Agates info - Laguna, Fairnburn, Australian

Agates info 2- Laguna, Fairnburn, Australian


"Most people only know Freeform Oregon agates, Fairburn agates
and Western Lake Superior agates, but Australian agates are often more beautiful than all of them"

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An Interview with René Boissevain the Agate Adventurer and Creator of “The Crystal Caves” Museum in Tropical North Queensland, Australia.

By Matthew Sirpis

M – Hi René
R – Hi Matthew
M – Could you tell us a bit about your Crystal Caves museum and the Agates Australia business?
R – Sure no problem. The Crystal Cave museum is in the first place for the family, who never new much about the natural treasures from deep down in the earth.
I started this unusual cave-museum to create awareness.
For most people these natural mineralogical wonders, as beautiful and sometimes bizarre as they are, are totally new to them. The same people know about the natural wonders of the sea and they know about animals and rainforest…but have overlooked the incredible wonder world of crystals.

The concept of a cave museum was not something I’ve seen anywhere else. If you want to bring crystallized minerals closer to the general public you have to come up with an unusual concept. We know that most of the general public will not go to the mineralogical section of a museum, they think it is boring. Sometimes the emphasis is too much about soils, granites, basalts, quartz formations etc. Of course there are museums world wide that have incredible collections of natural crystals. (Washington’s Smithsonian Institute’s mineralogical section, to name the ultimate!)
With the creation of a Cave-Museum, I’m not aiming at a particular group of people, it’s for everyone, also disabled people are catered for and kids just love it, it’s a fairytale come true. This fantasy world, incorporated with an adventurous aspect, is as close as you can get to some of the real underground caves. We give people that special feeling of going underground, to explore and at the same time admire and touch many of the crystals and also fossils that are on display. Although there are hundreds of spotlights through-out this labyrinth people must wear a helmet with light attached to find the hidden ones, specially placed to discover .The atmosphere inside is very tranquil and peaceful and not eerie at all. The sound of running water is very pleasant.
Often I replace specimens if I can obtain a better one, thus upgrading the value of the collection every year. The collection now is one of Australia’s most spectacular ones. You can also visit the website at .

M – What kind of mineral specimens do you have in the museum?
R – There is a huge variety, but I’m not into the very rare ones that are not attractive. We only have the more spectacular formations. They must be eye pleasing in the first place. There are about 600 different crystallized minerals in there, of which the amethyst geodes, clear quartz crystal formations and calcites are the most well known specimens. We are not a typical spiritual crystal shop, although this very peaceful movement worldwide fascinates many people. For those who worship crystals, this is paradise.
I personally want to show you the variety, structures and sheer beauty of crystals.
The more detailed and fragile specimens are smaller and behind glass, while the larger and more common specimens are free standing so people can touch and feel them, which is highly appreciated, as you can read in our visitor’s book.

We really have opened eyes of a lot of people to the natural world of minerals. We’ve got proof that many of our visitors will now, for the first time, have a look at their own mineral museum, back home. Knowing that is very rewarding.

M – Tell us about the Agates Australia business.
R – It’s an online shop where people can purchase the agates I dug up at Agate Creek in the 1960’s. I stockpiled a lot of agates from Agate Creek in Queensland. In those years, although hard work, and millions of flies, agates were still plentiful. After cutting the potato-size agates, we find that only about 30% of these agates have nice patterns, are not fractured or with a crystal centre.

M – Is the Agate Creek agate a banded agate?
R – Yes some are banded agates and some are sardonyx. Some have small quartz crystal centres and some have all 3. Sometimes a pattern of agate comes back into that crystal centre and is called “suspended” agate; they can be very beautiful indeed.
There are many names for agates if they have unusual patterns and colours and names, like tube, cloud, eye, sea-scape, flame, lace, stalactitic, sagenitic, vein-agates and many more.

M – The Fairburn agate, the Western Lake Superior agate, and the freeform Oregon agates are popular in America, how would you compare them to the Agate Creek agates in terms of beauty.
R – Although our agates are of potato sizes, they have more variety in patterns and colours than the Fairburn agate, the Western Lake Superior agate and the Oregon agates and a lot of other agates for that matter.

M – What do you think about the Laguna agate?
R – Undoubtedly the Laguna agate is the most beautiful agate in the world. Although the Agate Creek agate is smaller it certainly deserves second place. But then again many collectors worldwide are obsessed with certain types of agates. It’s good for these people to also look at the Australian agates; it would be a real eye opener. You can see pictures of the agates and also buy them at our online store at

M – Thanks for your time René.
R – Pleasure Matthew.