Friday, March 18, 2016

Swakopmund, Namibia, Kristall Gallerie Mar 2016

While we were in Walvis Bay, we took a side trip 30 km up the road to Swakopmund, the main tourist destination here.  The town is over a hundred years old and has nice beaches for tourists.  The main draw for me, however, was the Kristall Gallerie, a building full of rocks and minerals on show.  Below is just one pretty amethyst geode with quartz crystals also growing out of it.  I put all these rock pictures on one blog so you can skip most of it if you aren't into that stuff.


The old parliamentary buildings are still in use today as government buildings.  The red and white tower in the background is the lighthouse on the beach.
An unusual statue of a fallen soldier in the main park there.

Another view of the lighthouse peeking up over the government building.  This government building is newer than most.
The old German architecture still stands out in this town, as shown by this 1906 home that is now the focal point for a new 15-unit luxury complex to be built.
The Kristall Gallerie building front is as unusual as the minerals inside.
Large chunks of red jasper sit in a rock garden outside the building.  Crime is very low in Namibia; good thing or these would be stolen if they were anywhere else.
A giant boulder with amethyst crystal bands running through it is another rock garden member.
Yet another example of crystals in a boulder in the rock garden.  Namibia is known for its mineral wealth.
Zigzagging geode-like stripes of crystals.
Karen next to some huge quartz crystal displays in the lobby.  Massive.
Giant crystal clusters pulled from a mine here in Namibia.
They have recreated the cave in which many of these crystals were found and you walk through the fake cave and can see how these quartz crystals were growing out of the walls.  Pretty cool, really.

You can see the facet of a huge crystal in a wall as you walk by.  Nothing stopping you from touch and feel here.
The back lighting makes this giant quartz crystal stand out.
More quartz crystals.
Jason moving on from the world's largest quartz crystal cluster on display.
Part of the giant cluster.
A large amethyst geode with a huge quartz crystal growing out of it.  These are so much prettier in person!
The size of so many of these specimens is mind-numbing.
This is a slab of the famous Pietersite, a new stone just found and named in 1962 here in Namibia.  It is usually a blue, gold, and/or red mix.  The colors lie in fibrous layers of rock, creating a shine much like tiger's eye.  It looks like blue and gold tiger's eye.
This is the rough Pietersite.  It is found only here and in one other place in China.
 A large meterorite from the Gibeon area.  When we went to Gibeon, nobody knew anything about the meteorites.  Nearly 22 tons of meteorite debris was collected from there and is on display in the capital, Windhoek.
Another huge crystal cluster above the meteorite.
A citrine geode as big as a person.
Tourmaline is a big show here, too.  These crystals are as big as my wrist.

I could imagine a slice of this crystal of tourmaline would be gorgeous in the light.
Amethyst geode with a quartz flower of crystals growing out of it.  Just like a picture.
Crystals on crystals.  What cool stuff from Mother Nature.
Big crystal clusters.
Another view of the picture-like scene inside a geode.  

These are actually real crystals growing on different mineral crystals.
Two halves of a huge geode of amethyst.  They really are the same color, but the light in the gallery is captured differently with the different angles of their display.
A double-ended quartz crystal
Looking down from the second floor onto the boulders in the rock garden out front.
Another double ended crystal.
A giant pile of iron pyrite/fool's gold.
The pyrite forms crystals but also these sand-dollar-like discs.
Iron pyrite with white crystals growing out of them.  Two minerals in tandem.  Lots of those in this gallery.
More pyrite discs and crystals.  The lighting washes out the brilliant gold color.
Pyrite crystal with quartz crystals attached.


