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Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today
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Pete Modreski
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PostPosted: Mar 02, 2008 15:59    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

I want to express my agreement with Alfredo's very good summary and comments on this topic. (This “Very Little Mineralogy…” thread on Jordi's forum, and the “Tucson 2008--Questionable Prices?” topic, are covering similar ground, and many of the comments that have been posted on them relate to both topics.)

I agree that there are still many collectors (and dealers) who are serious and knowledgeable amateurs who are quite interested in studying and learning about minerals, and who contribute much to the advancement of mineralogy as far as description and documentation of mineral occurrences around the world. I myself am one of these people “in the middle of the pyramid”. I am very likely never going to purchase a specimen from any of the dealers who display at the Westward Look in Tucson, but this does not mean that I don’t enjoy, and gain knowledge from, looking at their “exquisite” specimens (though this may also include my expressing wonderment and perhaps some skepticism about the appropriateness of the number of zeroes on some of their price tags). I personally—like many others—can derive a great deal of enjoyment and opportunity for learning about minerals, by purchasing a very moderately-priced specimen, if it possesses that combination of illustrating a mineral’s properties*, paragenetic associations, and aesthetic qualities that make me want to add it to my collection—even though it may be in the $5 to $50 price range, and not the $5K - $50K range. I don’t plan to enter it in any competition, or to use it to impress people, and I am not purchasing it as a financial investment.

[*Like John White’s polished quartz sphere that fractured along a rhombohedral cleavage plane!]

I also belong to one subset of those people in the middle part of the pyramid; those who are mineralogical and geological professionals, who are also interested in minerals and mineral collections, and who make such aspects of mineralogy at least a part of their research programs. There are, happily, still a good many such people at universities, museums, and other institutions, though admittedly they represent a minority of all the geoscience faculty and professionals worldwide.

Pete Modreski, Denver, Colorado
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Gail




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PostPosted: Mar 02, 2008 17:31    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

John Said :

One thing that troubles me greatly about the mineral hobby today is that very few collectors appear to have much, if any, intellectual curiosity about minerals. The focus for most collectors appears to be only beauty and perfection, rather than rarity or novelty.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Perhaps it would help if we encourage more mineral collectors to join a group, as we did when we got involved. We belong to MAD, the Mineralogical Association of Dallas. We were urged to purchase all issues of Mineralogical Record and Rocks and Minerals as well as other publications, to visit other's collections and ask questions, to go to museums and see what is there and what makes their minerals special. We host dinner guests frequently, we enjoy the company of people from all over the world and we learn about the mining, the difficulties, the scientific background, the crystal habits, the glory of finding wonderful minerals. We learn about cleaning, trimming and preserving minerals when we visit those that perform these tasks.

Jim and I have been collecting for three years, we came into this hobby with a passion which has amazed many people. Why? Because we LOVE minerals, rocks, the people, the beauty, the scientific makeup, the crystal shapes, the self collecting, the discussions and the appreciation for ALL rocks and minerals.

It might surprise you to see many rarities in our collection. And if you ever stop to ask Jim a question about minerals he might surprise you with the chemical makeup, the locality and the provenance of many specimens. I am less inclined as I am married to a walking encyclopedia and have him to ask if I need an answer! Ha! We each have a subscription to Mineralogical Record, so we don't have to fight over who gets hold of it first. We don't hide our minerals away, we live amongst them.
When I host a woman's party they are amazed at the beauty and the way they are shown in our home. It is not a turn off by any means, it is something they see as beautiful. Do I care if they know the scientific background of our minerals...No. Do I care that WE know the scientific background of our minerals...YES.

What may surprise you is that we don't have the same opinion about the lack of mineralogy in mineral collecting today, I beg to differ. At least in our world it is not the case, we associate with collectors who DO know those things.

MAD hosts guest speakers monthly, some amazing things are brought to our attention and we learn more and more all the time. From the crater of Diamonds in Arkansas to the eye to the "Aesthetic" as some examples of our guest speakers subjects, taking in all aspects of collecting. We host group trips to mines for members. We have a group email list where questions are asked and answers are given.

Our lives aren't about "showing off" but about "showing minerals". We won the Desautels competition, we didn't do this to be prideful about what we spent, but to enjoy the fun of this new and exciting world and to share our minerals with others that might wish to see them. Collectors find no better friend than one that will be just as excited about what you collect because they collect them too!

And as a sidenote, after giving the talk on a "Woman's perspective in Mineral Collecting" I have been approached about receiving funds to start a program to entice more women into the field/hobby/business as well as educational material that we can provide to school teachers to bring the joy of minerals and rocks to students.
I have also started a woman's only forum so that women can ask scientific questions without feeling foolish. Many a woman curator sits on that chat/forum and acts as an advisor.

