I used to perform basic sleight of hand with real quartz crystal pieces. There were many problems with this. Audiences loved these crystals, but they would often break, chip, or splinter during various sleights. They could at times cut a hand accidentally. They left a residue of quartz dust in the jacket pocket. Like coins, they made a lot of noise when knocked together, carried, or stolen from a pocket. They could poke into your leg when walking or sitting down. I needed a way to use the magical looking stones people loved so much, without the hassle. At first, I had to have them imported and manufactured for myself. After many hassles, a very basic solution hit. Instead of selling these to you, I can now tell you how to get these for your very own.
Have you ever seen clear rubber "super balls"? The ones with some trinket suspended inside? That is what I make the "crystals" out of these days. Be sure to get a clear rubber ball that does not have glitter in it. The glitter will destroy the illusion of real crystals. A famous performer who is a friend of mine has long made note that most everything in Vegas is held together with hangers and duct tape - including his act! He is overstating this naturally, but there is much truth in the statement. This is not unlike the beautiful crystals my audiences see. They are little more than cut rubber, but not to my audiences. You will need to be very careful cutting these balls. Some people use sharp scissors, a hacksaw, or an Exacto knife. I have tried them all and more. I have begun to cut a ball, and then torn pieces off instead. You'll find lots of ways to chop these balls into pieces that look like quartz crystal. Just be very, very careful as they slip and you can cut yourself. As my books are for professionals only, you need not be told to have a parent or guardian do this for you. But do be careful! I really mean that. We need our fingers, so take all the precautions you can. Or have someone else do it for you. I do.
You will be amazed at how cutting or sawing a clear rubber ball can give you what you would swear are quartz crystals. I had pieces strewn around my home and often I forgot they were fakes. I have also used clear but colored rubber balls. These make for colored crystals such as amethyst, topaz, and so forth. If it fools the mind and eye well when you have made them yourself, you can imagine what it will do for audiences. I have made single crystal "points", but one might, with some work, make multiple point arrangements or clusters too, I suppose.
What makes these fake crystals especially wonderful is that while they look solid and hard, they do not "talk" at all! This allows for multiple steals or ditches without any noise to give away the action. I do some bold things such as dropping three or four crystals like a Vernon wand spin to make them all vanish.
A "two in the hand, one in the pocket" routine works well with these. You may use a large chunk of real crystal as a finale if you like. This indirectly reinforces all the other crystals were hard too.
I learned in time how Wonder Words plays an important part with these rubber crystals, which you should keep in mind. Before, or just as you make one crystal appear, mention that it is a crystal. Don't be too obvious about it, or say this defensively. Produce one and say something such as, "Oh, a crystal! These are quite magical, you know". Labeling what the spectators see as a crystal helps them to realize what you have in your hands. From then on, they never question at all that what you are using are indeed actual crystals. Labels create perceptions, which create reality. This is an important secret. You see, Wonder Words applies to every aspect of what I do.
Large crystals may be used on stage somewhat like a billiard ball routine. The small chips are best for close up. Consider these in place of ball and coin sleights you may do. Just the introduction of crystal instead of a common coin or ball makes a big difference to an audience. They see these as mystical, magical stones - even if they don't otherwise believe crystals have any power. When performed as a magical effect or with magical manipulations, these crystals become unique, beautiful, and memorable to audiences - up close or at a distance. Try it and find out for yourself.
® ..•**" Double Sided Colored Gems These are also to be used in place of coins and balls when doing sleight of hand. They come in various coin sizes. You can find these plastic, reflective fake gemstones at most fabric shops.
**• While they come single sided, I make them also with two sides for many reasons. You may do a few of the copper/silver or "Spellbound" moves with these. I use the double-sided nature as a multiple gem production as follows.
Fingerpalm the gem and produce it in any manner you please, so that it appears between the thumb and first finger. If needed, you may use your second finger to display the gem as well. Do any sleight you like that allows you to apparently place the gem in your other hand. I like the "pinch vanish" with this (See Bobo's Coin Magic). Instead of making the gem seem to vanish, I appear to be putting the gem in my other hand. This action reverses the gem in the hand, while keeping it hidden between the thumb and first two fingers. /
Keep the hand with the palmed gem in motion as you reach out to produce it / again. This time, you show the other side of the gem as you produce it. /
Since it appears to be a different gem, it looks as if you have produced two gems. You may continue this repeatedly, as in "A Miser's Dream". To the audience you cause a handful of gems to appear. Since you are truly using only one double-sided gem, it is easy to make them "all" vanish in the end. You may wish to drape a silk over the hand that receives the gems. This is more deceptive for the vanish, and makes more sense as to how you can hold so many gems without dropping them. Do the pinch vanish into the silk. Keep producing "more" gems and putting them into the cloth. Finally, fingerpalm the double-sided gem as this same hand whisks the silk away from the other hand. In a split second, all the gems have gone back "from whence they came".
Please keep in mind that while these may seem to us to be little tricks and small changes in standard sleight of hand, to an audience there is a great deal of difference. I am letting some of this out so that more performers will reconsider how they might better bring a feel of actual magic to even the simplest of things. These props - childlike as they are to us -seem to be magical items to even the most discriminating audiences. I even use out and out toys to create wonders, as you will see. We should not fool ourselves into thinking that simple methods and props means cheap magic. Indeed, the biggest shows are often fixed to look perfect with tape and magic markers. The audience does not perceive this, and that is all that matters to them. Please keep this in mind, because the beautiful gem production you may have seen me do on stage is little more.
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