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July-August 2017

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A Rare Find: Good Luck Prevails and a Spectacular Crystallized Gold Emerges

Since the commercial values of minerals, fossils, and other natural history items have escalated rapidly in the past forty years, a new breed of collectors has emerged, those who support themselves by effectively “living off the land.” In Switzerland and other alpine countries, collectors who go into the mountains to collect crystals and sell them for a profit are known as strahlers; in some South American countries they are called garimpeiros. Mostly in the western United States a small group of collectors have supported themselves by collecting crystals, gold, artifacts, and other such treasures from abandoned mines, ghost towns, and geological sites. 


Wayne Leicht and his wife, Dona, have owned and operated Kristalle in Laguna Beach, California, since 1974.

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