Jim and I are off to the Smithsonian this coming Friday and Saturday. We visit museums as often as we can. In three years I have been to the School of Mines museum three times. The Denver museum, the AMNH, the British Museum, the Houston museum, the Dallas museum, That's more museums that I have visited in a short time than I visited in 20 years prior to taking up this delightful hobby.

Now, for a woman that has been collecting only three years with no prior knowledge of minerals whatsoever, I think it is safe to say I can talk a Xenotime-(Y) with the best of them.

So have hope, gentlemen, there are many collectors that you have never had a chance to talk mineralogy with. Don't assume anything. Sure we know people who like to buy minerals without knowing much about them, so what? They are happy, don't burst their bubble.
Just know that others are out there sharing information, mentoring and slowly bringing future collectors in with the proper knowledge.

We are just lucky that we found this delightful world before being too old to want to do the work involved. I mean it when I say I am passionate about minerals.
With much respect for you all,
Gail

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parfaitelumiere




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PostPosted: Mar 07, 2008 13:41    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Hello!
Do you know that another hobby for me is to grow up bonsai trees.
What I'm looking for is the perfect shape,powerfull roots and trunk ,beautifull branches and delicate small leaves.
I'm never satisfied.
But I know some bonsai enthousiast who are happy to buy a tree in supermarket and to take care of it.
And I'm sure that these people love their trees the same I do!
I think that hapiness is the most important thing.
However I think that knowledge is important too,and if someone can give it,he has to do it.
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John Stolz




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PostPosted: May 03, 2008 13:56    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

I don't want to sound negetive--after all, this is my 1st post--but I wonder if this thread isn't a bit presumptuous in its implicit assumption that mineral collectors 'should' be interested in mineralogy. Don't get me wrong--I'm definitely in the "you should know what you like" camp. But like what? I am more into the paragenetic side and totally uninterested in the taxonomic side of mineralogy. Do I need to interest myself in new age applications of healing and vitalization?

Long and short is that people are interested for different reasons; there are different kinds of collectors--just as there are those that wonder at the state of the world because of increasing numbers of those who buy specimens at shows instead of hiking 20 miles into the wilderness and digging them up themselves. Or those in the 'knowledge for knowledge sake's' camp, who scratch their heads in wonder at those who feel compelled to collect physical specimens in the areas that float their intellectual boat.
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John S. White
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PostPosted: May 04, 2008 05:06    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Since I started the thread I guess it is up to me to respond. I don't think it is presumptious at all to express regret over the fact that relatively few mineral collectors appear to feel the need to learn more about the objects that they collect. I certainly do not expect all collectors to be intellectually challenged by the minerals they collect, but I am stunned at how few appear to be. It is hard for me to understand how anyone can have a cabinet full of these wonderful objects without feeling compelled to at least take a course in elementary mineralogy, just as it has always puzzled me that so many people can drive around this country (USA) seeing amazing geological features in roadcuts, etc., and not feel compelled to learn something how that came to be and what they represent. In other words, taking an elementary geology course or reading a good textbook on geology.

I have absolutely nothing against purchasing mineral specimens, I do it myself. But the ones that I purchase more often than not present some feature that I find curious. I love the ones that make you scratch your head and say to yourself - how did that happen? Much like Tracy's faden quartz:

http://www.fabreminerals.com/forum/Message-Board/viewtopic.php?p=1223#1223

Even bonsai collectors have to learn the basics of caring for these plants or they will not last very long. Minerals, at least, do not require care and feeding.

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Gail




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PostPosted: May 04, 2008 08:13    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

I am going to express JOY at all those that we have met who are failry novice in their collecting who DO study the mineralogy. I was at the Dallas show yesterday, many times we sat and joined in on conversations and it was like sitting in classrooms, novice collectors were learning from the masters. I saw first time collectors learning about the reason for a gwindel growth, or a reason for phantoms in fluorites.
It may not be a school classroom, but it is still a course in elementary mineralogy.
I have always seen the more positive of things in life and look, and find, reasons to have a sense of well being in the mineral world as well.
Now back to the Dallas show, whew....so many minerals, so little time!

( PS, we had Dave Wilber as a houseguest on Friday night....we went to bed at three a.m. because his stories were just wonderful! Isn't all of what we listen to a form of education in the guise of a lecture in this case anyhow?)

John, I have heard many wonderful stories about you this weekend, we had over 150 people in our home this weekend and your name came up quite a bit. You should be commended on your fabulous reputation. In your own way you have taught much to others simply by being open about your concepts and thoughts on all things mineral.

