Colossal crystal for Naturalis

May 26th, 2023
A 9 year old boy looking at a crystal that's much larger than he is

A gigantic rock crystal of approximately 1750 kilos can be seen in Naturalis from Saturday. The giant crystallized quartz cluster is on display in the “Earth” room.

A cluster of rock crystal measuring 2 by 1 by 1.5 meters and weighing approximately 1750 kilos is exceptional. It is rare that quartz has the chance to crystallize, as it is usually trapped between other minerals. If quartz forms the purest possible crystals - so-called gemstone quality - then this has happened under very special circumstances. This is all the case with the new crystal from Naturalis. According to gemstone expert Hanco Zwaan of Naturalis, there is virtually no chance that a cluster of such size will surface again somewhere. Visitors get the unique opportunity to admire the giant cluster.

Found and formed
This crystal is estimated to have been formed about 270 million years ago, under Mount Ida in the US state of Arkansas. This happened under unique circumstances. At a fracture zone, thick layers of sand and clay were transformed into sandstone and shale. When the rocks were pushed up to form the current mountain range 280 million years ago, many cracks appeared in the rock layers. Hot groundwater circulated through these cracks, in which much silicon from surrounding rocks was dissolved. This water then cooled in the openings created by the cracks, creating large amounts of the silicon-rich mineral quartz. Perfect, pure quartz crystals could form in some places against the walls of the cracks: rock crystal. In Naturalis, the cluster will be a wonderful addition to the “Earth” room where the crystal will be on display from this Saturday. This space is dedicated to geological processes and the structure of our planet.

The purchase
The crystal has been in Swiss hands until now. An alpinist and crystal seeker, who has devoted his life to finding rock crystal, displayed this masterpiece in his private museum. After his death 20 years ago, the family continued with the museum. Now they wanted to close it anyway, but they wanted to keep this piece accessible to the public. That is why Naturalis, thanks to the mediation of Stone Gallery in Baarn, was the first to be given the opportunity to buy it. "We hardly ever buy objects", Naturalis general director Edwin van Huis clarifies, "So the fact that we did in this case already indicates what an exceptional piece it is." Financial support for the purchase came from the Mondriaan Fund and a gift from world famous DJ and producer Martijn Garritsen (Martin Garrix), who is an mineralogy enthusiast and collector of minerals.

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More information
not for publication

  • A high-resolution version of the image used above, as well as some clips, can be found in this folder.
  • For more information contact us at But please be aware that:
  • No, Martin Garrix not available for interviews about his donation
  • If you want to know more about this crystal, or gems in general, our Hanco Zwaan is the man to talk to. 
  • More information about Stone Gallery can be found on their website