Interesting facts 

A Flair for the Mountains’ Treasures

People who are searching for crystals are called "crystal hunters". The "crystal searching" was once an important source of income for the mountain population. Today, it serves mainly as a hobby or a sideline.

Collecting minerals is nowadays strictly regulated in order to avoid excessive exploitation of natural resources and to prevent disputes about discovered minerals. For example, an old-fashioned crystal hunter rule became legally binding: whoever occupies a cleft with a tool and marks it with name, address and date, secures the right of exploitation for 2 years. According a federal court decision upon an incident on the Zinggenstock in 1974, the removal of crystals from a documented cleft is theft by law.

All crystal hunters are requested by the Swiss Association of Seekers, Mineral and Fossil Searchers (SVSMF) to keep to a special code of honour [http://www.svsmf.ch/index.php?id=50].

In the Oberhasli region, crystal searching has a long tradition. The information on how and where to look for crystals is passed on from one generation to the next and sometimes even to guests. An indigenous crystal hunter and stone-worker says: "You have to feel where crystals are." It is so easy. Another crystal hunter and mountaineer says: "You just have to go to find crystals”. A typical short answer by a mountaineer with much truth in it.

Sometimes chance also helps. A crystal hunter was attracted during a hike through the mountains by a pile of stones and mud, from which glittering crystals emerged. He asked himself "Who for heaven's sake will leave behind such beautiful goods?". The riddle solution: it was a fox who had scooped out everything from a small cave to build a nest in it.

If you hike through the Grimsel area, however, should not hope too much for the big discovery along the path. But if you keep your eyes open, you can discover small, beautiful pieces, near freshly fallen rocks, during road construction or in clefts.