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Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today
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Mark Ost




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PostPosted: Sep 02, 2013 06:56    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Ah yes John
I see what you are saying. I agree, but can understand perhaps not having the time to take on a fairly complex skill set of basic mineralogy. That said I suspect many do have a curiosity but the world seems to move fast these days (faster as I get older) so it can be difficult to keep up, even though a couple of mineral guides do have good basic information in them such as Simon and Schuster's guide.

One thing I did notice during my time in academics was that many professors (not all) had lost a child like curiosity about the work. They were very competent but no longer inquisitive in a broad sense outside of their professional specialization.

Einstein once said there were many (most) in science who went into it for various reasons, as a living, to demonstrate their intellect, or as an exercise much like an athlete. "Should an angel of God descend and drive from the Temple of science all those who belong to the categorizes I have mentioned, I fear the Temple would be nearly emptied. But a few worshipers would still remain- some being from former times and some from ours. To the latter belongs our Planck and that is why we love him. Direct quote from AE!
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Riccardo Modanesi




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PostPosted: Sep 02, 2013 08:20    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Don Lum wrote:

"If you compare yourself with others you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."
Don

Hi to everybody! There is an Italian commedy of the famous Sicilian writer Luigi Pirandello, whose title is "One, Nobody and One Hundred Thousand People", (in the original language: Uno, Nessuno e Centomila), thus representing you are always ONE for yourself, NOBODY for the guys who don't know you well, and ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE for every one of your friends and/or relatives! And also comparing yourself with other people always gives you a sense of unsatisfaction, thus thinking "maybe he/she did it better than me".
Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.

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Hi! I'm a collector of minerals since 1973 and a gemmologist. On Summer I always visit mines and quarries all over Europe looking for minerals! Ok, there is time to tell you much much more! Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.
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Elise




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PostPosted: Sep 02, 2013 11:19    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

John S. White wrote:
....As has been stated above, people collect for a variety of reasons, and I welcome them all to the hobby. There is always the possibility that at least some of those who seem indifferent to the science will become motivated at some point to look a little deeper at these extraordinary objects.


I was so discouraged at a recent large mineral show (approaching its 5th decade running) to be so inundated by metaphysical / pseudoscience, not just from vendors, but also the general chatter of people crowding around booths and display cabinets and even worse, broadcast over the loudspeaker entreating the public to hurry and not miss the next lecture on healing properties - overall it seemed to be the theme of the day, intentionally or not. I picked up free literature at the sponsoring organization's information booth that related to this as well.

I understand the conundrum dealers face, but when I was looking at interesting specimens - in particular quartz - several worked very hard to try to sell me the specimen on the merits of its healing properties, not the aspects which drew me to the specimen or table of specimens and which I expressed interest in. I was particularly interested in some quartz crystals which purportedly had been altered or grew in a certain way because of the frequency of lightning strikes in the locality - I am not sure of the specifics, because I had to back away from the table in the face of it, even though I really wanted to buy one, if not several - despite that they were not inexpensive. The vendor even seemed uncomfortable to be using this tact, quite obviously not believing anything he was saying, but I suspect he sized me up for a relic of the 60s based on my own morphology.

Towards the end of a full day spent at the show without a single purchase (though I had a nice budget planned to use up), I was tentatively looking at some neat prehnite specimens - I've always been intrigued by them. I almost cringed when the dealer noticed my interest and approached me, but he turned out to be a delight! An older gentleman (that just means older and grayer than me - I myself might be type-casting when I say I believe he is an old "mineral hand", no nonsense to be sure -- must have been the clothes) the first thing he said was " just look at this one, it looks like a snowman, and this one looks like a pumpkin and look at this one it looks like...!!!" It was a great way to end the day. I bought two for $10-20 each, a bit of damage here and there, but showed some aspects I wanted - I probably should have bought the whole flat.

