Mineral collecting

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A collection of identified rocks and minerals on display. The black stones on the left are obsidians; the lighter, hollow rocks are geodes.
A collection of smaller mineral samples stored and displayed in clear cases
Azurite specimen from the Morenci mine, Morenci, Arizona, USA. Morenci is the largest copper mine in North America, and Morenci copper mineral specimens are visually appealing, abundant, and relatively inexpensive.
Creedite specimen, 11 x 7 x 3 cm, from Santa Eulalia, Chihuahua, Mexico; formerly in the Perkins D. Sams collection

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. Individual collectors often specialize in certain areas, for example collecting samples of several varieties of the mineral calcite from locations spread throughout a region or the world, or of minerals found in pegmatites.


Generally considered the "father of mineralogy", Georgius Agricola (1494–1555) was also an avid mineral collector. He wrote several books, including two of enduring significance: De Re Metallica, an early treatise on mining, and De Natura Fossilium, the first (1546) modern textbook of mineralogy.

Another famous 16th century mineral collector was Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1552–1612). He built a large mineral collection while employing Anselmus de Boodt (ca. 1550–1634), his court physician and another avid mineral collector, to expand and tend his collections. After Rudolf's death his collection was dispersed.[1]


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.[citation needed]


As a collection grows, a collector may become more interested in a particular aspect of mineral collecting. Financial limitations or limitations of physical space can also be motivating factors in specializing a collection. Some specializations include:

  • Species collecting; trying to obtain as many recognized species as possible.
  • A particular locality such as a mine, country, or state/province.
  • A particular mineral species (ex. calcite, quartz, fluorite) or mineral group (zeolites, phosphate minerals) to show the variety within the species/group.
  • A particular geological formation, such as minerals found in pegmatites.
  • Fluorescent minerals.
  • Radioactive minerals.
  • Twinned crystals.
  • A particular size range such as (from small to large), micromounts, thumbnail (generally fitting in a 1 inch cube), miniatures, small-cabinet or cabinet sized.
  • Collecting only specimens that the collector has collected themselves in the field.

Notable public mineral collections[edit]

Notable mineral collectors[edit]

Malachite specimen from the Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Arizona. Dr Douglas saved many of the best mineral specimens from the Copper Queen for his personal collection. His family later donated many of them to the Smithsonian.

The website of Mineralogical Record magazine includes a Biographical Archive containing biographical sketches of approximately 1,800 (as of 2016) mineral collectors and specimen dealers, most of whom were or are active between the late 19th century and the present day.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Frasier, Si and Ann (1995). "The History of Mineral Collecting, 1530-1799". Rocks & Minerals. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "Минералогический Музей им. А.Е. Ферсмана-крупнейшее собрание минералов в России". www.fmm.ru. Retrieved 2016-07-03.
  3. ^ Mineral Collection
  4. ^ option=com_content&view=article&id=98&Itemid=102 Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals, Houston
  5. ^ Ron & Ruth Langsdon Mineral Collection, Celina, Ohio
  6. ^ www.mim.museum
  7. ^ Mineral hall, Hamburg
  8. ^ Hall of Gems and Minerals
  9. ^ Natural History Museum of Los Angeles; Gems and Minerals. access date: 5/22/2010.
  10. ^ nhm-wien.ac.at
  11. ^ terra-mineralia.de Terra Mineralia
  12. ^ Best of Collectors St. Marie aux Mines page
  13. ^ Larson, W.F (2005). "A Lucky Man: Jack Halpern and his Colorful Collection". Mineralogical Record: 189–194. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ Bio on Mineralogical Record
  15. ^ Bio of Gene Meieran at Purdue and Intell
  16. ^ Carnegie Mineralogical Award
  17. ^ Perkins Sams obituary
  18. ^ Perkins D. Sams biography at Mineralogical Record
  19. ^ the book of his collection at Lithographie

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Mineralogy museums at Wikimedia Commons