One of the more “interesting” things that any rockhound will stumble across on the wild west of internet sales are the so-called Andara Crystals. These are reputed to have some… interesting… properties and go for exorbitant prices. They’re also a complete scam.
So, let’s take a look at the truth behind the so-called Andara Crystals and we’ll see how far back we can trace this oddball scam in the mineral world.
The Story of Lady Nellie
As far as I can tell, the story behind these crystals has changed frequently as they get called out.
As it was originally stated, a woman later called Lady Nellie found these crystals on her property on Mount Shasta. I’ve been able to find bits and pieces of her backstory, which are the usual New Age blend with a religious bent.
It’s usually accompanied by tinges of prophecy, and sometimes the Earth decided to “take back” the crystals at some point after an earthquake in the 1980s. This would be a bit odd, to say the least, since the largest earthquake in that region in the 1980s was a 4.8, better known to Californians as “not much.”
Considering the area was supposed to be high in the mountains of Mount Shasta and dug as a pit from the few details found… it’s not a likely origin story.
The story goes on to talk about how she had dreams, and a crystal magically appeared on her altar. Then they spent some time looking for more, before consulting with a psychic a couple of times. The story is a mess.
Apparently, some digging found these “strange, glass-like crystals” high in the mountains. The original ones were green from the story. Later on, others were found across the mountain and so on. Frankly, it sounds like the same story behind every “Lemurian” or “Atlantian” discovery that’s been touted in the last few decades.
The story itself is less important than two things: the original crystals were supposedly found in the ground and there’s no mention of them being man-made. If you’re on the fence about these “crystals” and have done some reading, those are important notes.
The crystals themselves are purported to be healing and to “raise frequency” among other things. You’ll note these are the same claims attached to much of the New Age claims about healing properties.
I won’t claim to know whether or not Lady Nellie herself was a grifter or not. It’s entirely possible she found some old slag or cullet glass in the mountains and didn’t know what it was. Where things go from there, however, gets a lot harder to forgive.
Enter Monoatomic Elements
In their current state, Andara crystals are being sold all over the internet. I’ve even seen pictures of people showing up with various blends of slag and cullet glass hawking their wares at shows in the last few years.
There’s a simple problem with all of the Andara “crystal” material. It’s full of bubbles. This isn’t something that happens with crystalline material, which has an arranged molecular structure. Instead, it occurs in glasses. Various natural glasses, including tektites and obsidian, do have internal bubbles but… they’re glass, which is an amorphous solid.
To make the story a little bit less suspect, the name was changed to Andara obsidian. The obsidian market is filled with glass of various colors being sold as “red obsidian” or “green obsidian” already, taking in unwary collectors.
When it became apparent people weren’t buying the obsidian theory, the nature of how most Andara crystals were represented was changed.
Enter Mark Naea, a metaphysical guru and spiritual expert who published a document titled “Monatomic Andara Crystals – Bridging Science, Metaphysics, and Healing.”
While I was attempting to dig deeper into the matter, I was repeatedly told this document clarified everything. Oddly enough, however, no one pushing it upon me seemed to have a copy despite the previous link being among the first Google results.
The paper uses a lot of words to say virtually nothing. It actually doesn’t even bother to define monatomic at any point and insists it’s a new state of matter. In reality, monatomic elements are essentially only noble gases such as xenon, neon, or helium. Monoatomic hydrogen is thought to occur in far-flung regions of space just due to there not being enough atoms around for hydrogen to form its normal state (H₂), but that’s theoretical.
Later there are some seriously suspect claims about the materials being otherworldly. Monoatomic gold, we’re told, is totally different from real gold because it’s a white powder with low density.
The gentleman who is claimed to have made a frequency monitor that could measure these effects, Bruce Tanio, was a biologist whose obituary mentions he was a hobbyist involved with quantum physics and energy frequencies. After entirely too much time spent searching, I was unable to find a single picture or description of his device. He appears to have been measuring something but it’s not clear what.
The aforementioned document is a word salad of scientific terms used with little regard for where they’re placed in the sentence. At one point the crystals are called “heliocentric” and at another we get a “channeled reading” from a medium.
