Almost every culture has legends of beautiful rock crystals. The ancient Greeks called rock crystals ‘krystallos’ meaning ice. They believed that they consisted of pure, frozen spring water that would never melt. This mistaken belief prevailed until the Middle Ages. Today, we know that rock crystals are made of silicon dioxide. But that by no way spoils the fascination. Without inclusions, they really look like crystal clear ice.
So it comes as no surprise that transparent rock crystals were a symbol of enlightenment, protection and healing for Ancient Romans.
For many Native North Americans, rock crystal was holy; they wore it as an amulet to protect them against evil powers. For Buddhists, rock crystals have been an integral part of meditation and other religious rituals since time immemorial.
Today, rock crystals are regarded as semi-precious stones with curative powers and universal application. Even if their healing effects are not scientifically proven, rock crystals are thought to be a source of energy, they help soothe pain and build up the body’s defences.
One thing is, however, certain. Rock crystals are beautiful items of jewellery. If faceted they almost look like sparkling diamonds.
Rock crystals soon gained great popularity beyond the Zillertal and Tux region. According to scientists, the Alpine fissure with large quartz crystals on Riepenkar cirque became a hub of bartering activities for traders from north and south. Thanks to further sites of finds, such as Stone Age hunter camps, it is possible to retrace this barter route or ‘rock crystal trail’.
Due to the fact that Tux rock crystal can be commonly found in our region, two special hiking trails have been signposted to celebrate rock crystal: the Lizumer Zirbenweg crystal hike and the Volderwildbad-Largozalm crystal hike. There are stamping stations at the end of both trails.