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Dig nixed at quartz festival

By Ellis Widner

This article was published October 11, 2012 at 3:16 a.m.

— Rockhounds, start your picks and shovels!

The annual celebration of all things quartz crystal gets under way Friday at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Mount Ida.

The Quartz, Quiltz and Craftz Festival is a threeday event that includes a fine gem and mineral show, local arts and crafts, food, jewelry, a quilt show with more than 150 quilts and music.

It also was supposed to be the 25th annual World Championship Quartz Crystal Dig.

But the Dig has been canceled this year for what the Mount Ida Chamber of Commerce website states as “mine restrictions and other regulations and economy restrictions beyond our control.”

However, two mines — Fiddlers Ridge and Sweet Surrender — are opening to those who like to dig in the clay and dirt and find their own sparkling treasures. For those who would rather let others do all that, there’s the gem and mineral show.

Mount Ida crystals are well-known for their clarity and beauty, says Mike Howard, mineralogist with the Arkansas Geological Survey and co-author of Collecting Crystals: The Guide to Quartz in Arkansas.

The Mount Ida Chamber promotes the area as the “Quartz Crystal Capital of the World.”

Many of the different quartz crystals’ formations are found here, including clusters, which contain several crystals; double terminated quartz, which has a point on each end; phantoms, which occur when a new crystal is formed over an existing one with the visible older crystal as the “phantom”; tabular or tabby crystals, which are thin and plate-like; and cactus quartz, so-called because of its resemblance to a cactus, with stickers going out in all directions.

Quartz, Quiltz

and Craftz

Festival

9 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday-Sunday, Montgomery County Fairgrounds, Mount Ida

Admission: Free

(870) 867-2723

mtidachamber.com

Weekend, Pages 34 on 10/11/2012

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