Tucson Treasures!

Rutilated Smokey Quartz and Chlorite Phantom Crystals

Truth be told, Oregon is not my favorite place in February. By this time in the year, many of us are feeling pretty soggy and surly in the grey weather that feels like it has lasted a lifetime. Seasonal depression is in full swing and the memory of summer is like a long distance friend we haven’t seen for a while. It is at this time that I head south for the Tucson Gem and Mineral show.

Tucson has been hosting this interesting mix of rock hounds, collectors, international traders and hippies for over 60 years. The event is huge and shows pop up all over the city, more than 40 in total ranging in size and seriousness. This is my favorite time of the year-- better than Christmas. This is crystal christmas. 2017 is my fourth year attending and I couldn’t be more excited to share some of the gorgeous and unique specimens I’ve brought back to the shop. Here are a few of my personal favorites.  

Rutilated Smokey Quartz - Rutilated quartz contains beautiful golden rays of rutile needles encased inside of a quartz crystal. I came across a giant booth of rough, rutilated smokey quartz which seemed to be a combination of two of my favorite stones that I had never seen before! Rutilated quartz is said to be full of buzzing energy that will invigorate whatever you apply it to. Smokey quartz is a protective, grounding stone traditionally known to dispel negative energy. In my mind, the combination of the two means that people that are detrimental to you will be motivated to KEEP MOVING. One of my books even mentions that rutilated quartz can help you instantly determine if a person or situation has “bad vibes.”  

Altar PDX Rutilated Smokey Quartz

Amethyst Cathedrals - This year I drove through eastern Oregon, through Nevada to Tucson so that I could drag some even bigger specimens home and not have to worry about TSA. Here they are! I brought back a number of these gorgeous Amethyst cathedrals and they are making me so happy lately (I’ve been keeping the back stock in my home!). These fit right in among the houseplants. If you see any giant crystals in the shop, please inquire! They are all for sale but just glittering along in the meantime amid our displays, making everything look prettier until someone takes them home!

Altar PDX Amethyst Cathedrals


Chlorite Phantom Crystals - These crystals are said to ‘resonate with the heart of the earth’ and nature spirits. Crystals that contain phantoms are formed when a deposit of chlorite occurs on the quartz and the quartz continues to grow around it, causing the green inclusions. These are said to help us connect with the earth and nature around us as well as facilitate self-healing. 

Altar PDX Chlorite Phantom Crystals Connecting with Earth Nature to Facilitate Self-Healing

 Aura Quartz - Even though these are man-made we still love them. Aura quartz is made through a process where the crystal’s surfaces are bonded with a vaporized or very fine powder of gold, titanium, niobium or indium. The color is not merely sprayed or painted on, and will last indefinitely. We searched through a lot of these as they have become increasingly popular thanks to Instagram. We’ve sourced some of the most beautiful, high quality pieces in a variety of colors and styles, all with a bit of iridescent flash.  

Altar PDX Instagram Popular Aura Iridescent Crystals

Lastly, we have received so many inquiries from those of you wanting to learn more about crystals so I met with the publishers of The Pocket Book of Stones and brought back a few of guides for the shop! I love this book because it’s small and portable but still packed with information. There is an appendix in the back that helps you identify stones based on the physical and spiritual things they can help you with.  There are recommendations for stones for all sorts of purposes from ‘dark night of the soul’ (apophyllite) to  ‘a-ha! experiences’ (blue calcite.) It’s a fun read.

When we weren’t running around like crazy hoarders dragging boxes of rocks back to the car, we were able to soak in some sun and take in the desert setting with it’s array of cactus and succulent varieties. I’m from western Colorado originally and the desert reminds me of home; I am in my happy place when I’m here.  Hopefully these crystals carry back some of that peaceful, sunny energy to you. If you can’t head South yourself, find other ways to take care of your mind. My advice is vitamin D supplements, some form of exercise, drinking less alcohol, setting achievable goals, meditation, and getting laid if you can swing it. ;)  


Stay strong and take care of each other, this has been an awful Winter but Spring is on it’s way.

(Images by Altar PDX)

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