I'll never afford the euhedral prehnites perched on tanzanite that I was so fortunate to examine closely at Tucson one year, but these are neat for the growth, surface structures, inclusions - as well as to ponder whatever that angular area is at 9 o'clock, see below...how did that happen? I can't understand why people so easily and enthusiastically accept implausible non-science when the actual science is so fascinating even in its most simplistic form - why not be drawn into its depths? or just delight in "green pumpkins"?

Cheers,
Elise



Prehnite_epidote_Bendoukou_Keyes_Mali_eas_2425wSm.jpg
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Prehnite with epidote
Bendoukou, Kayes, Mali
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Don Lum




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PostPosted: Sep 02, 2013 12:27    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

"If you compare yourself with others you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."

My main point using this quote was to make an analogy of comparing one's mineral collection with that of another person's collection.

Don

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Mark Ost




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PostPosted: Sep 02, 2013 13:08    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

The internet is the worst place for that kind of somewhat non linear thinking (trying to be kind). Living in Virginia Beach, I am at the "Nexus of Nuts" for this mystical healing sort of thing. Edger Casey and the ARE (Association for "Research" {not quite as we know it} and Enlightenment). My sister in law works there and, though a fine person, is a chief proponent of magical thinking!
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Jacquou HO




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PostPosted: Sep 02, 2013 15:03    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Hello,


The first thing that made me collect "mineral" was their BEAUTY, the very first time when I visited the museum, I admired only their beauty and did not care their provenance, chemical composition...

Then I am curious about what make them so nice,why some minerals have the same chemical elements but they do not have the same appearance...

" The tailor makes a man ? ", but not the mineral...So to me, somehow "mineral" is "mineralogy".

There are many "collectors", "sellers" do not write mineral composition on their label (me neither)...is their family, their provenance enough? Anyway, there are different ways to study.

I do not have enough acknowledge to understand everything concerning mineralogy, as a amateur I collect "mineral" beaucause it is a very "interesting" hobby and I do my way.

What bother me is that there are a few sellers who do not have enough acknowledge to transfer to buyers-collectors. To me, I do not buy only stone, but also the information concerning this stone...

Warm regards,

Tran
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John S. White
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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2013 05:25    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Tran:

Dealers should put on their labels only the information that is unique to that specimen and cannot be obtained from a textbook, which primarily means provenance. The chemical composition is readily available from textbooks unless the specimen is atypical and is known to contain a significant variation in its chemistry, as in "Calcite, cobaltian." Most important are the locality details, because they cannot be recovered from a textbook if lost. And today more and more collectors are also insisting on getting additional information such as who collected the piece, and when it was collected, but the absence of these details on a label would not deter me from purchasing a specimen that I want for my collection,

Having to add the chemistry on the label for every specimen would put an unreasonable burden on the dealer and would open the door to a lot of mistakes because chemical formulas can be very complex and different references may present different versions of many of the formulas,

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Jacquou HO




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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2013 13:40    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Hello,

Last summer, I visited a mineral museum (a club's collection) in Czech Republic.

In the show case, there were a very nice "ALMANDIN" garnet from pakistan. I was really curious and asked for further information as I has seen many garnets like this sold as "SPESSARTINE".

A person who works there replied that in any case, the label could not be wrong as it was marked by a geologist !

This garnet may be ALMANDIN, but her information was not so convinced...(to me).

The green garnet found in Iran/afghanistan border is always demantoid?...I trust the dealer when I buy the minerals, but sometime I disappointed about their information, anyway I do not have any equipment to analyse my minerals at home or how can I know the provenance marked in the label is true? As a young collector, I do not have so much experience - one of the reason why I am here :)

My idiot question is what is mineralogy in mineral collection?

Tran
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GneissWare




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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2013 14:37    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

"My idiot question is what is mineralogy in mineral collection?"

None of the issues you raised are wrong, so your question is not "idiot" ;=)

On the garnet front, all garnets are in solid solution meaning they are not pure end-member garnets. In most cases, "demantoid" (which is a green variety) is usually closer to end-member Andradite. The Iranian ones are Andradite and Grossular mixtures with more Grossular than Andradite. Unlike many demantoids, there is nearly no chromium present so the green is produced by iron.