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PostPosted: May 05, 2008 04:11    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

I blush!
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parfaitelumiere




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PostPosted: Dec 22, 2008 06:10    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

think I really would like to collect in 3 ways(maybe these ways can cross,it sould be better!)
I would like to collect thumbnail specimens,aesthetics and perfectly formed,360°nice if possible.
I would like to collect twins,I love twinned crystal,for me it's magic!
I would like to collect color,to create a rainbow of colored specimens,put together,to see how the nature can create lots of wonderfull colored species!
I especially like pyromorphite,azurite...
If possible,I would like to collect colored twinned thumbnails,360° perfect,with associated species,or special shape,or from a rare location,difficult,because of my little purse!
I have found a single pyromorphite crystal from Beaujolais,2cm long,similar to chinese mimetite,really strange,and cute!
It came from a place where there are lots of habitus of pyromorphite,from deep green balls to yellow needles!
On the photo,another shape.



pyromorphite chenelette.JPG
 Description:
pyromorphite
Chenelettes
Rhône
France
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pyromorphite chenelette.JPG


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keith




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PostPosted: Jul 09, 2009 05:10    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

John
I have to disagree. Minerals DO need tender loving care - they need looking after!!

They may not grow like a bonsai - but.....

None of them like to like to be dropped,
Many don't like to be poked and prodded,
Some bite back back (pectolite for one), s
Some are scared of the light so they like to be kept in the dark (chlorargyrite)
And those black uglies that noone cares for - I always provide a home !!!!

They always seem to like ther photos taken. They light up on the screen - like coming out of the closet - you can then see all the small bits and pieces attahced - and then realise that they are hiding friends (some may even be unknown).

The more interest you show in your minerals the more they reveal to you.

So get a good book - any good mineral book with pics will help !!!

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str4hler




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PostPosted: Jul 09, 2009 07:16    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Yes!
Finally :-)
Someone who understands! Minerals need love....
See here for more:
http://www.thefloaters.org/friends/
(link normalized by FMF)

Cheers! Frank

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Peter




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PostPosted: Jul 09, 2009 09:05    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

I see it simply as we have the whole spectrum of interests, knowledge, energy, activity,
among mineral collectors just as any other group of people.

I was always astonished that so many people barely read anything, that is among thousands of Swedish collectors of which only some two dozen for instance subscribe to the MR, similar amount to Mineralienwelt and so on. Some peoples stamina simply do not exceed that of reading a few headlines or a page or two in an evening paper or weekly "sensational news journal". And it is up to them.

I can not expect other people to be as crazy as I am myself. but I highly appreciate those who in one way or another have deep interest in minerals, love them, learn about them, field collect, share experience and knowledge and there are several of those wonderful people on this thread, making a spectrum by their own.

I love the pseudomorph website!!!
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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: Jul 09, 2009 10:45    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

I, too, am astonished when I discover avid mineral collectors who do not subscribe to the MR or any other periodical. I do not think there is any more or less "mineralogical" interest in the hobby than there has ever been. Some of the great mineral collections in this country have been assembled by people who had little or no interest in the science of what they were collecting. Does it diminish their accomplish? I don't believe so because at the same time, there were mineralogists who were doing the science. Besides, if it weren't for the economics driving the mineral hobby, a lot of new minerals would still be undiscovered and undescribed.

For the rest of us who do enjoy reading and learning about the history of the mines or the mineralogy of the deposits, we can do the research and then have it available if someone asks. It is only a loss for those who are not willing or interested in doing their own reading.

These conversations have given me a greater appreciation for those geologists and mineralogists who are willing to impart their knowledge at a level I can understand, at least most of the time. They also make me realize how limited my true mineralogic knowledge is. But, if they want to know how to design and operate a mine, let's talk.
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Gail




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PostPosted: Jul 09, 2009 11:02    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

It is finally occuring to people that we are "high end" collectors ( I hate that term, but many have applied it to us. ) AND we study, research, read every publication we can, have a growing library to the point that I haven't room for my paperbacks and hardcover spy novels so am giving them to the kids.
It took a lot of convincing as the general belief is that if people have money, they have no sense.

Wrong.

Jim, in particular, is avid about researching each and every specimen we have. He can talk the talk, walk the walk. And, I am not so lame myself.
And, we are not alone.

It may be that some collectors are not up on all their minerals, but some might know a lot about a FEW of their minerals.

These days when time seems to be a luxury I can see how spending years to study might not be easy, specially if you are working hard to make the money to buy the minerals, or plan trips to collect.

And, the internet makes it so you can get a quick run down on pertinent information on any specimen so not everyone is willing to memorize all details.

Also, minerals are hobbies for many, not their livelihood. They don't always see the need to invest long hours researching but are happy with general knowledge.

( Please do not flame me. thank you. )

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Jon Mommers




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PostPosted: Jul 09, 2009 18:54    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

I too have a great passion for minerals and mineralogy (?) and I love my minerals, I also have a soft spot for anyone who appreciates them.

Mineralogy (?) I read as much as I can, as can be attested to by the half dozen partly read/reread text books on my bedroom night table, the hours I spend reading and researching on the internet daily. Books and periodicals scattered through the house.

