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What is the definition of 'No Damage'?
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Matt_Zukowski
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PostPosted: Aug 31, 2009 23:37    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

Living in Alaska and thus unable to attend many shows in the lower 48, I bought almost all of my early stuff from auctions over the internet. This experience has taught me that, at least in terms of my taste, very rarely will I find anything of sufficiently high quality offered in this way. I am now slowly disgorging most all I have previously purchased because of this. I am jaded about stuff one can buy over the internet.

I think shows are indispensable for building a collection while minimizing disappointments. Plus i get to finally talk to people who are as nuts about minerals as i am.

As far as the calcite goes, it sure looks like a major corner is wiped out. If so, I would return this to the dealer and then never do business with them again.
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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2009 03:53    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

Nurbo wrote:

>I notice from your collection thread that many of your pieces are "Damage free", I would
>be interested to know your thoughts on how this elusive quality should be defined.

Hi Nurbo!

Especially after reading this thread, I don't know what exactly "damage free" (or "no damage") should mean.

But, to answer your specific question, when I say "no damage" in one of my specimen descriptions, I mean that with my naked eye I can't see any damage there except (1) in the attachment point or area, and (2) in the periphery. I'm aware, however, that number 2 might be redundant because the periphery is usually a part of the attachment point.

Perhaps we should never speak about "damage free". We'd better refer to it as "damage degree" since, as Alfredo Petrov rightfully says above, virtually all the mineral specimens have some damage. The problem here would be how to convert that degree to numbers. Any idea?

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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2009 10:30    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

Hi everyone, the piece arrived in the mail today.
Firstly let me say these are quite serious close up photos, the terminal edge these pictures are of is 12mm long, I love my digital camera, my eyes are rubbish Im very long sighted, I can see a sheep on a mountainside 10 miles away but cant read a newspaper, though these marks are discernable to me with my glasses on,

Anyway here are some photos taken on the macro setting so they will show every detail.



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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2009 11:37    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

I would personally call that 'some damage' - it is clearly not 'no damage' and one might even say 'substantial damage'

James
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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2009 11:37    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

Nurbo,

If you're not happy with the specimen, and after seeing the dealer's behavior, don't be afraid to repack and send it back. I've only done so once, but when I did I got very satisfied with myself.

By the way, what number would you give to the "damage degree" of that calcite? Between, say, zero and ten, zero being the absolute perfection and ten the maximum conceivable damage.

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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2009 11:59    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

Roughly measuring the area's which are clearly damaged from the photo it equates to around half of the edge, so Id give it 5 out of 10. By eye only the cracked one is visible, the edge just looks like it isnt straight.but my eyes are not great.
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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2009 12:02    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

I find it interesting that a couple of participants in this discussion have mentioned becoming far sighted with age, an unfortunately common phenomenon. It implies that if "no damage" means "no dings visible to the naked eye", then specimens that were too damaged when we were younger might become acceptable as we age and can't see the tiny dings anymore? I have the opposite problem myself - I'm very myopic - so I can hold rocks 10cm from my eyes and see very tiny details that other folk can only see with a good loupe - Perhaps that's why I claim that ALL specimens are damaged. (On the other hand, I have a hard time reading street signs and house numbers.)

On a related tangent: Perhaps eyesight problems influence the size range of specimens we prefer? I prefer micromounts of tiny rare species, and thumbnails, and I'm very nearsighted - Coincidence? Do all of our farsighted members prefer cabinet-size specimens, which look good when observed from 2 metres away?
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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2009 12:09    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

A numbering system for grading minerals is certainly possible, but not very likely. One first has to agree on the criteria and then who the evaluators will be. It is like trying to come up with the list of the world's top 100 tourmaline, quartz or calcite specimens. A group of collectors and dealers might be able to agree on the top 10 or even 20 specimens of each group but they will never agree on the order and then the remaining 80 will be based on personal preference or economics. In essence, how can I get my specimen on the list to enhance its value or marketability or position with a prospective client.