Many times geologists and others have to guess at what the exact mineral is. For example, most people would consider garnets from skarns to be Grossular, and those in mica schists to be Almandine, as this is the most common type found in these environments. But without actual testing, you can't be certain. And, again, for example, a garnet in a mica schist may well be 80% Almandine, 15% Spessartine, and 5% something else. Most people are probably not putting this amount of detail on a label, as it would confuse the general public.
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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2013 15:25    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

This subject is interesting to me as I have just collected minerals for few years.

So it is really verry little "mineralogy" if the dealers do not transfer enough information concerning the "mother rock".

I admire the people who collect minerals by themselves as they know exactly where and how their minerals found.
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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2013 20:14    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Actually you are quite correct, but if you are waiting for dealers to add this additional information (mother rock) I am afraid that you will grow old before you see it. It is simply asking too much of dealers. Some may actually know what the mother rock was or is, but most don't because they acquired their material from someone else who did not record the nature of the mother rock. Even if they did, there is no obligation on the part of the dealer to include this detail on his/her labels. This information is rarely seen on labels, and for rather obvious reasons. There is only so much information that is expected of dealers with regard to what they put on their labels, and mother rock is not included among what is expected or even desired by most of their customers.
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PostPosted: Aug 14, 2014 12:42    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Just noticed this topic and sorry for dragging it from the distant past. Sometimes I think the aesthetics of mineral specimens can lure people into the hobby, where that can stay as an appreciation of the aesthetics, or in my case and many others the "magpie effect" has drawn me in, and then an interest has begun from that.

Minerals and mineralogy is such a daunting area from the outside looking in and like so many hobbies, the learning curve is initially steep but never ending.
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cascaillou




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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2014 08:03    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

Concerning aesthetics: this is the starting point for any collector I think, but then comes a natural curiosity about what minerals are and how they form.

Concerning labels: the most important data is a detailed origin of the mineral (by detailed I mean that country+state/district isn't accurate enough). Besides that, the nature of the host rock is an additional mineralogically relevant data, but I never saw any label mentioning it.

Concerning easy garnet identification: use a handheld spectroscope (preferably combined with verification of specific gravity and refractive index)
see here: http://www.geminterest.com/spectlist.php?lettre=G
(Link normalized by FMF)
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basti




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PostPosted: Sep 23, 2014 08:44    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

I thought just about this recently. Buying selection of killer aesthetic pieces is just a matter of having enough money. I can build world-class collection within a year - give me $20 million and you have it :) On the other hand I understand why many people buy instead of collecting. There are many legitimate reasons. Some buyers are very well educated experts, some are just "investors".

What worries me more is stupid field collectors. They do not document their finds and they often throw out very rare minerals or ruin interesting localities. Just one recent story - guy was blasting site with smoky quartz vugs. Head-sized feldspar crystals and fist sized apatites were dumped because he simply collected only smokies and that "junk" was not interesting for him. I recently reviewed one article about pocket pegmatites in one particular area. There were several hundred pocket pegmatites found, but only 3 (!!!) of these were ever published. All 3 only in collectors magazine, no science at all. Basically "We found smokies and feldspars with great color and they were huge!". What a great results for area heavily collected during last 150 years...
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Martin Rich




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PostPosted: Sep 23, 2014 15:47    Post subject: Re: Very little mineralogy in mineral collecting today  

basti wrote:

What worries me more is stupid field collectors. They do not document their finds ...


My words! Unfortunately a lot of "collectors" want discover and excavate "killer-specimens" for showing to their enviously friends, but in my eyes, this is the wrong way. The associated, and in the most cases (very) small minerals of a (huge) find, are very important in a scientific point of view! If you (collector) can not ID this minerals, please bring it to mineralogists, museums, etc. for further researches. Take a cheap digital-camera with you for documenting the occurrence,...

Only my opinion
Martin

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