On the roads of Namibia close to Spitzkoppe, there is poverty-stricken community that have started a crystal market to earn money. The market is mining precious stones to sell to tourists as souvenirs. Many people have different views on gems and crystals, spiritual, enthusiast, beauty or to support the local community, no matter what you like about them there is a wide range for everyone to choose from.
Many people support this, and it can be fascinating to see all the different stones that Namibia has to offer, ranging from raw and still muddy rocks, to great cut open slabs with crystals layering the inside or jewellery from high polished gems. There have been a few known instances of some items being coloured glass and worth nothing and not having a receipt at a border when found has been confiscated, this personally has never happened to me nor any of my friends, so hopefully these are rare isolated cases.
There are many types of items of real interest, one of my favourites is green fluorite. This is a light green crystal (also comes in yellow) , at first it seems like a simple and boring rock but when you get to a quiet and dark place with a fire lit, toss one in when there are just hot coals and no flames, sit away from the fire and watch, slowly the rock will turn bright glowing green and starts to shoot off pieces of glowing rock. It is quite a nice party trick, although do it after cooking on the fire and in a well-ventilated area, the fumes can spoil food and can be poisonous when ingested specially with people who may have allergies to the gasses released, but if you’re just interested in a bit of a colour change, UV light will make it glow blue.
Pietersite was only recently discovered in 1962 in Namibia and is the only known place it is found. It is rather an ugly stone at first, very muddy look and gloomy but said to be a mixture of different gems like tigers’ eye and hawk’s eye. I was impressed to see the polished result, it’s an entrancing piece that reminds you of a massive dust storm almost swirling in the rock as you look at it. I would recommend this one if you would like it as a souvenir, as it is a true original piece of Namibia.
Desert roses are quite spectacular, they are found in more dry countries and depending on the minerals involved they can appear to be random scattered circular plates clustered together. The name comes from the clusters that are more impressively grouped, with forms that seem an almost exact mould of a rose or a bouquet touched by stone, truly fantastic masterpiece. Take care as they are rather delicate and easily chip,
These are just a few of the top crystals I have come across, there are many others and all with their own unique stories.