After Chicago they went to Arkansas. Siddhanathaswami writes:
We had a wonderful visit with Jim and Terri Coleman at their facility in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas.
Our Iraivan crystal was found by Jim in the 70s. They were gracious hosts that spent about 2.5 hours with us! We arrived at their rock shop on the side of Highway 7.
Jim, a real miner with the back pain to prove it, greeted us then took us to his processing facility near his home.
He showed us what he had in stock then immediately started with fantastic stories. Crystals grow in an amazing way. They grow in veins of clay between sandstone walls. They only grow pointing north-south on both sides of the sandstone walls.
The large face of the single-pointed crystals points down going towards the center of the vein, then points up to the bottom of the vein. The largest crystals form at the center, but in many cases, break off and move through the clay to the bottom.
Our Iraivan Swayambhu crystal was found at the bottom of a huge 40-ft vein. Once a large vein is found, the mining is mostly done by hand do avoid chipping and breaking the crystals. When the crystal, or crystal cluster is large, it can take days to expose it for transport. Then they are cleaned through multiple washings, baths and drying in the sun.
Jim then took us to a vista of the mine and pointed to where he found our crystal. He said, “follow this end of the water that you can see and come this way about 40 feet, then up another 40 feet.
That where I found your crystal.” When they first started mining, it was a small hill, so the crystal was actually quite deep in the mine.