Treasures from the cave

MALAYSIANS and foreign tourists can now marvel at the largest private natural crystal collection at the MY Natural Crystal Gallery on the third floor of Penang Times Square in Jalan Datuk Keramat.

The gallery covers an area of over 1,300 sqm and features more than 1,000 unique and exquisite crystal formations.

Gallery founder S.H. Ong led the press on a guided tour of the gallery on Wednesday.

State Tourism Development and Culture Committee chairman Danny Law Heng Kiang, Penang Times Square general manager C.C. Yeap and Tourism Malaysia director Harun Pilus were also present for the tour.

Speaking to the press after the tour, Ong said he took over 10 years to amass the various crystals seen in his collection.

“Every crystal piece takes thousands of years to form and even then their beauty is not immediately seen.

“This is because when we enter into the caves, we only see the stalactites and stalagmites, while the crystal is inside. In order to marvel at the formations, harvesters face a tough job going through the muddy caves and hacking away the stone to reveal the inner beauty,” he said.

Ong said he started the gallery in order to encourage visitors to appreciate the natural beauties, especially since the crystals in his collection were all bought from the northern region of peninsula Malaysia.

“Malaysian crystal formations are quite brittle, therefore they are not suitable to be carved into decorative items and usually displayed as such, while those carved into decorative items are imported.”

Yeap said Penang Times Square was proud that Ong chose the mall to set up the gallery.

“Apart from this gallery, we will also be designating the third floor as a tourism centre where there will be a pewter centre, a batik house and even shops selling various native arts and crafts.

“This is part of our effort to promote Penang’s tourism products to our visitors,” he said.

Harun lauded the initiative taken by Ong to set up the gallery as this could become another iconic attraction for Penang.

“This gallery not only helps to encourage more visitors to the island, but also more repeat visitors as it is a fresh new attraction.

“As part of our support for the gallery, we will be promoting it through our agency’s various channels. This includes distributing its brochure in our nationwide or overseas tourist information centres and putting it up on our websites,” he said.

Harun also praised Times Square for dedicating the special floor for tourism products, stating that this measure was in line with the agency’s efforts to rebrand various tourism products on the island.

“We are in the midst of rebranding the Museum Trail and Gallery Trail to offer a new package to visitors. We have to be innovative in order to keep things vibrant,” he said.

The gallery ticket prices for Malaysians are RM25 (adult) and RM15 (children) while foreign tourists are charged RM50 (adult) and RM25 (children).

The gallery will be open from 11am to 9pm daily and the last entry time is 7.30pm.

For details, e-mail or call 04-2265682.

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