Our Story

Avant Mining, located in Blue Springs, Arkansas, produces the finest quartz crystals in the world. Their clarity, mirror luster, striations, phantoms, variety, and large size give them this distinction. The mine was originally opened in 1944 by a US government funded company to produce oscillator quartz which was critical to the war effort. It lay abandoned after the war until 2014 when Avant Mining LLC purchased the property and reopened it. In late 2014 into 2015 Avant broke into two pockets which are the largest finds of high quality “rock crystal” quartz ever documented. Avant Mining has become the largest quartz crystal mining company in the world with over 11,400 acres of land and 20 crystal mines in Arkansas.

James Zigras

President & Owner

Around 1998 James first started to actively sell minerals he had field collected to support his collections. Around 2006 he stopped selling at shows and primarily acted as a buyer and adviser for several top museums and collectors. In 2009, he founded Avant Mining to initially purchase the two classic wavellite mines so he could get specimens of wavellite for his collection. 

James works with some of the most prominent names in jewelry and fashion as a consultant on special projects and gem materials. He was recently featured in Vanity Fair France on his collaborations with David Yurman. He partnered with legendary musician, artist, and hollywood composer Mark Mothersbaugh to carve the world’s largest ruby into a soft serve ice cream cone which has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and is currently on exhibit at the Grey Museum in Mark Mothersbaugh’s Retrospective Show in Manhattan. New artist collaborations and installation projects will be announced shortly.

James is also a world renowned collector of minerals and gems and one of the top experts in the field, providing appraisals and consulting on mineral specimens and gemstones to a wide variety of institutional and private clients.

Several of his collections are at museums, universities and research facilities around the world. His fossilized amber collection housed at the American Museum of Natural History for research purposes is considered the most important private collection ever assembled. His collection from Mont St. Hilaire mines in Canada is the finest known outside of Canada and contains over ten thousand specimens. He has several of his specimens at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.

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Please contact us for more information about our high end specimens or your wholesale quartz crystal, Arkansas turquoise and wavellite needs.