Wegner’s Crystal Mine

Zoie Clift
On this month’s AETN program Exploring Arkansas– with Chuck
Dovish, Wegner’s Quartz Crystal Mines in Mount Ida is featured. Dovish interviews owner
Richard Wegner and goes along with a group to dig for crystals at the Crystal
Forest Mine. If you might want to check out the video, it can be found here.
For those unfamiliar with Wegner’s, the opportunity to dig
for your own crystals at an actual working mine is available there. It’s also a
spot to learn first hand about geology and mining techniques. Here, groups have
a choice to dig at Phantom or Crystal Forest Mines. Owner Richard Wegner owns
218 acres in the area but the mines are leased from the U.S. Forest Service.
The Phantom mine is the most popular and productive mine and
home to the rare Phantom Crystals, manganese inclusions that look like smaller
dark crystals trapped within a larger clear crystal.
At 40 acres, The Crystal Forest Mine is the larger mine site
and well known for its clear gem quality crystals. The scenery surrounding the
mine is beautiful and what further stands out are the environmental practices
that are followed here. Contrary to popular mining practices of leaving a huge
open pit wound in the earth, Wegner’s restores the land when they are done
mining an area by replanting trees. The progressive practice has not gone
unnoticed and has been used as a study example by the Forest Service.
Also onsite is a barn which houses an impressive 10,000 sq.
ft retail shop where crystals from around the world can be found and bought.
Those interested can also work the gemstone sluice for precious and
semi-precious gemstones or collect crystals at the tailings pile. For more
details on Wegner’s, click here.
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