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Breathtaking crystal.

By Elliot J. Nitkin

firmly held conviction that I have so often expressed in my blog is that art is anything you believe it to be.

This is especially true of the presentation of natural crystals, fine minerals and fossils as sculptural pieces.

At first this might seem to be a silly statement, until one looks at what can be the breathless presentation of these pieces as eye-catching centrepieces in your home and office.

I have had the privileged to add three pieces from Crystalworks of Vancouver to my gallery space at the River Rock Casino.  I have been thrilled to be working with the Lipsett family whose expertise has come from decades of searching for, and marketing natural crystals, fine minerals and fossils.

Their business began in 1985 with trips to Arkansas where they hunted for crystal and lived in a tent surviving windstorms, unbearable heat (114o F), snakes, spiders and a hotel manager out of “Deliverance” with a gun and a pinky finger in place of a thumb.

They also began this journey at a time when getting a bank loan was difficult, without a guarantee from a male relative.

The Lipsett ladies though, were determined and refused to stop their quest to prove these pieces could be an art-form unto themselves.  They did so by working from home for years, selling to anyone who was interested, eventually building a world class gallery that now resides in the Armory District of Vancouver.

All this leads to the question: how are crystals, minerals and fossils art?  Jewellery holds our fascination because it is bright, shiny, colourful and to one degree or another represents rarity. Imagine enjoying that experience on your coffee or dining room table and in your living room, den or even in your bathroom.

Stone sculpture has for centuries been used to denote power, military might and to immortalize fallen heroes for posterity.  Working these pieces into valued shapes takes incredible talent so it is little wonder that these edifices have been placed all over the western world.

While these engrossing displays of wealth and prosperity are edifying to experience, they cannot be enjoyed in the home and can leave the viewer with a sense of disconnection from the art, as its ownership is beyond reach.

The common person can experience the natural beauty of crystals, fossils and minerals by simply allowing him or herself to be intoxicated by their depth of colour, an abundance of pattern and perhaps materials that add texture to their presentation, and certainly the centuries it took for mother-nature to prepare a piece just to be mined.

Crystals and minerals can induce an ethereal experience for the viewer in much the same manner as does hand blown glass.  But they also have the added value of having been created over millennia.

Knowing that a polisher must hone his or her talents over years has a palatable effect on experiencing a painting.  Add to that the knowledge that a piece took hundreds of lifetimes just to become ready for the polisher’s input is an effect entirely unto itself.

Finally, the knowledge that a nature has created a precise pattern not susceptible in any way to duplication offers the viewer a remarkably artistic experience.

To view some catalogued pieces click here.

The River Rock Casino

The three pieces at the River Rock are the following:

Banded Jasper, Madagascar $2,800.00 (CDN) plus tax.

Banded jasper is a form of chalcedony which owes its red color to iron inclusions. It formed over 500 million years ago in the fiery depths of the earth. This piece was hand sculpted and polished by skilled artisans at a fair trade factory in Madagascar.

Fancy Agate slice, Brazil $2,200.00 (CDN) plus tax.

Fancy agate is the name given to agates when they display a rainbow of color and intricate shapes. This slice comes from Rio Grande du Sol in the same general vicinity as the amethyst mines. It formed over 100 million years ago. The blue and purple colors are rare to find, this piece is totally natural without any dies or treatments to enhance the tones.

Petrified wood slice, Arizona $3,800.00 (CDN) plus tax.

Petrified or fossilized wood is wood that has been replaced with silica and has mineralized to the point of turning into stone. The red and yellow colors are due to inclusions of iron. This fossil wood is over 220 million years old.

There are any number of uses for these pieces and I would be very happy to assist you with arranging this experience in your space.

Private viewings can be arranged, so please feel free to contact us. We would be very happy to assist you in any way necessary for any space, home or office.