“I had a farm in Africa” from “Out of Africa” Composed by John Berry
KRISTALLE was established in 1971 by Wayne and Dona Leicht in Laguna Beach, California, and has gained a worldwide reputation for its offerings of fine quality classic minerals and gold specimens for sale. Gold specimens from California are what brought KRISTALLE to the attention of the world and no other dealer in the history of collecting has offered the numbers or quality of specimens that are obtainable at KRISTALLE.
KRISTALLE customers include fascinated beginners to prominent private collectors, to the museums of the world, and we are proud to cater to all levels of collecting. Museum customers have included the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian); the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles; the American Museum of Natural History; the British Natural History Museum; The Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle and the Sorbonne in Paris, France; the Royal Ontario Museum of Canada, the MIM Museum in Lebanon and many other museums in Japan, Germany, Spain and around the United States. We are also pleased to have been involved in many exhibitions at these museums including the San Diego Natural History Museum, and the Mineralogical Museum of University of Bonn, Germany,the French National Museum, the Perot Museum, Bowers Museum and at mineral shows around the world.
How to visit us:
Located in a landmark cottage in Laguna Beach (half way between Los Angeles and San Diego), KRISTALLE is considered one of the finest natural history galleries in the United States. The quaint cottage creates a comfortable surrounding in which visitors can spend time browsing through thousands of specimens with a vast range of prices. The beginning collector or the most sophisticated advanced collector will be welcomed with the same friendly and honest service. The gallery also includes its own ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’!
The Kristalle gallery is open to public Wednesday thru Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday noon to 5 pm. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday but appointments are welcome. During times of our show schedules it is best to call ahead to make certain we are there.
You may also meet us at the KRISTALLE booth at major mineral shows around the world.
Our show schedule:
January/February –Tucson Gem and Mineral Show – Tucson, AZ, USA
April – Texas Mineral Show – Conroe, TX, USA
May – West Coast Gem & Mineral Show (Spring) -Costa Mesa, CA, USA
June – Tokyo International Mineral Fair (TIMA)– Tokyo, Japan
August – East Coast Gem, Mineral & Fossil Show – Springfield, MA, USA
September – Denver Gem and Mineral Show– Denver, CO, USA
October- Mineralientage – Munich, Germany
November – West Coast Gem & Mineral Show (Fall) – Costa Mesa, CA, USA
Or you may contact us online by clicking here. Serious inquiries will be answered in a timely manner. While preferring to meet our customers in person and establish a report with them, we realize that many collectors cannot attend or choose not to attend mineral shows or make personal visits. So we’ll try our best to offer a great deal of variety on our site at the best prices we can, and give you an honest opinion about the specimens.
Kristalle has been involved in the purchase and dispersal of major mineral collections to come on the market, from small private collections to large museum collections. We have purchased close to 350 collections in our 45 year history, handling some of the world’s most exceptional mineral treasures.
KRISTALLE is a buyer for fine mineral and gold specimens. We are always interested to acquire new individual specimens or entire collections. Antiquarian books and instruments are also of interest to us. Payment is done in a timely manner and there is always discretion in all dealings. Please contact us to appraise any items you may wish to sell.
The Kristalle Team:
Wayne and Dona were married in 1964 and have worked together to keep KRISTALLE at the top of the game since its establishment in 1971.
Wayne’s interest in gold and mineral specimens began in grade school with his visits to his grandfather’s log cabin along a stream in the California gold country near Yosemite. This led to degrees in Earth Sciences and Physics; followed by work in low temperature physics research (he holds several patents for highly ‘secretive’ devices he developed while acting as a liaison with one of those undisclosed super sleuth agencies in Washington, D.C. since he held top secret clearance from his days as an Army Intelligence officer). In 1976 Wayne left research to take KRISTALLE ‘full time’ and travel the world in search of specimens.
Both Wayne and Dona were active field collectors and have collected all over the world. Wayne officially mapped the Grandview Mine for the U.S. Park Service with over a dozen trips to the locality. It was Wayne’s initial work on a mineral dubbed as “Mineral #5” that eventually led to its formal description and new name of ‘Grandviewite’. It was the late Paul Desautels of the Smithsonian that was a mentor to Wayne and in a grand gesture invited Wayne on an around the world trip to introduce him to the players of the day and to museum curators in various countries. Upon Paul’s death his personal papers, and his books, were delivered to Wayne for safe keeping, where they remain today.
