. At the same time, the slicing and dicing done for industry strips the “soul” from the crystal. It is like an old-growth redwood tree, thousands of years old, cut into so many board feet of lumber, essential for building: the essence and majesty of these ancient trees are lost in the process. The same is true for the ancient ones, the crystals.
While in Brazil sometime in the 1980s, I visited a warehouse that processed quartz mined for electronics. A worker walked by, and in his arms was one of the most pristine crystals I had ever seen, about 16 inches long, weighing about 45 pounds, perfectly shaped and crystal clear. As it whizzed past, it called out to me like an abducted child. I asked my host, “Where is he taking that crystal?” “He is taking it to the saw to be sliced into thin wafers” was the response. I will never forget the impact of that moment and the sorrow I felt. That crystal, possibly more than 40 million years old, is now probably so many faceted chips performing clockwork in quartz-accurate watches.
I have found that the best way to preserve a magnificent crystal is to make its beauty available for all to see. Something happens when I cut, shape, smooth, and polish the faces of a crystal. I am using grinding and polishing tools, but applying the tools of precision, care, and respect are equally important. Refining the crystal’s outer shape, thus opening windows of transparency, allows you to be gripped by the world of its internal majesty. Once it has a hold on you, all that remains are the indisputable facts of its magnificence and the story of its existence. Its beauty is a treasure, and it feels good to share this bounty, preserving it for future generations.
The more respect a crystal is given, the more respect it will generate.
Billions of marketing dollars over the last two centuries have institutionalized the valueof diamonds, which are not inherently valuable. Although they’ve been associated with European royalty since the thirteenth century and India since the sixth, their beauty and relative abundance, combined with sophisticated marketing, have made them universally desirable and accessible. Although an enormous diamond weighs as much as 100 carats, some megagem crystals are well over three million carats. Giant quartz crystals are equally rare and more challenging to cut, and yet are virtually unknown to the world. When a giant crystal is preserved and restored in its full majesty, it becomes more valued, insuring its preservation.
It has taken the last half century for our culture to gain an awareness of preserving the giant old-growth trees and forests. Because there are so few giant crystals, there is currently little awareness of preserving them. They are some of the most ancient, durable, and spectacular naturally occurring life forms of our planet, and yet in our world, there is only a sliver of awareness that they even exist. Having lain dormant for millions of years, they are being unearthed across the globe at an increasing rate and are regularly at risk of being cut into smaller pieces for commercial applications. With an awareness of Crystal Conservancy, this will change.
The process of restoration for these giants can last a year, sometimes more. Through this process, the crystal transforms, becoming a synergy of rarified earth, advanced lapidary technology, and articulate craftsmanship, culminating in a lasting expression of the splendor of life on earth, which future generations may behold and, perhaps, become enriched by.