Michael Kallstrom, MS Geology, Manager at Nature's Treasures
Fluorite (CaF2) belongs to the cubic crystal system, meaning that it is one of the most symmetric minerals on Earth. The blocky crystal habit of Fluorite epitomizes organization, and from it one can learn how to process, store, and recall information. Many energetic healers also report that Fluorite can be used to reduce anxiety and mental stress. Despite being of the earth, many authors associate Fluorite with the element of Air, the element of the mind, analytical abilities, logic, travel, and communication. It’s no wonder this stone has been coined the “student’s stone”.
In addition to enhancing analytical abilities and reducing mental stress, Fluorite has been used to treat organs in the head (teeth, eyes, nose, ears, throat), repair DNA, and to rekindle sexual libido. Beyond that, the different colors of fluorite have additional properties. According to Judy Hall in The Crystal Bible, Blue Fluorite “amplifies your healing potential by tightly focusing brain activity,” while Clear Fluorite “harmonizes the intellect with the spirit,” grounding you for spiritual...more
Michael Kallstrom, MS Geology
Peridot, the birthstone for August, is the gem version of the mineral Forsterite (Mg2SiO4) that belongs to the Olivine Group. The name Olivine comes from this mineral group’s range of olive colors. The iron-rich end member (Fayalite – Fe2SiO4) is brown to black while the magnesium-rich end member is almost chartreuse, and any mixture in between has a light to dark yellow-green hue. Peridot has been known by many monikers including “the stone of the Sun,” and was even believed to be visible at night by the ancient Egyptians because of its radiance.
Historians and gemmologists debate whether to say “pear-i-dot” or “pear-i-doh,” but ultimately it depends on your audience. For the general public, either pronunciation is considered correct. Most gemmologists and collectors would insist that “pear-i-doh” is correct. However, according to most sources the word peridot likely traces back to the old French word peritot, meaning golden. Since there is no root word for peritot in the French language, many believe that it was adopted from the Arabic word faridat,...more
By Michael Kallstrom, MS Geology
Ruby gets its red color from trace amounts of chromium within this gem mineral. Therefore, it has a distinct hue that makes it stand out against the blues and greens of kyanite, fuchsite and zoisite. In all three cases the Rubies occur as red blebs in the blue or green backgrounds. In some cases the blebs can preserve the natural hexagonal crystal shape of the Ruby and appear highly angular against the more flowing blues and greens.
Ruby in Kyanite is the most distinct of these three variations visually speaking. Kyanite, Al2SiO5, is generally blue in color and makes it readily distinguished from Fuchsite or Zoisite, which are both green.
Zoisite, Ca2Al3(SiO4)3(OH), and Fucshite, K(Al,Cr)2(Si3AlO10)(OH)2, both get their green hue from the presence of chromium, the same element that turns Rubies red! Zoisite, which does NOT have chromium (Cr) in its chemical formula, is considered an allochromatic ('other colored') mineral because it gets its color from a trace impurity and can be different colors depending on which trace element is present. Fuchsite, on the...more
By: Michael J Kallstrom
Iolite is the blue-violet variety of the mineral cordierite, (Mg,Fe)2Al3(AlSi5O18). Cordierite has many interesting optical properties including a high birefringence and dichroism. Dichroism literally translates from Greek as “two colored” and describes when a mineral appears different colors down its different axes. In the case of Iolite, the gemstone changes color from yellow to purple, the color for which iolite is named (in Greek ios meaning “violet”). Despite its name, Iolite is better described as indigo in hue.
Iolite has a strong birefringence or polarizing effect, which could make it great for reducing glare when fashioned into a lens. According to Robert Weldon, director of the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center, this property of Iolite made it useful for ancient Vikings to navigate the seas when it was cloudy out and Iolite became known as “Viking Compass Stone”. The idea of Iolite acting as a tool for guidance and navigation has pervaded into modern metaphysical and spiritual uses for this stone as well.
Iolite is probably the...more
Lori Lytle Coleman, owner of the Spanish Stirrup Rock Shop, got her rock hounding bug while farming with her late husband in the Mississippi Delta in the 1980's. It started with picking up rocks in the field before planting then became a fascination with arrowheads on the surface after a good rain. She went on to collect petrified wood from the creeks and streams in the Mississippi hill country during hunting season. Family vacations to Arkansas were for fishing and collecting quartz crystals.
