In the leisure moments of the trip to the “Semenic” touristic area of the Mountainous Banat, do not miss the opportunity to go to Ocna de Fier to the house no. 113, where you will see a true “Gruescu mineral paradise“ [Sârbu N., 2001] of the mine “flowers”. It is a place both far and near; far as the distance is concerned (25 km from Reşiţa), deviating from the road, to the left (7 km) from Bocşa-Vasiova; and near because once you entered the House of Good, looking at the minerals, you cannot help but be startled and let your inner self “inhabited” by the “stones’ soul” [Irimia N., 2005], due to a unique and miraculous mineral therapy. Standing next to the time- washed stones of the greatest collector in Romania, the mining technician Constantin Gruescu, you will feel younger and cleaner with a state of well-being and good health.
The fame of the 2000 crystals or more from the Constantine Gruescu’s aesthetic mineralogy collection has long crossed the boundaries of Banat and Romania. It is the first private museum of aesthetic minerals in Romania that deserves to be visited whether you are or not fond of minerals and where the entrance has always been free.
Constantin Gruescu was born in Dognecea on April 12th 1924, and his age is not betrayed by his proud stature, by his gentle and insightful look, by his wise words and his gift of friendship. He is a man of eternity because he actually has the grace of giving: “If you do well, you receive only better.” [Gruescu C., 2007]. The passion for these underground miracles has kept him forever young:
“I fell in love kicking a stone. I began to collect pieces of rock that seemed interesting to me since the age of 14. At the beginning of my passion, the gathered mine “flowers” would fit in a single drawer, then in a box, then in a case; shortly, the house became too small, and the mineral exhibition was becoming more and more popular; step by step, the modest house in Ocna de Fier became the House of Good. The flowers in my garden are not surrounded by a hazardous mirage bringing about tears or joy, curses or happiness, but they are appealing by the perfection of geometry discovered by the unwritten laws, when the human being was not yet around, and matter only seemed inert. […] My flowers are more expensive than all the riches of the world, because they have grown in the depths of my ancestral Romanian soil. […] I often tell every guest: Stay over this stone to fill your inner self with the heritage of our forefathers. With their soul. “[Gruescu C., 2007].
Very passionate and autodidact in aesthetic mineralogy, Constantin Gruescu laid the foundations of the private museum in his own home in Ocna de Fier in 1954.
Gathering passionately mineral exhibits for his entire life, he gathered a unique collection of “Mountainous Banat Gems” [Gruescu C., 2007], especially from the mines of Ocna de Fier, Dognecea, Sasca Montana, Ruschiţa and Moldova Nouă. Almost 250 minerals have been discovered so far in the Mountainous Banat, this area being recognized as the “land of mines” for iron, copper, lead, coal, silver and gold. In the same time, Constantin Gruiescu completed his collection with impressive samples of mine flowers, exchanging or buying them from other mineralogists from Romania or other countries of Europe, Asia, Africa or South America.
The exhibits are fascinating by their colours and shapes stimulating one’s imagination. Some minerals have vivid colours (pink, lilac, yellow or red), such as the pink quartz and the yellow golden garnet at Ocna de Fier and amethyst lilac variety from Ciclova, others are combinations of grey, brown and white, such as: red with gray at the realgar from Moldova Noua, green with grey and brown at the malachite at Dognecea.
The star of the exhibition is the “Gruescu” macle, discovered by the well-known mineralogist in 1972, which brought him international recognition. The Coaxial Quartz Macle with radial concretions was found in Ocna de Fier in an ungerground clay pouch and it is unique in the world. Practically, the “Gruescu” macle has three forms of representation: simple, like a “bow tie”; double, in the shape of St. Andrew’s Cross; and triple, cross-shaped (at 90º).
Another piece of attraction is the pink quartz from Ocna de Fier, which, together with the two purple amethysts of 78 kg found in the Gerais mine (Brazil), and a yellow citrine of 40 kg, brought all the way from Zaire, complete the new colourful palette of the “flower mine bouquet” of the aesthetic mineral collection.
Every single flower of the collection has a certain story that deserves to be listened only from Constantin Gruescu. The story of the three-generation quartz with healing powers it may be a fairy tale, but it is not. The venerable collector says that if you approach with your hands to a few inches to this crystal, you will feel some coolness, then some tingling sensation in your palms caused by the positive energy that emanates. If you make a wish at this moment, then your desire will be fulfilled.