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May-June 2011

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The New Crystal Hunters Project and Episode One: Pala

For years I have heard collectors lament the decrease in the number of young people pursuing interests in minerals and mineral collecting. Bryan Swoboda, of BlueCap Productions (, is doing his part to reverse this trend through the New Crystal Hunters project. This series of two-hour videos traces the adventures of young collectors at some of North America's premier mineral specimen deposits. In the first episode of the New Crystal Hunters we join Brooks, Max, and Lauren on their collecting trip to the world-famous gem mines of Pala, California (see reviews on the following page). Episode two takes us to Arkansas where we visit the Crater of Diamonds State Park and Ron Coleman's quartz mine in search of crystal treasures. The latest available episode visits the Smoky Hawk claim on Colorado's Pikes Peak where some of the world's finest smoky quartz and amazonite specimens are currently being found. Now in production, episode four will take another group of young collectors to the fluorescent mineral deposits of Franklin and Sterling Hill, New Jersey. Having led numerous class field trips to Sterling Hill, I know that the fluorescence imagery in this upcoming episode will be something fantastic to behold. The New Crystal Hunters is a truly worthy endeavor aimed at sparking the interest of children and adults alike in the fascinating and rewarding pursuit of mineral collecting and study. All episodes are available for purchase through the New Crystal Hunters website ( for $24.99 each. One goal of BlueCap Productions is to put a free copy of these DVDs into the hands of every kid who wants one. To help with this effort they are soliciting donations from organizations and individuals. Information about available donor packages can be found at

Dr. John Rakovan, an executive editor of Rocks & Minerals, is a professor of mineralogy and geochemistry at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

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