My Preciousss!

Poverty is a major issue in the life of Silvanus’ family. It’s hard enough to find food each day, let alone being able to afford new clothes, tools, or – in the case of Dad, Cornelius – a fishing boat.

Together with poverty, there is often a deep-set longing for riches. If only I had the money…

  • … I’d buy new shoes
  • … I’d go to a proper school
  • … I’d travel
  • … I’d be able to marry, support a family.

So it’s not surprising, when Silvanus happens to find a cave full of crystals, that he gets excited and begins to dream big…


“On the western side of the island of Elba, in the pegmatite strands on the slopes of Monte Capanne, you can find exceptionally rare and beautiful minerals and crystals, shown in the most important mineral museums in the world (New York, London, Paris, Moscow etc…). Some of these minerals are:

  • tourmalineelbaite being the most famous variety. It was discovered last century on the Island of Elba, hence its name, and consists of very bright, prismatic crystals of different lengths whose colours go from black to transparent, and from pink to green.
  • beryllium, one of Elba’s most beautiful minerals. The crystals are usually prismatic or stumpy, clear like glass with colours that go from whitish to acquamarine to pink (morganite).
  • orthoclase, the most common mineral in the pegmatite strands. It consists of prismatic crystals which can be columnar or tabular, and its colours go from ivory white to pink or violet. Its clarity is a beautiful contrast to the other more colourful crystals.
  • quartz, has crystals that usually measure less than 3 cm. It has a prismatic shape and its colours go from transparent to whitish to smoky black. It can be found almost anywhere on the granite promontory of Monte Capanne; quartzite comes from quartz, and it is this very mineral that after years of erosion, and slowly sliding down the valley, becomes the very sand that is on the beaches of Cavoli, Seccheto and Fetovaia.”

Thanks to for permission to cite this information.

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