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New member Introduction and a question on fluorite from China
  
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John Hodgson




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PostPosted: May 16, 2020 19:02    Post subject: New member Introduction and a question on fluorite from China  

Hello, this is John Hodgson and I have been collecting minerals on and off for many years. I mainly collect because I find the crystalline specimens absolutely beautiful. I used to collect or at least attempt to collect at limestone quarries. However, they have been closed to collectors for some time; so I mainly collect Petoskey stones which are a fossilized coral. I'm much better at finding exceptional Petoskey stones than I ever was at finding minerals, but both endeavors are great fun.

Regarding China fluorite specimens, I have noticed the specimens have recently greatly decreased in size and have drastically increased in price. Does anyone know the reason for this?
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Tobi




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PostPosted: May 17, 2020 13:31    Post subject: Re: New member Introduction and a question on fluorite from China  

Hi John and welcome to the community :-)

Concerning your question about the prices, I think there are three main reasons for the increasing prices of Chinese fluorites; a natural reason and two commercial ones:

Firstly, minerals are exhaustible ressources and at some time, most localites are exhausted. The stuff from the localities gets rarer on the market and the prices increase. The more when we speak of beautiful minerals for collectors, just think of galena from Neudorf/Germany, sulphur from Sicily or rhodochrosite from Sweet Home Mine. It's the same with Chinese fluorite, they once flooded the market - sure, many of them in lesser quality - but got rarer through the years. Except for Huanggang which is a quite new and giant source for great fluorites and other minerals.

Secondly, the market "learns" from the customers. Especially the high end dealers demand higher and higher prices for the same stuff, but they get their stuff sold, no matter how much they demand. So the prices are also increasing because there are always consumers, there's no need to keep the price level.

Thirdly, mining companies, miners and mineral dealers in China have learned how to handle and to prepare specimens so that the "Western" customer gets good quality. When the flood of Chinese fluorites came in the late 1990s and early 2000s, most of the specimens were not that aesthetic, many of them had some damage. Through the years, the "producers" in China seemed to learn what is necessary to get a good price on the market in the U.S or in Europe. Today, the really good specimens from e.g. Shangbao or Yaogangxian are highly aesthetic and damage-free, they are optimally prepared high end stuff, you would not have found them 20 years ago.

Just my (maybe subjective) two cents after more than 20 years of collecting fluorite from China ;-)

Regards
Tobi
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Bob Harman




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PostPosted: May 17, 2020 14:38    Post subject: Re: New member Introduction and a question on fluorite from China  

I thought about a quick response, but decided to await a response before mine. Tobi is spot on!

There are a number of reasons the prices for Chinese minerals are considerably higher than just 15 - 20 years ago. At the Chinese end are higher wages for the miners, slowly strengthening environmental regulations, and more aesthetic larger specimens with more care in collecting them. Basically, all costs to get the mineral specimens out of China prior to the western dealers are higher.

At the western end, European and N American dealers are demanding genuine, aesthetic higher quality, and damage free specimens. Today's younger, more affluent and display oriented western collectors want, and are willing to spend, more money for these better quality, highly aesthetic specimens. Simply put, for the same profit, most American and European dealers now find it easier to sell 1 or 2 $500 dollar examples rather than 10 or 20 $50 dollar examples.

As an addendum, it is my impression that today's collectors are very different from those of 50 years ago. Then, many geologists/mineralogists were collectors. They collected with more interest in the mining and mineralogical aspects of the specimens.
Today, more collectors are non-geologists, collecting for hi quality display aesthetics and not as much interested in knowledge of the mining or mineralogical aspects of their specimens. Bob
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John Hodgson




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PostPosted: May 17, 2020 20:10    Post subject: Re: New member Introduction and a question on fluorite from China  

Thank you Tobi and Bob for the response. Regarding Bob's thoughts on collecting; I totally concur. This will probably sound strange, but when I dig for Petoskey stones, I sometime imagine myself as a miner hoping to uncover that rare find. It is the hunt and the expectation of finding something that makes it so enjoyable to me. Sometimes my efforts are rewarded with a spectacular specimen even if its only a stone.
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