Dona spends her time managing the business side of the company, organizing exhibits at mineral shows, and the numerous trips for Wayne and Lois. Her elegance and flair for décor has created the beautiful Laguna gallery and the ambience of the KRISTALLE booths at mineral exhibitions. Kristalle is also renowned for the parties it has thrown over the years, the highlight of many a show, thanks to Dona. She somehow still finds the time to travel, visiting some amazing places including Colombia, China, Turkey and Tanzania in recent years – you can keep up to date with Dona and her ramblings around the world, and find out what is happening at Kristalle by clicking here.
Wayne and Dona have one son who never inherited the ‘rock gene’ but prefers to spend his days on the fishing fleets in California and Mexico and play drums in a reggae band formed by him and his friends in the seventh grade. Okenite is the very large white Norwegian forest cat who keeps the many visitors to their home company.
Wayne and Dona belong to over a dozen museums worldwide and are Fellows of the Bowers Museum. They collect early California art and also have a small collection of minerals with special emphasis on native elements. Over the years in the business Wayne has assembled a library on the California gold rush that is considered one of the finest in the country (including superb first editions, maps, letters and memorabilia) as well as a vast library of early works on mineralogy, western exploration, gemology and Arizona history – nearly 6,000 volumes!!
KRISTALLE has two employees. Lois Nelson has worked for KRISTALLE for nearly 25 years and is the Collections Manager. She travels the country in a specially outfitted Sprinter van to visit customers personally. She is very involved with exhibiting at our many mineral shows, running several shows on behalf of Wayne and Dona. If you have any questions about our specimens or are looking for something special, please contact Lois and she would be happy to help.
Stephanie Andrews has been with KRISTALLE for over 25 years as office manager. She is the smiling face that greets visitors to the gallery, and she helps in the booth at several of the mineral shows. She is our ultimate organizer when it comes to the paperwork and everyday crisis. Stephanie is the identical twin sister of Mrs. Joel Bartsch (known to us as Sooz). Sooz (who worked at KRISTALLE for 12 years) was introduced to Joel Bartsch during one of the summers Joel was working at KRISTALLE. Joel is now President of the Houston Museum of Natural Science!! Stephanie’s homemade cookies are famous and even the UPS drivers stop by to see if she has baked that day!
Our small but great team is dedicated to offering the best service and assistance in building your collections.
We have an additional ‘team’ of such very good friends who come along for the fun, the camaraderie and the show experience. They are among our most valuable assets. Roberta McCarty is a friend of over 45 years since the first day she wandered into our Laguna Beach shop and is a collector of Arizona minerals.
Tana Daugharthy we have known for over 40 years as well. Tana has her degree in Geology and many will remember her from the years she helped Tony Jones at shows. She is our red headed ambassador of good will – always laughing. She knows her rocks!!
David and Audrey Lloyd live in Spain but you will see them often with us at shows. Dave aka ‘Lloydy’ helps with our mineral preparation and is an expert on British minerals. He also has a mineral named after himself – Davidlloydite! It was discovered from Tsumeb in 2011. They are all so, so generous of their time to help us. I don’t think there has ever been a ‘team’ that is so caring and we all have such fun together.
It is a real pleasure to welcome Jami Andrews to the team. Wayne and I have known Jami since she was born and bounced her on our laps. She grew up hanging around the shop since her aunt, Susanne Bartsch worked for us, and her mother, Stephanie, has been with us more than 25 years! Jami graduated from University of California Irvine in 2012 with a degree in Business Administration. Jami is learning fast about how to photograph minerals! She will be photographing, posting and updating the website. Jami welcomes any comments or suggestions about the website.
We like to keep a ‘low profile’ and don’t feel the need to be overly braggadocios – our reputation and performance over the years speaks for itself.
So please check this site often and hopefully you will be pleased at what you see. We are always open to suggestions!
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