Virtually every name mentioned in the paper is associated with some level of pseudoscience at best, and outright fraud at worst.
But the document continues to circulate as proof that Andara crystals are real and is the closest I can find to an origin for them going “global” as it were.
Interestingly, while Mr. Naea sells Andaras on his web page, it’s actually one of the cheaper sources I saw where they still bore that label.
It Gets Better. Say Hello To Ethereum
The most recent claims I can find include a substance called “Ethereum” which is reputed to be a powder that contains vast amounts of monatomic elements.
Ethereum appears to be its own specialized scam, but it’s an important part of the modern legacy of these crystals. Currently, the claim is that Andara glass is a man-made glass that’s made with or from Ethereum powder depending on who you ask.
The powder used to make these crystals is said to come from the same claim as Lady Nelly found the originals in.
So we’ve come full circle from “crystals” to “obsidian” to “man-made glass” all within the claims of those who sell them.
Some of these claims too have been validated by labs. Of course, no general gemology lab has the very expensive and hyperspecialized equipment that claims to validate them. After a bit of digging, it appears that sellers are proclaiming themselves experts and certifying crystals for other sellers. This has led to a small, circular industry of Andara experts certifying Andara crystals for other Andara experts. Metaphysical claims and high prices are one thing, but that takes the Andara crystal “industry” to an entirely different level of fraud.
So What Are Andara Crystals?
Andara crystals are glass. That’s it.
Some of it appears to be cullet glass, others slag. Cullet glass is remelted glass used for other purposes, slag glass is glass that occurs during the smelting of primary ores as additives and unwanted elements are removed from the copper, iron, or other metal.
The older material is all a single color, with different claims coming from each color. It’s much simpler than that, it’s just glass.
Some material also displays optical effects. At least one I saw was simply titanium-coated glass, similar to the “aura quartz” that’s popular in many circles. Another person was selling a small piece of dichroic glass for a few hundred dollars. There are plenty of different effects available for a glass artist, and not a single specimen I looked at has displayed anything unique enough to differentiate it from normal, man-made glass.
A few of the newer ones I’ve seen even appear to be random bits of colored glass fused together in a microwave kiln, like the ones some flint knappers use to recycle their flakes. You can recognize these by their opacity and how random colors just seem stuck together with no rhyme or reason.
- Most specimens show signs of conchoidal fracture, meaning that they were broken by force at some point.
- Virtually all transparent specimens show large amounts of bubbles.
- I was easily able to find large chunks of most of the common colors being sold as cullet glass using sites like eBay and Etsy, where they’re sold for pennies to the pound.
- It’s tied to the Ethereum scam, which is another snake oil scam.
- The circular certification and self-certification of Andaras show that there’s some intention to deceive.
- The claims themselves pretty much defy any testing. Slag glass will be full of metallic impurities when tested, and cullet glass is often colored with metals including gold and silver.
The Bottom Line
While we often mention fakes and frauds in passing on this page, we rarely actually track down the sources of these claims. I’ve known sellers who’ve been deceived themselves, including a poor guy who ended up with over a ton of cullet glass sold as “red obsidian.” It happens.
I do my best to make sure that what I sell is what I say it is, but lies can happen up and down the line in the mineral trade. Whether it’s a synthetic material sold as natural, simulants like opalite, or blatant scams.
And, while we don’t discuss the metaphysical properties of crystals here it’s not something we decry either. Each person is entitled to their own beliefs.
The larger problem with Andaras is that they have such an extensive legend and the entire scam is clearly predatory. Sometimes things need to be brought to light, but with a critical eye and the entire picture, it’s clear to see what’s going on.
If it helps you, it helps you, but you don’t need to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on a chunk of slag or cullet glass. If the elements within are something you’re looking for, the regular variety will do fine.
And you can buy a chunk the size of a coffee table for what most handheld Andaras cost.
They’re very pretty, but in the end a scam is a scam and there are much cheaper places to find amazing glass than in the hands of metaphysical dealers who want to hit you for every penny they can.