Cracking geodes



René loves to tell the story of when he hit a big agate geode in Agate creek in the early sixties. The agate burst open and there were crystals inside. His passion was ignited.

Cracking open a hollow Mexican geode is exactly like that, just with a bit more comfort and guarantee.

René first brought geodes back from Mexico in 2003. The geodes are mined in depths of up to 35 meters deep and they are chipped from the relatively soft mine face by pick-axe. About a third of all geodes brought to the surface in hollow geodes suitable for cracking.

Geodes began as gas bubbles in volcanic lava approximately 44 million years ago. As the lava cooled, the outer shell of the bubble hardened. Then silica and other minerals leached into the cavity every time it rained. The trapped ingredients slowly formed layers of agate and crystals over millions of years.

His original haul from that first trip to Mexico was 1.5 tonnes and since then about 2.5 tonnes have been cracked each year.

For Rene and the staff at The Crystal Caves, cracking geodes continues to be one of the best parts of the job. Each geode is unique and it’s exciting to see the awe and delight register on the faces of children and adults alike when the specially built geode cracker is ratcheted up and breaks the round rock in two, exposing the beautiful crystal sparkling inside.

The contents of the geodes are identified and if the geode is missing the sparkle or a solid one snuck through the grading process, the customer gets to have another go. Cracking geodes is not a gamble, its guaranteed.

While the customer is always the first person ever to see the inside of the 44-million-year-old geode, the staff get to see them all and that’s pretty special.

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