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Why Collect Minerals?

Rocks and minerals have fascinated us for a very long time. When the first person struck a rock with a piece of flint and got a spark it may have also sparked a curiosity that is still with us today. When the first crystals of glassy, transparent, perhaps smoky or purple quartz were found they had to have inspired a sense of awe and wonder. How were these little "treasures" formed? Minerals with beautiful colors and hard and tough enough to take a polish were collected and were used for jewelry. Lapis lazuli, emeralds, rubies and sapphires and many other gems were known in biblical times and when the Israelites left Egypt they took jewels with them. Some minerals contain large amounts of desirable metals and are sought for that reason. People have probably collected mineral specimens for thousands of years but most collectors tended to be royalty and the very wealthy and scientifically minded.

In the last several hundred years as more and more people had disposable income the hobby of mineral collecting has grown tremendously. Some of us collect for scientific reasons and out of intellectual curiosity. Some of us enjoy the beauty, geometric symmetry and intricacy of these natural creations. Some of us collect for emotional reasons - there is something satisfying, even exciting, in the act of holding a little treasure that might have been found personally (self-collected) or purchased or trade form a fellow collector or dealer in fine minerals - it doesn't matter.

In the following columns I'm going to share my ideas and opinions about collecting in general as well as share special pieces. Tom has asked me to contribute a few columns each week and I am delighted to do so. I've been a collector of minerals and fossils for about 50 years and I enjoy sharing the hobby. These are my mineral musings or meanderings, my fossil philosophizing or you can call them Russ's ramblings. If you have any questions or comments I would be delighted to hear from you.


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