After retiring they decided to move to Deming, NM to hunt for Thunder Eggs. This is where the Spanish Stirrup Rock Shop began. Propped on top of a hill not far from Rockhound State Park is Lori's home, once called the Spanish Stirrup Guest Ranch. You see, the family that donated the ground where Rockhound State Park is now located is the same family that founded and settled the area and named what is now Lori's home. The name Spanish Stirrup came from the discovery of a conquistador’s stirrup up in the Big Florida Mountain after a day of herding goats. It was placed in the saddle bag...more
by Michael Kallstrom, MS Geological Sciences
Agate is a rock comprised of layers of cryptocrystalline quartz known as chalcedony. Each layer represents a different period of mineralization, and thus has a unique character. When different elements or mineral inclusions are taken up by the chalcedony layers, they may have specific colors or patterns. Although the exact mechanics of Agate formation can still be considered highly debated, the basic principles for formation require that a cavity fill with a mineral-rich fluid that deposits quartz one layer at a time. This means that in any Agate, the outermost ring is the oldest layer with a new layer being deposited one after another. The highly varied banding that results is what has set agate apart as a gemstone since 3000 BC, although in modern times these gems are valued based on their geographic source locality as well as their patterns. Since ancient times Agates have been used for adornments and household objects (both secular and sacred) because of their many mystical properties outlined below. First, let us take note of how different Agates get their names....more
By Michael J. Kallstrom, MS Geoscience
Citrine, the golden variety of quartz, has long been sought after by collectors for its vibrant color and by healers for its ability to dispel gloom and manifest wealth. However, much of the citrine found on the market today began as a very different member of the quartz family, purple amethyst!
By Folade Speaks, Photo Credits: Folade Speaks
It’s that time! Back to school is chock-full of items to consider and an opportunity to seek out resources that can help students in their classes this year. As an educator and former private tutor, I know firsthand the fears that students generally carry with them into school. In a tutoring session, my first few questions usually included, “What do you fear most about school?” and “If you procrastinate, what causes you to procrastinate?” What they didn’t know is that those answers were the places I would begin really digging into during their sessions with me. Once we identify our fears, rapid growth happens when we face the fears and work through them. We are then empowered and more joyful, one less thing weighing our shoulders.
In my network are many educators, and they are surely planting crystals in the corners of their classrooms, on their desks, and windowsills. These catalysts are teaching their students about the benefits of these crystal gifts from our Supreme Mother, Gaia, and how they can be used to enhance learning, protection, confidence, team building and...more
By Michael J. Kallstrom, MS Geosciences
Herkimer Diamonds are not diamonds at all! In fact, they are clear, double-terminated (pointed on both ends) QUARTZ crystals found hosted in the dolostone layers of Herkimer County, New York. Belonging to the quartz family, Herkimer Diamonds have the chemical formula SiO2 and belong to the hexagonal crystal system. Although double-terminated quartz can occur in many places across the globe, only those found in Herkimer County can be called "Herkimer Diamonds," and few other localities produce examples pristine enough to rival natural diamonds as a gemstone. Herkimer Diamonds have crystal clarity and a natural crystal habit that appears faceted because of the 18 crystal faces visible in most specimens. These characteristics result in a natural sparkle that can only be obtained in the faceted diamonds of jewelry stores through time-consuming work. In addition, Herkimer Diamonds have a hardness of 7 out of 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making them extremely durable for everyday wear and tear. In addition to this resistance to scratching, Herkimer...more
By Michael J. Kallstrom
Turquoise has a long standing history in the world that goes so far back as to predate its own name. Although the oldest piece of turquoise jewelry was found on a 7,500 year old mummy, the name turquoise, meaning "Turkish stone," was not coined until the early 13th century. The stone was given this name because Europeans believed it originated in Turkey, although it was discovered later that its presence there resulted from extensive trade with Egypt (Gems in Myth, Legend and Lore, Knuth). Turquoise continues to rank as one of the most popular gemstones throughout the spans of time, and is both the traditional and modern day birthstone for December.
Despite its earliest recorded history in "the Old World," Turquoise has rich cultural meaning to our Native American nations as well. It is known by some as "the stone that stole its color from the sky." The sky-blue color in turquoise results from the presence of copper in secondary copper mineral deposits that are prevalent in the Southwest. Despite the diverse cultures of the Native American peoples, the stone...more
by Michael J. Kallstrom
"O Sing, choirs of angels | sing in exultation" begins the second verse of the well-known Western Christmas carol "O Come, All Ye Faithful". As this song resounds in one's mind, this particular stanza may reverberate with an alternative meaning.
