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A general guide for using the Forum with some rules and tips
Specimen Criteria
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Konstantinos Ch.




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PostPosted: May 22, 2008 21:01    Post subject: Specimen Criteria  

Hello all!

I am not fortuned to have often an in person conversation with mineral specimen collectors, so I decided to open this topic. Which is the main criterion when you finally decide to pick a specimen? Reforming the question, which is the criterion which would prevent you from picking a mineral specimen?

I know that here is involved a combination of many different factors, but there is always something we all individually cannot suffer. I'm not talking about fakes! I assume anyone of us would pick a fake for her/his collection.

For me, this criterion (for now) is locality. I collect only Bulgarian specimens.

How about you?

Thank you in advance for all your answers!
-Kostas.
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Maxxedison




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 03:23    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Hello Konstantinos,
My criterion to choose the minerals is much confused, I am still new in this world of the mineralogy and at this moment I try to have a litle bit of each corner of the world.
I gained a certain experience and appreciation for the minerals of my country (Portugal) and in a near future I will be going to collect with more interest and criterion.
And besides they are selfcollected, that has a special taste.

P.S. I keep on loving the whole sort of Quartzes, if i could it, i had all the variety and shapes, but ... I lack the most important thing for this love to become a reality...! The hope is the last one to die!!

Ricardo
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Konstantinos Ch.




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 05:27    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Hi all!

Hi Ricardo!So let's say your criterion is Quartz.Nice! I love Quartz!My first collection had this subject, when I seriously started collecting minerals. I'd like to say that your wishes wil come true if you keep on growing this collection. Quartz is a quiet common (1st or 2nd most common) with many different forms, colors and sizes, so you'll likely get one of each type, there are enough for everyone.

Since you like Quartz have this link:
http://www.faden.it/
(link fixed by Jordi)

I'm sure this collection will be your favorite.

So good luck! Any other opinions?
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Maxxedison




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 08:57    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

I love Quartz, but unfortunately in Portugal its uncommon to have good crystal quartz of any kind to self collected, the only way is to buy, but the prices... one day!!!
The link that you give to me its now on my favourites!
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Tracy




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 08:59    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Hi Kostas -

I started describing how I collect and what interests me in my "Tracy's favorites" thread:
http://www.fabreminerals.com/forum/Message-Board/viewtopic.php?t=207
(link fixed by Jordi)

Like Ricardo, I am still finding my theme as a collector and for this reason my thread is also titled "an amateur's adventures." I haven't gotten to the end of my adventure, not even to a rest stop! :-) For now, I am still exploring.

But that isn't the heart of your question, and I haven't posted any photos to my thread lately, so I will contribute to this one instead. There are two primary criteria that interest me as a collector. The first is structure, generally geometric (as in crystals versus amorphous). The second is oddness (as in things that you never expect could be created in nature). I like quartzes because they satisfy these two criteria regularly. Fluorites too for their variety of forms, and many "metallic" minerals (sulfides and oxides). Right now my focus is shifting a bit, but I will explain that further in my own thread when I have time to add to my story.

My experience so far is that not all criteria are equal in the collecting world; at the end of the day esthetics are the essential factor for most people. I want to say that they aren't all that important to me, but this isn't always true....

Tracy

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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 09:31    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Quality, quality, quality. This is not another discussion about what constitutes a "top-quality" or "killer" specimen. This is simply learning about what is damage and what is not. As a young collector I was offered what appreared to be a really attractive sphalerite with fairly large crystals. One of the adults in our club picked up a second specimen with smaller crystals and recommended I buy it instead. At first, that made no sense to me until he pointed out that half of the specimen I selected was actually a broken surface.

The other issues, such as aesthetics, desirability, rarity, locality, and value all come later in the quest to build your collection. You need to learn what is a good crystal and what is a cleavage face before you can take your next step. Certainly, you will collect what interests you and what catches your eye. I specialize in collecting only minerals from the state of Arizona, U.S.A. There are specimens in my collection that are the best from this area but would not even be collected if they were from Brazil or Pakistan. Others are rare for Arizona but not the rest of the world. Finally, some are world-class specimens but within the context of my collection, they are all important.

