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July-August 2017

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The Smoky Mountain Crystal Prospect, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania

The Discovery

In late May of 2015 Kelly Hilmer was prospecting the Llewellyn Formation of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, because of a tip she received from a former employee. The employee reported that he had found white “bull” quartz on land not far from where Hilmer lives. Her first few visits to the site were unproductive as far as collecting specimens of quartz crystals was concerned, except for some very abundant small clear quartz points. On 6 June 2015, she started actually digging for the first time only to discover a layer of compact sand below the downslope regolith and above bedrock, a thick layer of hard sandstone. Eventually these excavations produced a small doubly terminated smoky quartz crystal “floater.” 


John S. White, a consulting editor of Rocks & Minerals, operates Kustos, a museum/collector consulting business. Now retired, he is the former curator-in-charge of the National Mineral and Gem Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

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