Mineral collecting

Mineral collecting is the hobby of systematically collecting, identifying and displaying mineral specimens. Mineral collecting can also be a part of the profession of mineralogy and allied geologic specialties. Individual collectors often specialize in certain areas, e.g. collecting samples of several varieties of the mineral calcite, of calcite from locations spread throughout a region or the world, or of minerals found in pegmatites.

A collection of identified rocks and minerals on display. The black stones on the left are obsidians; the lighter, hollow rocks are geodes.
A collection of smaller mineral samples stored and displayed in clear cases
Azurite specimen from the Morenci mine, Morenci, Arizona, USA. Morenci is the largest copper mine in North America, and Morenci copper mineral specimens are visually appealing, abundant, and relatively inexpensive.
Creedite specimen, 11 x 7 x 3 cm, from Santa Eulalia, Chihuahua, Mexico; formerly in the Perkins D. Sams collection


Generally considered the "father of mineralogy", Georgius Agricola (1494–1555) was also an avid mineral collector. He wrote several books, including two of enduring significance: De Re Metallica, an early treatise on mining, and De Natura Fossilium, the first (1546) modern textbook of mineralogy.

Another famous 16th century mineral collector was Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1552–1612). He built a large mineral collection while employing Anselmus de Boodt (ca. 1550–1634), his court physician and another avid mineral collector, to expand and tend his collections. After Rudolf's death his collection was dispersed.[1]


Mineral collectors find a variety of reasons to collect minerals. Many minerals are strikingly beautiful and collected for their aesthetic value. Others collect to learn more about mineralogy, the local mining industry and/or local geology. Some simply enjoy exploring the outdoors and socializing and trading with other mineral collectors. Serious collectors will go so far as traveling great distances to find the right specimen.[citation needed]

Notable public mineral collectionsEdit

Notable mineral collectorsEdit

Malachite specimen from the Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Arizona. Dr Douglas saved many of the best mineral specimens from the Copper Queen for his personal collection. His family later donated many of them to the Smithsonian.

The website of Mineralogical Record magazine includes a Biographical Archive containing biographical sketches of approximately 1,800 (as of 2016) mineral collectors and specimen dealers, most of whom were or are active between the late 19th century and the present day.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Frasier, Si and Ann (1995). "The History of Mineral Collecting, 1530-1799". Rocks & Minerals. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ "Минералогический Музей им. А.Е. Ферсмана-крупнейшее собрание минералов в России". www.fmm.ru. Retrieved 2016-07-03.
  3. ^ Natural History Museum of Los Angeles; Gems and Minerals. access date: 5/22/2010.
  4. ^ Best of Collectors St. Marie aux Mines page
  5. ^ Larson, W.F (2005). "A Lucky Man: Jack Halpern and his Colorful Collection". Mineralogical Record: 189–194. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ Bio on Mineralogical Record
  7. ^ Bio of Gene Meieran at Purdue and Intell
  8. ^ Carnegie Mineralogical Award
  9. ^ Perkins Sams obituary
  10. ^ Perkins D. Sams biography at Mineralogical Record
  11. ^ the book of his collection at Lithographie

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

  Media related to Mineralogy museums at Wikimedia Commons