It was one of these crystal hunters, Jacques Balmat, who launched this great era. Venturing onto Mont Blanc in search of crystals with his doctor friend Michel Paccard on 8th August 1786, he discovered the key to reaching the summit.
Jacques Balmat was one of the first crystal prospectors on Mont Blanc. These intrepid crystal hunters scaled the rock walls of the <>Roof of Europe in search of the very rare spiral-shaped hyaline and smoky quartz crystals, characteristic of the Mont Blanc massif, and red fluorites, stunning examples of Alpine mineralogy.
There are almost 150 specimens on display in the Permanent Crystal Exhibition, including unusual varieties of quartz and other minerals typical of the area.
At Punta Helbroenner the “Hans Marguerettaz” hall hosts the permanent exhibition of crystals of Mont Blanc where you can admire the jewels of our mountains. All these beautiful pieces of different sizes have been found over the years by various passionate “cristalliers” in the Mont Blanc Massif.
The remains of two old abandoned silver mines can still be seen in Courmayeur Mont Blanc: the Trou des Romains, which dates back to Roman times, and the Miage mine in Val Vény, up at 3,500m asl on the slopes of the Tète Carrè, which was abandoned in the 19th century.