1 There is an active community of people devoted to collecting rocks, gems & minerals and the members call themselves (rockhounds), as well as two magazines serving the community for a minimum of 40 years. In fact, Rocks & Minerals magazine has been in publication since 1926, while Rocks & Gems magazine is 41 years young.
2 A large rose and smoky quartz, measuring 15 1/2 inches by 8 inches,
sold for $662,500 during Heritage Auctions’ Nature & Science Signature Auction June 2, 2013 – part of the largest fine mineral collection ever to appear at auction. The quartz, which was discovered in a small mine in Brazil sometime between 1959 and 1972, is referred to as the “La Madona Rosa,” for what some believe is an uncanny resemblance to modern day images of the Virgin Mary.
4 The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History houses approximately 350,000 mineral specimens and 10,000 gems – one of the largest collections in the world.
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This second edition of Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals sheds light on the topic of these gems of collecting, without delivering an overwhelming amount of information – easy to understand and easy to enjoy.
5 A Linarite specimen, a rarely seen copper mineral – discovered during a dig in New Mexico in 1979, sold for $158,500 during Heritage Auctions’ June 2 auction.
6 There are more than 80 museums that contain significant gems and minerals exhibit/collections around the world. More than half of all those are located in North America.
7 Examples of metallurgy (definition: Art and science of extracting metals from their ores
and modifying the metals for use) date back more than 7,000 years, based on discovery of jewelry made from forged copper.
8 Rock and mineral collecting expeditions are growing in popularity. Companies like Geology Adventures lead tours stateside and abroad.
9 A sample of ore from the famous Cripple Creek mining region of Colorado sold for $2,375 during Heritage Auctions’ Nature & Science Signature Auction. The high-grade sample is a gray wall rock, which sandwiches a ribbon of purple Flurite that cuts through brassy, bladed crystals of Calaverite: Gold Telluride.
10 There are hundreds of clubs dedicated to rocks, gems and minerals in the U.S. alone. A great portal to locating collecting clubs in your area is www.gemandmineral.com/states.html.
Sources: “Collecting Rocks, Gems and Minerals,” by Patti Polk; Webster’s Dictionary; www.rockngem.com; www.rocksandminerals.com; Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (www.mineralsciences.si.edu); Heritage Auctions (www.ha.com); American Geoscience Institute (www.agiweb.org/smmp/museums.htm); The Gem and Mineral Exploration Company (www.gemandmineral.com).