One could easily replace the "u" in exultation, defined as a feeling of jubilation or rejoicing, with the letter "a" to make it exaltation, which has two meanings: (1) a state of extreme happiness (similar to exultation), or (2) an action of elevating someone in rank, power, or character. What this substitution brings to light is that singing helps us to achieve a higher state of happiness and general well-being.
Now, singing is not limited to vocalists and string instruments. Singing Bowls, whether made of crystal or the traditional Tibetan "seven metals", have long been used in Eastern tradition to elevate the spirit. By running a special mallet firmly along the outer rim of a singing bowl, friction causes the air molecules within the bowl to vibrate and move resulting in a sound wave. As these...more
by Michael J. Kallstrom
All fossils are rocks, but not all rocks are fossils. Once-living organisms can become preserved and, under the right conditions, the organic tissues of the organism can slowly become replaced by minerals such as calcite or quartz turning the remains into stone. This process applies to wood as well as the better known ammonites and dinosaur bones most people think of as fossils.
Petrified wood can occur in any number of colors due to trace elements that find their way into the replacement minerals. Because this process occurs atom by atom, many of the wood structures and textures can be perfectly preserved including bark, knots, and even tree rings! Sometimes the knots and hollows of a limb will fill in with druzy quartz. Although most petrified wood ends up replaced by the chalcedony member of the quartz family, some specimens have been known to form from hematite and even malachite replacement. This process can take thousands of years to occur after the decades to centuries of life represented by the wood itself.
As one would...more
By Michael J. Kallstrom, MS Geosciences
In modern times most people know amethyst as the February birthstone. However, Amethyst has a rich history in mythology and lore spanning time and the globe. The name is derived from the Greek word amethustos meaning 'not drunken,' although the etiological (origin) story for amethyst was not relayed until 1576 by a French poet named Remy Belleau (Knuth, Gems in Myth, Legend, and Lore, Revised Edition, 2007).
Several variations of this story exist, but since I am a romantic, I have chosen to tell the following version...Once upon a time, the Greek god of wine, Dionysus, fell madly in love with a fair maiden name Amethyste who he pursued relentlessly, drunk with love. However, Amethyste refused his advances and wished to remain chaste. She beseeched the virgin goddess, Artemis, to protect her virtue. The goddess, therefore, turned Amethyste into a pillar of white crystal. Dionysus, being humbled by Amethyste's desire to remain chaste, poured wine on the crystals as an offering that turned them forever the color of grapes.
Karen Richards is a daily fixture for countless Austin commuters. Delicately seated inside a giant amethyst geode, Richards has smiled radiantly
from a highly visible I-35 billboard for Nature’s Treasures since she opened her metaphysical rock shop in 2000. “Everyone feels like they know me
because they see me for two seconds every day. My energy really becomes a part of people’s lives,” she says.
In person, Richards’ energy is certainly contagious, and she wholeheartedly believes in the power of the rare gems and minerals Nature’s Treasures
is known for, saying, “Things are put in front of us every day to learn from and absorb, but if we’re not ready, we miss it.” At age 65, she speaks from
a lifetime of experience, guided intuitively by what she calls “the spirit” throughout decades of cross-country adventures, passionate romances and
nearly a dozen of her own businesses, which included a color copy and computer graphics company. In another life, she posed for Playboy and
jet-setted with Hollywood...more
There's a buzz phrase in the world of crystal healing...Negative Entropic Quartz. There are a number of different types of quartz crystals differentiated by mineral content and formation such as Generator crystals, Transmitters, Channelers and Elestials among other Master Crystals. Each formation generates a different energy and specializes in working with various human elements. Information about this quartz energy is being channeled and received called Negative Entropic.