Sphalerite, a mineral I know nothing about, but I think I found a chunk of it one day, so wanted to keep the info about it.
These dusky grey/green crystals are different.
There are tiny red crystals on top of these bigger grey ones, but the light just doesn't capture them well.
A big smoky quartz crystal.
Copper, a mineral Michigan was famous for in the past.
Odd shapes copper can take as it forms in cavities in the surrounding rock.
Beryl or aquamarine.  I saw so many crystals, my mind was spinning.
Sulphur crystal slabs.
More sulphur.
Such a bright yellow.
The varied colors of fluorite.  They look like cubes of Jello.
More fluorite.

Fluorite comes in white, too.
Some tropical fishes carved out of fluorite.  Tough to do, but the end result must be quite pretty.
I like this fluorite crystal.
A carved elephant in the window ledge of the second floor.
More tourmaline crystals.
You can see my legs reflected in the glass front of the display cabinet for these crystals.

Gypsum roses.
A chunk of Pietersite rough.

A slab of Pietersite. The color changes and the sheen comes when you or the rock moves in the light.
Another chunk of Pietersite rough.
And another slab of Pietersite.  We weren't allowed to take photos of the finished products in the shops of the gallery.
Pietersite.
 Tourmaline crystals.

Crystals growing on tourmaline crystals.
Watermelon tourmaline looks so pretty when sliced.
These signs for each of the minerals are full of the scientific info about them.

Crystals growing out of a bed of gypsum crystals.
A poster of the various shades and colors of tourmaline.
More crystals of tourmaline.
A closeup of one of them in a display.
The light shines on the fibrous-like facets of the crystal, robbing the photo of the brilliance of the color as seen in person.
You can get an idea of the various colors available in these clusters of tourmaline.
Several different crystals growing on the gypsum crystals.
A huge crystal of aquamarine.
Such a pretty pale aquamarine.
More examples of the aquamarine.
These are beryl crystals.
More pale green beryl.
Gypsum crystals are often called gypsum roses or desert roses as they are usually found in the arid areas of the desert.
More crystals.
Another view of a chunk of crystals

This looks like a bed of coals to me.
I think these are selenite crystals.
Selenite.  The people in the background are actually reflections behind me.
More selenite.

Amethyst.
More amethyst in a grey and pale purple.
The multi-colored, banded amethyst looks pretty unusual to me.

We visited the Kristall Gallerie on St. Patrick's Day, so this bright green dioptase caught my eye.  A very pretty color for the Irish.


More dioptase in a bright green.
Green for the Irish day.
Another pretty blue and green crystal cluster.
Pretty, eh?
More crystals, but I've lost track of which ones these are.
These grow like slabs out of the rock.
Schorl is one I'd never heard of.  I have to admit, there were several I'd not known before coming here.
Schorl is big chunky and black.
More schorl.
White crystals growing on the black reminded me of cauliflower.
This is a ball of Pietersite, rolling in one of those water fountains that keeps it turning.  It's about the size of a basketball.
You can see the blue and gold as it turns.
And still another shot of the turning sphere of Pietersite.
Outside they have a 'scratch patch', where they've scattered tumbled stones of many varieties in a mining venue.
The water wheel keeps the water flowing over these polished stones of all colors.
I spent many minutes just brushing my hands through these small polished stones in the water.
Another lot of polished stones in a dry environment.
'Puddles' of pretty stones.
Such pretty colors!
A small piece of Pietersite in the scratch patch.
More colors than you can shake a stick at.
The little mining venue of the scratch patch at the Kristall Gallerie.  If this place existed anywhere but here in Namibia, there would be a line waiting to get in and it would cost a whole lot more than the N$20 pp that we paid to spend hours here.  That's less than US$1.50!!!!  This place ranks up there with my favorites.
The last shot of the spinning sphere of Pietersite in the water fountain.
ANother shot of the three pieces of polished Pietersite that Myra and Paraic gave me as a present.  Just because they think I'm special and know I like rocks!  Paraic is a geology buff and loved this place, too.
The Kristall Gallerie took me hours to get through.   The shops attached to the gallery had finished jewelry for sale, but the prices were very high, especially for Namibia.  You could tell we were in a tourist town.  

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