You need to visit museums, other collections and shows to begin to understand what is good and what is not. With minerals like apophyllite you will learn that many of the flat rather than pointed terminations are acutally cleavages. Damage on quartz crystals is easier to determine since it has an obvious conchoidal fracture, notwithstanding the rare cleavage (acknowledgements to John White and his fascinating article on quartz cleavage).
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chris
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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 09:40    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Hi Kostas,

As you I collect minerals from Bulgaria ;-) but not only...

In fact I collect specimens having at least a sulfide/sulfosalt combined with another kind of mineral (carbonate, silicate, ...). The more unexpected the combination is for the location the more I'm interested in.

Christophe
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Konstantinos Ch.




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 09:43    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Hello!

Ricardo,I'm glad that you like the site! Do not warry about the prices, I know they're high but you could search for bargains. Also, don't forget that the number of specimens in a collection is not that important. You could have only a few specimens and still have a significant collection. Just try to control yourself when you make a choice. This will save you money for a specimen that you really like. Furthermore, don't harry! A very well-known wolrd-class collector (I prefer not to reveal his name) once told me that it one cannot expect to create a collection within two or three Mineral Shows. I personally don't know of any particularly young collector with a great collection. So, keep enjoying the hobby and one day I'll be happy to admir your collection!

Tracy, thank you for your reply! So, "Bizzare Geometry" is your style! Nice! And you would exclue amorphous. Keep in specializing your preferences and I think a very interesting collection will result out of your effort! Good luck!

We'll all be waiting for more opinions!
-Kostas/
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Tracy




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 09:47    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Les, I wasn't trying to divert attention back to the question of quality - sorry if it came across that way!

The question being posed here is a bit confusing, perhaps because of language difficulties or because I was reading too quickly. Kostas, are you asking what do other collectors look for in choosing specimens, or what would cause you NOT to choose a specimen? If the former, see my posting above: structure, oddness, and occasionally esthetics (also the underlying science to the extent that I can follow it). I am not a locality collector. If the latter...I don't really know, I haven't set any "rejection rules" for myself yet.

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Konstantinos Ch.




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 09:56    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Hello once again!


Tracy and Les, please allow me to clarify: I was talking here about the main factor, the main criterion that a specimen needs to have so that you include it in your collection. Or, which is the main characteristic that, when it's not present on a given specimen, you cannot add it in your collection. It's the same question asked in a different way.

For example, the main criterion for me is the specimen to come from within the Bulgarian borders. Once the specimen is Bulgarian, I check the rest of the factors (damge, aesthetics, form, rarity etc.). If the specimen is not Bulgarian, I don't take the time considering any other factors, since the specimen cannot be included in my (Bulgarian) collection.

I could form the question like that : " Which is the theme of your collection" but there would be a differrence. Some people hate internal cracks, but that's not a theme of a collection.
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Konstantinos Ch.




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 10:06    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Chris, sry, I aswered too fast. So, you check the chemistry first! Really interesting!

I understand why you are interested in Bulgaria. Madan is a Sulphide-Paradise! And Sulphide Combos are classics here. However, I don't collect only the Sulphides from Bulgaria. I collect absolutely everything ( in good quality and specimen grade crystals-not micromountains)
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chris
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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 10:20    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Hi again,

"So, you check the chemistry first! Really interesting!"
=> Not very surprising for someone as me having biochemistry background ;-).

I agree with you. For most people Bulgaria = Madan = sulphides. But there is plenty other interesting stuff in Bulgaria. I even made an exception 2 years ago in buying a great aragonite from Bulgaria. If I only keep one specimen without sulphide it will be this one.

But I'm surprised you don't collect specimens from Greece...
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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 10:20    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Now I understand. I agree with the comments about Bulgaria's sulfides, what a great group of localities. I collect only those specimens that come from Arizona. I collected world-wide minerals for almost 20 years and determined I could not keep that up so I decided to specialize. So, my first criteria is the piece has to come from Arizona. Our collection is now over 1500 specimens but there are still many localities and varieties that we are missing.

