Main Menu Site

Huge celestite crystals in Crystal Cave, Put-in-Bay, Ohio

Photo source : unknown


Click below :
Celestite - Coelestin - Celestite - Celestita

America : USA : Ohio : Spectacular celestite crystals in the Crystal Cave, Put-in-Bay

Coordinates : 41°39'N , 82°84'W : Crystal Cave, Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island, Ottawa Co., Ohio, USA

In 1887 Mr. Gustav Heineman emigrated from Baden-Baden in Germany to Put-in-Bay, Ohio. In the following years he established a winery, which is still well-known for its high quality wines today. In 1897 he sank a well beneath his winery and discovered a large vug in 10 m depth. On exploring the cave he found, that much of the cave walls showed extremely large and well developed tabular crystals, which turned out to be strontium sulfate, i.e. almost pure celestite.

The original cave was much smaller than what is shown today, as much of the celestite crystals were mined for the manufacturing of fire-works. However, Mr. Heineman decided very early to stop the mining activities and turned the property into a tourist attraction called "Crystal Cave". This turned out to be an excellent idea, as the Heineman winery survived the times of prohibiton thanks to tourist guiding through their cave, while other wineries in the vicinity went into bankruptcy.

The Crystal Cave today is open to the public on a daily basis and still displays remarkably well developed, glistening tabular, white to slightly blue crystals of celestite up to 1 m size, whereas the overall size of the cave is about 10 m. They form extensive linings on the limestone walls of the cave. Apparently not much scientific work has been done on the celestite crystal and its formation is still fairly poorly understood. There are some limestone caves nearby, but all of these lack any significant celestite mineralization.



The Put-in-Bay Crystal Cave in a nutshell :

Mineralogy :

Celestite crystal linings in a limestone cave.

Crystal Size :

Though the maximum size of the crystals is given with 18 inches (= 45,7 cm), it appears from the photos, that some of the celestite crystals may well reach about 1 m size.

Geology & Origin :

Limestone cave with secondary celestite filling of unknown origin, likely to be hydrothermal. Interestingly enough, this is the only celestite bearing cave in the area, while other caves in the close vicinity are devoid of any strontium sulphate.

Current status :

Family - run, very popular show cave, which is open to the general public

Remarks :

This somewhat neglected giant crystal locality deserves much more attention of the scientific community



Other notable & famous celestite occurences :

- Magnificent blue celestite crystals up to 15 cm and sometimes more are known to occur in abundance in the Mahajanga Sakoany, Madagascar, where they are mined as collectors item.

- Peculiar blue celestite stalactites up to 1 m length and resembling the famous Capillitas Rhodochrosites have been found in the Nesquen Province, Argentina.

- Exceptional blue crystals up to 10 cm have been found at the Woeltjebuche locality at Springe near Hannover as well as large colourless crystal clusters in the Konrad iron ore mine, Salzgitter area, both Germany

- Celestite crystals up to 30 cm are known to occur in the Melchor Muzquiz fluorite deposit in Coahuila, Mexiko

- The largest single hitherto undeveloped celestite deposit known to exist is the Karstryggen deposit in Eastern Greenland.



Interior of the Crystal cave at Put-in-Bay, Ohio

Photo : John Rees at


Close up of the blue celestite crystal lining

Isaac Littman Creative Commons copyright at


Another close up, showing excellent crystal shapes

Photo source : Nick Ehret at


Resources and relevant weblinks :

For more information on the mineral celestite please look at, Webmineral and the german Mineralienatlas, where you can also find an excellent mineral portrait of this mineral.


Apparently not much geological work has been done on this outstanding celestite occurence. There is an website by the Heineman Winery with a lot of information about wine making at, but virtually no information about the cave.

Some limited information is available here.




Have you been at the site ? Do you know more details
or have discovered any errors ?
Please contact us !