Years ago, when most coins had relatively low value, a qualitative grading system was employed by collectors. Coins were graded Poor, Good, Very Good, Fine, Very Fine, Almost Uncirculated, Uncirculated and Proof. Over the past 20 to 30 years, a numeric system was added so now there are 5 or 10 grades of Proof alone and Proof is supposed to be the best that can be minted. There are several grading services out there and some of the grading is dependent on whether you are buying or selling a coin. Finally, it is all about economics. A Proof-70 can command significantly more money than a Proof-65 or 67 as each collector tries to buy, or gets sold, the most perfect coin possible.

Now, getting back to minerals, one will have to set up a scale and get people to agree to the criteria. As soon as one collector or one dealer does not get the number they want, they will either discredit the system or start a new and competing one. I am not being cynical, just practical.

It is better for all us to research the market, be comfortable in our knowledge of what we collect and what we are willing to accept in terms of damage, and not worry about whether it is a ding, a rub, a chip, a wilbur or whatever. Whether the damage is natural or caused by humans, animals or plants, it is damage and each collector needs to determine what their threshold is for accepting damage.

Finally, I remember the predictions that the internet would eliminate the shows. The internet has made an impact but this is a hobby and business that is built on friendships and relationships. We enjoy comparing our finds with others and that is why shows will continue. Minerals are three dimensional and it is difficult to adequately show a specimen with tw dimensional photos.
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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2009 12:21    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

I thought Id repost the earlier photo of the piece which is fairly close to the actual size, Ive put a rectangle around the area Ive magnified in the most recent photos just to give perspective on the real world scale of the damage.,


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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2009 15:38    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

Hi all

I agree with Nurbo: damaged, I thought to see it from first photo and is confirmed by his excellent close ups.
I, as Carles, have only returned one piece in my life. And I have not even received refund :-(

What I love more is the answer I got when I complained to a son of a seller (two very different characters; father had a customer; son lost him): " is every time more difficult to get Tsumeb pieces without damage" .......I never dispute about price, but I ask always about damage...
On the other hand, when I said to a friend dealer that the mimetite from Tsumeb was tipped, he refused to charge the amount to me....

I like Internet. It makes me easier to search and found rare species (Alfredo, do you have any site :-) ?). And there are a lot of very nice people. Just some bad apples....

My definition of no damage is easy: I could not see damage with a 10x lenses, even rotating piece to see reflections. I worked by a jeweller....Maybe contaminated (also, I sorted gems by color, so, I suppose that I am very oriented to small differences; like in my present work: we could spend several hours about the merits and demerits of a charge of 0,13% in fron of one of 0,15% in Open-end....

Jordi knows me and always point to me if something is damaged (even slightly...)

With best wishes

Lluís
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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2009 18:03    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

I would be interested to know what everyone thinks about this piece as a 40 euro specimen? Had it been advertised with an acknowledgement of the damage would it be worth the money?
So far Ive only focused on the bad things, it does have some excellent features too,which I will photograph tomorrow, there is a neat little zoned purple Fluorite on the base and some very nice Sphalerite's, it has nice etchings in the Calcite, the rest of the Calcite is "Damage Free" if I dare use the term, and without magnification the dings in the termination are not that evident, my main worry was that I wouldnt be able to see past the ding's but it turns out that I can and its a very nice piece.
Also as Alfredo kindly pointed out as I get older my eyes will get worse and the ding will become less evident :-)
Im very much in two minds about it at the moment, part of me feels I should return it on principle the other bit thinks it would look great in my cabinet next to my Welsh Calcite.
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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2009 18:51    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

If you like it, and would have paid 40EUR for it if seen in person, then you should keep it. I still think it fair to ask the dealer for compensation--maybe a refund of shipping. But, this is only if you like it. Based on the size its not an unreasonable price. An undamaged calcite this size would probably be a little higher -- in the 60 to 70EUR range. If it bugs you, you should send it back. In my experience, if I buy something that bugs me, I can't see past the flaw, and it bugs me more and more.
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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2009 21:09    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

Nurbo:

Who was it, called these little edge dings "rat nibbles"? Maybe Wendell talking about the Malpais Mine azurites. But that's what they are, rat nibbles. Put the calcite in your cabinet with your Welsh calcite, see how they look together. If you find yourself bonding with it, well, then the little dings (these are beyond Wilburs) won't matter. If however, you feel buyer's remorse setting in, well then you'll have to return the piece or perhaps trade it with someone.