So what is Negative Entropic Quartz? The crystals can be found in a quartz vein from Mt Ida, Arkansas all the way up to Brokenbow, Oklahoma. Some time during their growth history they were traumatized so severely that several fractures occurred within the typical structure which gives them a "sparkly" appearance. Some say they appear to be of the stars, reflecting the light of the universe. The clusters have a "sugary" coating of smaller crystals, which continue to generate new crystal growth. Some clusters have a small dark nodule on the underneath side. These nodules seem to contain "source energy" and...more
Superman's Fortress of Solitude! In actuality, this is a gypsum (aka "selenite") crystal from the Naica Mine in Chihuahua, Mexico. The "Cavern of Crystal Giants" featured in National Geographic (ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/crystal-giants/shea-text) hosted half-a-million year old crystals up to 100 feet in length! The crystals at Nature's Treasures were found 100s of feet below the surface of the mine in a maze of interconnected caverns. Based on the size of these crystals (a solid 2-4 feet in length), I guess you could think of them as baby "Hagrid" crystals (referring to the famous half-giant, half-human wizard from Harry Potter) Look through our gallery below!more
Michael Kallstrom, BS, MS Geology
Ametrine is a rare gem variety of quartz named for its naturally occurring combination of purple AMEthyst with yellow ciTRINE. These two color varieties are believed to occur together because of a process known as twinning by which two chemically distinct quartz crystals intergrow. The amethyst gets its color from Fe4+, while citrine is colored by Fe3+. Synthetic versions of ametrine can be made in a lab, but this process is considered difficult and costly. Heat treatment of amethyst to create citrine cannot generally produce ametrine because heating causes all purple hues to turn yellow.
However, Nature’s Treasures of Texas recently received a batch of heat-treated amethyst (now citrine) that contained something interesting. Many of the citrine points received were dark golden brown or even black on the surface. Upon closer inspection, we noticed something unique about many of the citrine points…some contained traces of purple at their heart still! We theorize that when these citrines were baked, they were baked too hot for a short period of time (“flash heating”)...more
We are working to become an Austin Green Business Leader!
Retrofitting and replacing store lights with energy efficient LED bulbs
Reducing paper by switching to a low energy POS system.
Switching from bottled water to a water filtration system.
Using rechargeable batteries.
All of our furniture, office equipment and supplies are post consumer
We currently divert 75% of our waste from going into a landfill via recycling and compost.more
By David Wilfong
Earthy elements may elicit crystal clarity
By David Wilfong SPECIAL TO STATESMAN HOMES
Some people use classic art prints to decorate the interior of their homes. Others go for the “arts and crafts” motif, or at least a vintage look. Others are more the “salt of the earth” crowd, and as it turns out, a good-size chunk of natural salt can be fashioned into an interesting lamp. Karen Richards, owner of Nature’s Treasures, 4103 N. Interstate 35 in Austin, sees a lot of these people and deals in natural rocks, crystals, fossils and more that can be fashioned into all sorts of home-décor items. “There’s everything from plates and bowls made of banded onyx to amethysts so large you could sit inside them,” Richards said. “Lamps are huge things, especially the Himalayan salt lamps. “Some folks have the metaphysical belief that rocks represent different things, like amethyst is for healing or rose quartz represents love, but we have a huge customer base that just loves bringing nature into their home.” Many customers also choose rock selections to use in...more
by Michael Kallstrom
Saturday & Sunday, November 14 & 15, 9am - 5pm
Admission: $3/adult, $2/child (6-12), children under 6 free.
Special rates may apply for school, scout and youth groups.
Location: Old Settler's Heritage Association (inside)
Next to the Dell Diamond on US Highway 79, Round Rock, TX 3 miles east of IH-35
More info: http://www.austinpaleo.org/fest.htmlmore
“Levity helps us rise above whatever has been bringing us down.”
-- Swami Beyondananda
Dear Friends, Fans and Co-Hearts:
Cosmic comic Swami Beyondananda, whose favorite yoga pose is tongue-in-cheek, will be bringing his brand of enlightening humor to the Nature's Treasures in Austin on Friday October 23rd and you are invited to join in the fun!
Maybe you’ve never seen the Swami before and are wondering, “A cosmic comic Swami? How does that work?" Or maybe you’ve heard about the Swami but haven’t yet gone to his show. So … why should you show up at this show?
Well, of course there is the simple answer: Why not?
But if you’re like most of the folks we know, you aren’t satisfied with simple answers. You want complex answers. OK, well we have come up with enough complex reasons for coming to see these show to satisfy anyone’s complex. Hopefully one or more of the Top Ten Reasons below will ring your bell and spur you to buy one or more tickets. Here goes:
# 10. The...more