Anyone collect gems/minerals?

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(inspired by an unrelated thread)

Anyone collect gems/minerals? I went to a mineral show last weekend and got inspired to start up a collection. My collection actually began in the 3rd grade when my teacher was selling $1 grab-bags, in which I got some form of copper ore, a sample of pyrite, a polished chunk of what I believe is amethyst and a yet to be identified green mineral, all of which I still have.

This weekend I went and picked up a nice sample of optically clear calcite (which is birefringent), a cool ziggurat-like bismuth crystal with an iridescent oxide layer, and a nice sample of chalchopyrite (which is artificially tarnished to produce a very pretty oxide layer, but it looks awesome so I don't mind).

My collection is modest at the moment, but I plan to go to more shows and slowly expand it. Maybe even go out and try to collect some samples from natural sources.

Anyone else collect or have an interest? Pics very much encouraged. :smile:
 

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  • #2
Evo
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I had an awesome rock collection that my father put together for me, I had all of the different ores, copper, iron, I had pyrite, hematite, I had raw gemstones, I even had a whale's tooth.
 
  • #3
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Still have any?

Also, I would like to post some pics of the rocks I have when I get batteries for my camera, and maybe someone can help me identify them.
 
  • #4
turbo
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When I was a kid, I started a mineral and gem collection. Through the course of some moves, I lost specimens, but I tried to recoup. My wife and I have specimens throughout the house. Some of our favorite weekends were spent mining pegmatites in western Maine.
 
  • #5
Evo
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Still have any?

Also, I would like to post some pics of the rocks I have when I get batteries for my camera, and maybe someone can help me identify them.
I'm planning to start a fossil and rock identification thread in the earth sciences forum. I've been a rock collectiing geek all of my life. You can feel free to post your rocks in my thread. Maybe you can help me identify some. I'll post the thread link here.
 
  • #6
Drakkith
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I had a pet rock when I was little. It said "Turn me over please." on one side, and "Thank you, that's much better!" on the other!
 
  • #7
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I am working with single crystals, so naturally I am interested in minerals and have collected some over the time. But not in a systematic, organized way, much more like a kid's "interesting rock" collection.

One of the most impressive things I've done was to walk over a huge field of obsidian (which is a glass, no crystal structure at all) in Iceland. The stuff shatter razor-sharp and you have to be really careful not to cut yourself.
 
  • #8
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I love rocks and minerals!

A few weeks ago I bought a lovely small chunk of serpentine, and next week I will be down in the area and have decided to get a chunk of hemimorphite. They both are found locally in the eastern part of the state. I am hoping next year I will be there finding my own... I will post some pictures after I buy the hemimorphite.

A girl can never have too many pretties...
 
  • #9
dlgoff
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I'm planning to start a fossil and rock identification thread in the earth sciences forum. I've been a rock collectiing geek all of my life. You can feel free to post your rocks in my thread. Maybe you can help me identify some. I'll post the thread link here.
That sounds like a really good idea for a thread. I've got some neat rocks myself. What about arrow heads? They would be along the same lines as fossils?
 
  • #10
Monique
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A girl can never have too many pretties...
:biggrin: I agree! I especially love the sparkle of gems. Gems are hard to find in the sober Dutch culture, but someday I hope to acquire an emerald stone.
 
  • #11
turbo
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:biggrin: I agree! I especially love the sparkle of gems. Gems are hard to find in the sober Dutch culture, but someday I hope to acquire an emerald stone.
I have a faceting machine, and I used to haunt the gem-shows for raw emeralds, among other stones. The problem is that all the emerald rough at the shows were oiled to reduce the visibility of internal cracks and voids. Eventually, the filler dries up and you are left with a lifeless-looking stone.

Another related problem: I could find sapphires in lots of colors at the shows, but most vendors jacked up the price of the pink ones, calling them "rubies", though the weak colors didn't warrant that name. Emeralds and rubies on the US market are generally not high-quality. The really good gems seem to find their way to Asian markets, where buyers are more discerning.
 
  • #12
Monique
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Yes, I've seen a few emeralds and the color was beautiful but the quality really poor. The rarity of good specimens makes it feel magical (and the fact that I grew up with the idea that treasure chests were filled with gold, rubies, and emeralds).

Same for sapphires, the ones I see are all very dark and unattractive. Only once I saw a sapphire that was full with life and I asked the jeweler for the price, he told me I had a keen eye: that it was his most expensive gem. He explained the same thing, that the good pieces go to Asian markets. I'd never buy a dull dark sapphire, but that one was a really beautiful specimen.
 
  • #13
turbo
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Most of the sapphires sold in the US are inky (dull dark blue). US women are used to seeing those, and they will settle for them because they have never seen quality specimens.

I was fortunate enough to find an old collector with a cache of Yogo Gulch sapphire rough, and those are a joy to facet. Pale green, pale blue (including one that changes color in artificial vs natural light) and others.

I was sitting next to my company's VP at a dinner one night, and he was wearing a heavy gold ring with a beautiful blue cabochon sapphire. I commented on the quality of the stone, and he took the ring off so I could look at it more closely. When his parents emigrated from China to escape the cultural revolution, they managed to get a lot of their family's gems out of the country, hidden in their clothing.
 
  • #14
Evo
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That sounds like a really good idea for a thread. I've got some neat rocks myself. What about arrow heads? They would be along the same lines as fossils?
Definitely arrowheads!
 
  • #15
trollcast
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I had / have a collection of sea glass and rocks somewhere from when I was younger but I think it was put into the loft.

I've found a couple of bits in a drawer, a bit of green seaglass with some light hydration on the surface and 2 bits of conglomerate (I think, although one could be concrete on limestone) the other is limestone and something else.
 
  • #16
Evo
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  • #17
Drakkith
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Go ahead and post your fossils and rocks here.
Fossils eh? Let me see if I have a picture of Phinds somewhere...
 
  • #18
davenn
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Fossils eh? Let me see if I have a picture of Phinds somewhere...
awwww poor phinds ;)

I have a respectable rock mineral and fossil collection. started when I was ~8 yrs old and am now 53. Have stuff from all over the world.
3 special sections of my collection are my meteorites
my meteorite collection pics are on my www site here

my radioactive samples and my UV fluorescing samples

Its always been difficult to go on holiday without bringing a few samples home,
even when going overseas

cheers
Dave
 
  • #19
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I used to collect any kind of interesting looking rock for awhile when I was younger, but not anymore.
 
  • #20
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I collect gems. So far I have one.
 
  • #21
davenn
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I used to collect any kind of interesting looking rock for awhile when I was younger, but not anymore.
out of curiosity, why did you stop ?
Did you ever start to catalog any of your collected samples ?

Dave
 
  • #22
davenn
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  • #23
PAllen
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I used to have a decent, fully cataloged mineral and fossil collection; also did tumbling, cabachon cutting and faceting (made a bit of money in high school selling jewelry; I bought the mountings; never got into metalwork).

I had to leave this all with my parents when I went to college, then didn't have space after - assumed I would later. Parents had to suddenly retire and move, so I donated the collection to a nearby university, and sold all the gems and equipment.

Over the year since I have accumulated a few interesting specimens, but nothing serious.
 

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