|Location:||Bonsecours, Eastern Townships. I10 exit 90, 243 through Waterloo, past Lawrenceville turn right onto Rang 11 to the mine.|
Store and Museum:
JUN Sat, Sun 10:30-17.
JUL to AUG daily 10:30-17.
SEP Sat, Sun 10:30-17.
JUN Sat, Sun 11, 13:30, 15.
JUL to AUG daily 11, 13:30, 15.
SEP Sat, Sun 11, 13:30, 15.
Mine Tours: Adults CAD 8, Children (4-18) CAD 7, Children (0-3) free, Students CAD 7, Seniors CAD 7.
Groups (40+): not on Sat, Sun, reservation and deposit required.
|Light:||Incandescent Electric Light System|
|Guided tours:||D=60 min., V=15,000/a. () ()|
|Address:||Mine Cristal, 430 Rang 11, Bonsecours, Québec, Canada, J0E 1H0, Tel: +1-450-535-6550. E-mail:|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1959||Adams Quartz and Crystal Mine founded by Joseph-Armand Bombardier.|
|1989||Mine Cristal Inc. founded by Gaudry and Pauline Normand.|
Quartz is the most common mineral of Earth's crust, about 30% of all rocks is SiO2. Nevertheless, it is generally a component of the rock or found in form of rough veins. Crystals grow in waterfilled holes, bubbles or clefts. It needs a lot of time and the right conditions concerning pressure, temperature and ground water chemistry, and so fine rock crystals are rare. There are only ten regions on Earth where top quality crystals are found and mined: the Himalayas, Madagascar, Brazil, Columbia, Arkansas (U.S.A.), Africa, Russia, Birma, China and here in Québec. Until today 32 different varieties of quartz crystals have been found here.
The quartz crystals of Québec are estimated to be 300 million years old.
The Mine Cristal is the only quartz crystal mine in Canada. It was founded by Joseph-Armand Bombardier in 1959 under the name Adams Quartz and Crystal Mine. The quartz rock was mined for industrial uses. After some years one of the founding partners discovered the fine minerals among the rough quartz rocks and put them aside. He sold a small amount of minerals, and during several years the mine got a solid reputation with museums, universities and collectors worldwide. The result was the foundation of Mine Cristal Inc. by Gaudry and Pauline Normand in 1989. They offer three services around the crystals: mining, tourism and education.
The shop furniture was built using the massive, hand-squared logs of a 100 year old church. This gives the right frame for the presentaion of crystals from this mine and from other mines. A large selection of objects made of semiprecious stones is sold, jewelry, crystal balls, pyramids, lamps, musical instruments, and much more. Of course visitors may just stroll through the shop and enjoy it like a well stocked museum.
Visits to the mine are only possible with a guide. The guide has been specially trained in geology and mineralogy, so he can present a lot of fascinating information on the world of quartz crystals. The mine is open cast, with white veins of quartz, the origin of the fine crystals. Depending on the weather sun protection and, more often, an umbrella or jacket might be a good idea.
The mine is mined only during a 10-day period each year. The crystals are removed by hand, a process which is called harvesting crystals. The mining technique is called hydro-extraction mining, as water is used to dislocate the minerals. The use of explosives would destroy the fragile crystals.
The museum is in the same building as the store. Some of the most beautiful specimens from the mine are on display. There were crystals found up to 60 cm in length. Also on display are several giant crystals from Brazil which are more than one metre long. There are educational programmes like numerous workshops and concerts for those who wish to enrich and deepen their knowledge and experience.
The site was formerly known as Sanctuaire du Cristal, but this name is not used any more. But it is still frequently used on webpages.