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The time now is Apr 18, 2019 23:42

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A general guide for using the Forum with some rules and tips
Damaging a specimen
  
  Index -> Conserving, Preparing and Cleaning Minerals
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tchai




Joined: 03 Dec 2018
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PostPosted: Jan 19, 2019 19:10    Post subject: Damaging a specimen  

Hi everyone,

i wasn't sure where to post this but i think this channel is appropriate. i haven't been collecting for long, and i consider myself somewhere in between someone who collects rocks just because they're pretty and someone who aims to form a serious collection with a theme. i recently found out about the many collectors who are generous enough to share pieces of their collection online, and i purchased my first item from one - it has beautifully stacked scalenohedral calcite crystals, and i'm just beginning to focus my collection more toward calcite.

that being said, i am a horribly clumsy person and yesterday i accidentally dropped something onto the specimen that made a substantial part of the tip of one stacked formation break off. i'm devastated and ashamed. i was provided the previous labels for this piece and it has a history. i'm just thinking of all the collectors over the years who have had this piece before me and managed to keep it in perfect condition and i wasn't able to do the same.

i come to this forum since i know it's frequented by serious collectors. have any of you accidentally damaged one of your pieces before, either when you started collecting or recently? what constitutes as substantial damage to a piece?

thanks for any responses in advance. i've provided a picture of my calcite specimen and where the tip broke off.



IMG_0961.jpg
 Mineral: Calcite
 Description:
This is to show the damage to the tip of one of the stacked formations.
 Viewed:  903 Time(s)

IMG_0961.jpg


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wendellwilson




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PostPosted: Jan 19, 2019 20:26    Post subject: Re: damaging a specimen  

I suggest you read "Mineral Specimen Mortality," Mineralogical Record (2001), vol. 32, no. 4, for many such stories. You'll feel better. Some stories are quite funny in a horrifying kind of way.
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Bob Harman




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PostPosted: Jan 19, 2019 20:46    Post subject: Re: damaging a specimen  

Rest easy. Virtually all field collectors have damaged a quality specimen at one time or another. Extracting a quality specimen intact and undamaged is the exception rather than the rule.

Wendell's referral to that 2001 MR article is really appropriate. BOB
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SteveB




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PostPosted: Jan 19, 2019 23:21    Post subject: Re: damaging a specimen  

I can out shame you. My father, who was working in a mine, gave me a bunch of museum quality specimens when I was six. I was so fascinated with them I broke them open to see if the outside stuff was on the inside too :) some were and some weren't, so it taught me much from that point of view. I still have the pieces and have been trying to rebuild the specimens as best I can using 401 Epoxy (I think that's what its called, I'm not near to check right now).

It's a learning curve in the hobby and in life to be mindful of what you do and possible consequences. At least calcite is a common mineral to acquire spectacular specimens of. Fluorite too may be of interest to you as well.

If you collect for investment reasons then you've reduced the value of that item. However, as in any hobby you should never buy something that you can't afford to lose. Consider the money spent.

If you are serious about collecting for interest that’s awesome, and you now have two pieces of a calcite specimen which allows you to see the inside of the break and give an idea of how that specimen formed. Maybe you want to give a piece to a young explorer for their starting collection? You can also now display this item out in the open for friends and family to enjoy and handle for themselves too. since you already broke it you won't feel nervous at others handling it.

There is always the possibility of gluing the parts together again, but wait until you’ve researched more, depending on the damage a small piece of blutak or similar “poster putty” stuff might hold the pieces for display plus give you the freedom to separate any time to see the inside. There are high quality affordable jewelry grade epoxies available, i think mine is called 401 epoxy or similar I’m sure others will have suggestions. The one I use is superb in strength and crystal clear setting, only need a small amount to hold with no oozing and produce an imperceptible join. However add “repaired” to your specimen information so the next caretaker will know. Also don't just use any old epoxy or super glue as they don't all hold long term and many change color in time. or may even react with the specimen and discolor it. Go slow until you get move information.

These items have sat in the ground for untold years, in some cases well protected by surrounding rock matrix but some have lived in severely harsh environments and survived much. These specimens can also be some of the most attractive in a collection, such as a quartz polished and rounded over thousands of years in a raging river and nodules exposed after weathering has dissolved the surrounding softer matrix. So with that in mind it's rash to quickly decide the fate of a specimen frivolously. You might find your broken pieces attractive on their own, maybe labelled “calcite showing interior”. From a scientific point of view I’d take a color calibrated photo of the break surface with a ruler and date with time of the break, various minerals especially metals react with the air over time (think tarnished brass and copper) and if the surface changes over time you can repeat and document the change rate etc.

Whatever you decide, personally I keep only fine fragile specimens in my cabinet away from handling. My floor is carpet and anyone who wants to handle my specimens, young or old, I happily let them. My neighbors young girls love exploring my place as I have tons of weird things and I use caustic cleaning fluids upstairs so its off limits with an adult, otherwise they explore and play and ask questions. Only their parents have ever damaged anything, children I find when given respect know how to be careful with others property. It's good for sparking interest in the hobby too. It may be the attractive specimens that get us into the hobby, but there is much joy to finding your own drab specimens. Research the geology in your local area, look for alluvial deposits and areas with high iron or copper content and go have a look around. You’re sure to find interesting stones. Humans literally have hardly scratched the surface and any mines nearby, especially closed ones have much for the rock hound to find for their attractive collection, bit of a treasure hunt children love too. After decades I find myself ”reading” the land wherever I travel in terms of where interesting rocks may be found at the surface.
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R Saunders




Joined: 28 Jul 2018
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PostPosted: Jan 20, 2019 04:41    Post subject: Re: damaging a specimen  

The most recommended here in the USA is E6000 epoxy for jewelry making. I have not tried it. I bought a nice dog tooth calcite piece. left it in the ultrasonic cleaner too long. The sand like material holding it together?, let it come apart into two big pieces. After reading about repairs I bought a tube of Elmer's white glue. I will need a way to support the top piece level until it dries. Fine sand and and removable supports. It is like my wife opened a cabinet to dust and a shelf dropped off a peg breaking an antique glass powder box. Maybe sometime I can wire wrap a larger piece for jewelry.
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