Mineral collecting is the hobby of systematically collecting, identifying and displaying mineral specimens. Mineral collecting can also be a part of the profession of mineralogy and allied geologic specialties.
Generally considered the "father of mineralogy" and the "father of mineral collecting" is Georgius Agricola (the Latinized pen name of George Bauer) who was a very learned medical doctor in the Saxon mining towns of Joachimsthal and Chemnitz—who was also an avid mineral collector. He wrote several books, including two of enduring significance: De Re Metallica, an exhaustive treatise on mining, and De Natura Fossilium, the first (1546) modern textbook of mineralogy.
Another famous 16th century mineral collector who brought the topic to the forefront was Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1552–1612), who became very known for his political career such as the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history, and one of the longest continuous wars in modern history. He also built an enormous collection while employing Anselmus de Boodt (ca. 1550–1634), his court physician, to expand and tend his collections. De Boodt wrote one of the most influential books on the history of gems and minerals: Gemmarum et Lapidum Historia, a book on gems that enormously influenced succeeding generations. After Rudolf's death his collection was dispersed.
Mineral collectors find a variety of reasons to collect minerals. Many minerals are strikingly beautiful and collected for their aesthetic value. Others collect to learn more about mineralogy, the local mining industry and/or local geology. Some simply enjoy exploring the outdoors and socializing and trading with other mineral collectors. Serious collectors will go so far as traveling great distances to find the right specimen.
Notable public mineral collections
- Geological Museum, Mineral Collection, London
- National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Gem and Mineral Collection, Washington, D.C.
- Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Hall of Gems and Minerals
- Houston Museum of Natural Science, Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, Houston
- Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Australian Museum, Albert Chapman Mineral Collection, Sydney
- Musée de Minéralogie, École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris, Paris
- Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Milano, Milan
- Mineralogisches Museum Hamburg (1500 specimens on display) Mineral hall, Hamburg
- Fersman Mineralogical Museum, St Petersburg
- Mercer County District Library (900 specimens on display), Ron & Ruth Langsdon Mineral Collection, Celina, Ohio
Notable mineral collectors
- Andrew Ketcham Barnett (1852–1914), principal, Penzance School of Mines
- Albert Chapman (1912–1996) after death collection moved to Australian Museum
- Walter Frederick Ferrier (1865–1950), Canadian geologist and mining engineer
- Jack Halpern (born 1920)  and collection reviewed in Mineralogical Record 
- George Frederick Kunz (1856–1932), gentleman scientist, VP of Tiffany & Co., "special agent" for the US Geological Survey (1883–1909)
- W.F. Larson (born 1945), Founder of Pala Gems, board of San Diego Natural History Museum, owner Sinkankas Library 
- Gene Meieran (born 1937), 2nd Sr Intel Fellow (after the inventor of the microprocessor), 2003 Carnegie Mineralogical Award winner. Collection also at A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum
- J. P. Morgan (1837–1913), famous international banker. Morganite was named after him by G.F. Kunz
- Perkins D. Sams (1927–2010), West Texas oilman. After death collection moved to Houston Museum of Natural Science.
- Stephen Smale (born 1930), Professor in mathematics, UC Berkeley. World's best Chinese mineral collection published in book. Appraised Houston Museum of Natural Science collection.
- Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749–1817), pioneering German geologist
- Henrietta Clive, Countess of Powis (1758–1830), one of the first female mineral collectors in the United Kingdom, whose well-organised collection is now part of National Museum Wales
- Fossil collecting
- Lapidary club
- Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the world's largest.
- Mineralientage, the Munich Mineral Show, Europe's largest.
- Frasier, Si and Ann (1995). The History of Mineral Collecting, 1530-1799. Rocks & Minerals.
- Natural History Museum of Los Angeles; Gems and Minerals. access date: 5/22/2010.
- Best of Collectors St. Marie aux Mines page
- Larson, W.F (2005). A Lucky Man: Jack Halpern and his Colorful Collection. Mineralogical Record. pp. 189–194.
- Bio on Mineralogical Record
- Bio of Gene Meieran at Purdue and Intell
- Carnegie Mineralogical Award
- Perkins Sams obituary
- Perkins D. Sams biography at Mineralogical Record
- the book of his collection at Lithographie
- Wilson, Wendell (1994). Wilson, Wendell, ed. The History of Mineral Collecting, 1530-1799. Mineralogical Record.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mineralogy.|
- Beginning Guide to Mineral Collecting at mindat.org
- Criteria for selecting crystallized mineral specimens for a display collection by Jack Halpern Reprint article, the Mineralogical Record, 2008
- Tips for collecting minerals in the field, by the Mineralogical Society of America.
- Collector's Corner, at MSA
- The American Federation of Mineral Societies, with links to regional and local clubs in the USA.
Media related to Mineralogy museums at Wikimedia Commons