The Crystal Caves Facts & Facets


Owners and creators: René and Nelleke Boissevain

Manager: Ghislaine Gallo (nee Boissevain)

Size of caves: 300 square metres

No of specimens: 600

Building history: First cave built 1987, expanded 1992 with tunnels, chambers, grottos and crawlspaces

How big now: 5 chambers

No of egg cartoons used for soundproofing:4500

No of houses sold to finance project: 1, René’s own dwelling

Value of collection: Millions of dollars

How old is René now: At 80, René is still very fit and cutting and polishing agates

How many visitors: More than 250,000

Awards: 1999 Significant Regional Attraction, TNQ Tourism Awards

Biggest purchase: Massive amethyst geode in 2007 for US$120,000

Best seat in the house: A 525kg rose quartz boulder – perfectly shaped to lie down and rest your weary body

Heights René’s gone to: The Andes Mountains of Peru and one mine at 5000m altitude

Hottest location: Cave of the Crystals in Mexico cave with Selenite crystals, some longer than a bus, in 60 degrees celsius

Oldest item: 385-million-year-old marine fossils

Previous jobs René had: mink farmer, guinea fowl breeder, and tobacco grader