The second criteria (and there are a few exceptions) is that the piece must be crystallized. It is not my goal to assemble a collection of one of each mineral species that is found in Arizona. I do not have many of the those that only are found as micro crystals or smears on a rock.
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Konstantinos Ch.




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 11:00    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Chris, you're probably talking about a Luki mine Aragonite. I have one, they are really amazing.Bulgaria is not only Madam, as you very correctly say. It is not even only Rhodope Mountains. Have any of you heard about the Mount Vitosha? It's just by Sofia and has produced great skeletal Amethystine/ Smokey Quartz and Schroll Tourmaline.

I live in Bulgaria since 2003 and I have direct access to Bulgarian specimens. I also have a VERY slowly growing world wide collection, but, since I'm here, I have the opportunity to be the first to pick from a new find. I don't have the same access to Greek minerals. So, yes, I would add a very nice Greek piece to my Worldwide collection, but I cannot be sure it's the best or one of the best, like I am with Bg specimens.

Les, I follow your second criterion, too. Bulgaria has produced Azurite, too, but only as microcrystals. I didn't pick the piece although it was unique. Specialization helps a lot on deciding what to pick. However, I cannot resist picking pieces that I fall in love with, so I decided to build two collectionc together, but always focusing in my specialized collection first.
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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 11:13    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

One of my best friends has two collections, one of specimens from the New Jersey trap rocks (many being self-collected) and the other case is filled with world-wide, purchased specimens. Another does the same thing with self-collected Colorado minerals and a case of world-wide specimens. We actually have two collections, my wife collects world-wide thumbnail specimens. So, one collection is locality specific and the other is size specific.

I am interested in acquiring some Bulgarian sphalerites and would like to know if you trade or sale your best duplicates.
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chris
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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 11:21    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

You're right. the specimen comes from Luki...

I've heard that Bulgaria produced great smoky & amethystine in the past but I didn't know they came from Sofia's area. Thanks for the information.

I understand why you are focusing on Bulgaria specimens. It is surely helpfull living directly in the country while I have to deal with retailers in France to get my specimens.

When you'll be picking from a new find, don't forget to leave some scraps for guys like me who don't have the opportunity to do as you ;-).

Christophe
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Konstantinos Ch.




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PostPosted: May 23, 2008 19:41    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Hi all and I'm so happy you reply so intensively in my first topic in the forum!

Les, I guess you understand what "double hunt" means :) .On the Sphalerites, the best came out from 9th of September, which is long ago defunct. Different styles come out usually, but none with the clarity of the old greenish yellow on white Quartz core.

Christophe, Amethystine Quartz from Bulgaria come from Rhodope, too. Some of them from Luki as you Aragonite. Those I'm talking about are not very popular and have Hematite fibres as inclusions. They are Also highly skeletal.
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Konstantinos Ch.




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PostPosted: May 24, 2008 00:47    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Guys,hello!

I just felt that the topic has gone out of its limits. I wouldn't like to be accused of selling or trading using the forum, so please talk only about the theme of the topic. Jordi Fabre can give you my email for such conversation and I would be glad to answer you.

Btw, Christophe I would like to see your specimen of Luki Aragonite. Could you post us some pics, please?


Come on, let's hear more opinions!
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chris
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PostPosted: May 24, 2008 12:48    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Hi Kostas,

Here is the best picture I have. I can't do right now. Tell me what you think.

Christophe



aragonite.jpg
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Konstantinos Ch.




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PostPosted: May 24, 2008 13:40    Post subject: Re: Specimen Criteria  

Christophe, it's a very nice one! Unfortunately I didn't have the opportunity to be the first on this find, although in the end i got a good one for my collection. Mine is more white and misses these brown coatings ( they look really stylish btw...) . Luki is one of the best Bulgarian localities, and although it rarely produces, when it does, they are masterpieces!


Please let me come to a conclusion: So far three of us (including me) have specific subjects/themes for our collections, but we cannot resist picking irrelevant to our main collections specimens.

Does this happen to other ones of you?
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