I have a lot of dinged minerals. But they still make me happy when I go in there and look at them. Certain groupings just look perfect when viewed overall. Others, eh, not so much. So give it a while, put it in the place you had in mind for it when you ordered it, and see what develops.

Hope this helps,

Ed

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PostPosted: Sep 02, 2009 01:13    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

ya know I could see if the damage was a scratch or a chip like that near the base or on a side at the bottom giving it a little leeway but when it's on the term. then thats a whole different story..the terminations of crystals are the one place where "no damage" applies to the fullest.

oh yea alfredo you and i are alike..i can see itty bitty things like a magnifying glass but street sighs and the like..heck no.
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PostPosted: Sep 02, 2009 12:18    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

Here are a few more photo's


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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2009 07:51    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

Hi Nurbo,

We cannot decide for you. The price does match the quality of the specimen. If it were perfect (assuming this concept has any sense in the mineral world) I think the dealer would have priced it over 100 euros (about $142), perhaps even 200.

If you are not content, just send it back for a full refund. Now you can. Three months from now maybe you will not be able to.

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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2009 08:10    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

I hesitate to advise folk on what rocks to keep, because we each have such different tastes, but Nurbo has asked for our opinions, so here goes: To me the damage only seems obvious in the close-up photos, not the photos of the whole specimen. So I recommend keeping it. Then, if you ever get tired of it, you can always give it away as a gift to a young beginner mineral collector - the price is certainly cheap enough.
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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2009 08:13    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

Hi, all

I agree hearthly with Carles.

On the other side, I remember a Mineralogical Record that has in the front page a damaged piece. Inside is an article about perfection and no damaged pieces/damaged pieces.
I do not agree with them, but the things are there....
As Carles said, we cannot decide for you...

With best wishes

Lluís
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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2009 08:40    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

Hi!

I'm clearly against purchasing specimens that I don't like much just because they're cheap. I've done this mistake many times in my life and am not going to do it once again. If so, you might end up with a large number of not wanted pieces plus a not neglectable amount of money lost forever.

In that sense, I'd recommend Nurbo not to keep the calcite unless he is happy with it. But the last decision is up to him, not to us.

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PostPosted: Sep 03, 2009 15:10    Post subject: Re: What is the definition of 'No Damage'?  

Hello again,

i was waiting till the guy answered my email about who will pay the postage if I return the piece before I say what Ive decided to do, I dont want to say in case he reads this and that may affect how he treats the postage issue. I appreciate everyones advice and comments on this, but indeed the final decision is for me to make, there is a tactile element to adding new rocks to the gang.

It seems to me that the nearest thing we have to a consensus is that if it has no visible to the naked eye, (or bespectacled eye) damage it is fair to say it has no damage, but then no damage to long sighted collector's is different to no damage to short sighted collector's and that damage diminishes with the collectors age.

It seems bonkers to me that any dealer would use the phrase if its obviously not true, its just bad business. If you make the statement that a piece in undamaged your going to attract buyers who will check.and are likely to come back and buy more stuff if they like what they get. Obviously they will not come back if they feel misled, furthermore you lose the goodwill of the recommendation from one collector to another if the claim isnt true, the difference between a good business and a bad one is reputation.

Thats what I think anyway..

Just for fun Im trying to figure out some kind of equation that would factor different kinds of damage and severity of damage into some kind of a numerical rating, its really complicated.
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