Breiðdalssetur ses  -  Gamla Kaupfélagið -  Sæberg 1 -  760 Breiðdalsvík -  RN. 620311-1110  - Mobile: 862 4348 -  info(at)

Open to groups and scientists only.  Contact us by phone to book an appointment.  

 Iceland spar and its importance to the history of mankind: Symposium and exhibition opening:

 Programm pdf

Mling Silfurberg Auglsing 29 8 15 Mling Silfurberg Dagsskr 29 8 15

Presentations as pdf (in Icelandic):

Leó Kristjánsson - Heimildaleit um silfurberg og ýmis hlutverk þess í raunvísindum 1780-1930: árangur og ályktanir

Hjörleifur Guttormsson -Umhverfi Helgustaðanámu og friðlýsingin 1975

Christa Maria Feucht-Rannsóknarsaga jarðfræði Austurlands

Fjarðabyggð-Uppbygging Helgustaðanámu sem ferðamannastaðar

Kristján Jónasson -Verndargildi steina og staða jarðminjaverndar á Íslandi

Leó Kristjánsson at Helgustaðanáma quarry on August 29th 2015:

At Helgustaðanáma quarry on August 29th 2015                       Picture in Helgustaðir quarry in 1956 by GPL Walker

IMG 0049                 275.10 Helgustadir Iceland Spar mine


Article about symposium in East Iceland magazine Glettingur: Glettingur 64 - 2015 - Silfurberg – grunn nútímasamfélagsins er að finna á Austurlandi, Málþing í Breiðdalssetri - Feucht et al.Glettingur 64

Supported by menningarrad logo svhv   SoknaraetlunAlcoa

In collaboration withLOGO NatturustofuAusturlandsHI Logo positiv IS horiz 1 49904cc3dcbcf63e logo mjg litid i lit

Scientific discoveries made with the aid of Iceland spar from Iceland directly influenced the development of modern society. Progress since its discovery in the 17th century until 1930 in various important fields of the natural sciences and technology, would have been delayed by decades if Iceland spar had not been available at that time. As the sole supplier of first-class spar crystals for scientific purposes Helgustaðir in Reyðarfjörður may therefore be considered the most valuable location in Iceland in an international context.

The project contains:

1. Exhibition put up at Breiðdalssetur in Breiðdalsvík this sumar, then later to be moved to Eskifjörður

2. Information brochure about Iceland Spar

3. Symposium with focus on the mineral Iceland Spar on August 29th 2015 in Breiðdalsvík with excursion to Helgustaðanáma quarry (supported by Alcoa)


 Iceland spar double refracts the light, everything appears twice, picture by (Einarsson & Sæmundsson 2013)

Friday 29th April, 12:15 Leó Kristjánsson is holding a lecture about Iceland spar in East Iceland, its use and importance. Leó Kristjánsson is geophysicist at the University of Iceland. The last 16 years he has collected data about the use of Iceland spar crystals in science. Most of these crystals came from Helgustaðir, East Iceland until around 1900. The crystals contributed a lot to the discovery of optics and more. With the discovery of the so called Nicol-prism that is built of 2 Iceland spar crystals that were used in all optical instruments in different fields of natural sciences, it is sure that Icelandic Iceland spar accelerated many technical progresses and discoveries that seem self-evident to mankind today.  Everybody welcome.


Presentation by Leó Kristjánsson

IMG 7921        IMG 7922

Iceland Spar from Breiðdalur valley