I know something ( not a lot by professional standards) about minerals, mineralogy and paragenesis, can recognise a few hundred species in their crystallised forms, my biggest problem is that I can not remember names. This is especially embarrassing in conversation about minerals. Just can not seem to hook out the name when I need to.

I just bumble along. I do a few basis tests to help with identifying my unknowns and discuss with a couple of more knowledgeable friends.

I believe that part of the issue with mineral collecting and mineralogy today is that is that the science, the technology that is now applied to mineralogy as in all scientific fields so much more sophisticated today, that it has become very alien to most amateurs. From what I understand of physical mineralogy, as it was taught early last century, would be more practical and understandable.

The gap between professional mineralogists today and keen amateurs is widening exponentially and is at least in part a reflection of the ( technological) pace at which we live today. It is not the professionals fault nor the amateurs, the flaw, if any, lays with our educational systems whether institutional or club based. No one seems to teach the basics anymore. I would recommend Donald Pecks, Mineral Identification, A practical Guide to anyone interested in learning more.

Cheers
Jon Mommers
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Ed Huskinson




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PostPosted: Jul 09, 2009 21:15    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Gee whiz Gail. No one's going to flame you. Holy cow, you guys collect your rocks and you display them and enjoy them (immensely) and you share them with everybody. And I mean everybody: FMF is world wide.

You host gatherings at your home, and you share and share and share, honestly, without flaunting. Your enjoyment is contagious, and your love of your rocks shines right through. We all benefit from the simple pleasures you take in your collection, and I (and everyone else, I guarantee) thank you for the sharing. No worries about flamery, for sure.

So.... how goes the lading? Doing anything unique? It looks like I'll be able to stand a little closer to my 'putadora (it's an inside joke) for the next few days, so will be able to gauge your progress. More photos are called for, I could use a good mineral specimen fix.

More later,

Ed

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PostPosted: Jul 10, 2009 04:24    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Amen plus to what Ed just wrote! Gail, you and Jim are inspirational in so many ways and you are the antithesis to the image of the typical "high end" collector.

And one possible exception to Jon's comment that the gap between professional mineralogists and collectors is widening is that today there are far more professional mineralogists interacting with collectors than ever before. I know of several who routinely do X-ray identifications and analyses for local collectors. They also host club visits to their institutions and participate in field trips, as well as speak at club meetings. This is a great service to serious collectors who actually go out and dig specimens, but it also provides a source of research material for the scientist and many new species have been discovered as a result. In "olden times" it seems that the scientific community was more isolated and as a result collectors were not even tempted to contact them. I may be wrong about this last statement, but it seems to me that this was the case.

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Jon Mommers




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PostPosted: Jul 10, 2009 05:04    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

John

I hope that what you say is true. I must admit I would never had had the opportunity in olden times to raise my thoughts with yourself, the tyranny of distance would have just been to great.

My comments are coloured I quess by living in a country larger than mainland USA and a population a little over twenty two million.
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Gail




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PostPosted: Jul 10, 2009 06:18    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

I am rather enjoying this discussion, always a pleasure to hear what many of you have to say. And Ed? I put some photos up last night so you could get your "fix" on the preparations for Springfield.

In the MAD group we have members who are of all ranges of involvement in minerals, from scientists to new collectors. We have the abilitiy to tap into all sorts of wonderful information.
Everyone adds to the pool.

What a glorious morning here in Rockwall, time to go do a run. I hope you all have a really incredible day!

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nurbo




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PostPosted: Jul 10, 2009 10:31    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Hi all,
I think this forum does a huge amount to further an interest in the minerological aspect of collecting, my own experience is that since joining FMF Im far more knowledgable about the science of minerals and far more eager to learn more as a result
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Tracy




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PostPosted: Jul 10, 2009 13:16    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Ditto to what Nurbo just wrote.

I would just like to chime in in defense of the alleged "slackers" who do not subscribe to R&M or MR, or who do not assemble a library of the best books out there on minerals. Not everybody learns best through reading textbooks. I certainly don't, rather I learn much more through discussion and "doing" on a more private, one-on-one level (I consider FMF postings as a series of conversations, and as such I enjoy reading them and learn from them). I'm sure there are plenty of others who feel the same and as such might not consider it necessary to subscribe to these journals. Costs and storage limitations frequently come into play as well. Then there are those like parfaitelumiere (and me) who have multiple hobbies - if I were to buy or sign up for every book and magazine applicable to each of my hobbies, I'd quickly go bankrupt and run out of living space.

Borrowing from Peter's posting, let's just recognize and celebrate that everybody is part of a continuum of enthusiasts, each of whom pursues his/her interests using the strategies and to a degree of learning that work best for them - or are most practicable.

- Tracy

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