My Etsy Shop

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Photos:  Montana Smoky Quartz and Amethyst

We are getting ready for the autumn show season.  I will try to post photos from the shows in the upcoming weeks.

Our friend from Missoula, Montana, Russ, just sent us some photos of his summer digging.  He says it was his best summer season ever.   If you ever get to Missoula look Russ up at Tower Pizza - great pizza.

This is 40 inches X  14 inches and weighs 300 pounds

This one is 100 lbs, pristine and transparent on the termination

and finally the Spring Queen, an elegant deep purple Amethyst

Monday, August 20, 2012

Photo - Elmwood, Tennessee Barite on Fluorite on Sphalerite available on Etsy

My shop is on Etsy where vendors are only supposed to sell supplies and/or vintage.  I do sell cabochons and raw crystals for jewelry as well as sell mineral specimens which can be used for mixed media fine art.

You can see the sculptures of Steve Potts here:
Steven Potts - Branching Out  Steve uses many of our minerals in his work.  I also sell to a number of cutters.  Megan of Dion Jewelry has been cutting some azurite malachite specimens she acquired from the shop:  Dion Jewelry.  Other jewelry artists who are using stones and crystals from my shop can be found here: Favorite Shops

I was recently quizzed about the vintage aspect of my specimens as I do sell vintage specimens on Etsy.  Etsy defines vintage as anything produced prior to 1993.  The question was how would I know if a mineral specimen was mined prior to 1993.  Mines do not produce indefinitely.  The ore body may run out, the conditions become much too dangerous, the economics of digging further and deeper may not work and sometimes better use for the land is found.  An example of better use is when a nation becomes developed and it is economically more sound to house the expanding population than to mine the land.  There are many many communities built on old mines.  Sometimes this causes problems.  I have heard a recent report that sinkholes are developing in residential neighborhoods of Butte, Montana.  Occasionally a creative person reclaims an old mine as a natural preserve.  Butchart Gardens near Victoria is a wonderful example:
The Butchart Gardens - Home

Mining and mineral collecting are both well documented activities.  One can easily do research to determine the period in which a mine was active.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Smithsonite, Kelly Mine, Magdalena, Socorro County, New Mexico - available later today in the shop.

Mineral collecting can become all consuming.  People's lives can change dramatically and beneficially from collecting.  If only you ever buy minerals to enhance your living space and never read a mineralogy book you still have deepened your knowledge and connection with nature just knowing that crystals exist.

Parents of budding collectors often ask me if this is a useful pursuit.  I tell John's experience.  As a young child he discovered minerals on a family outing to a flea market.  That was it.  The whole family joined the local mineral club the very next month.  Both he and his parents became avid collectors.  It also introduced him to geology.  Being a bright lad his teachers encouraged college and he was accepted with scholarships to numerous fine institutions. But which one?  He plotted on a map the field collecting areas around each of the institutions.  New Mexico School of Mines won hands down.  (He collected the smithsonite pictured today.) He would be able to maximize his field collecting while in college.  He initially studied geology but switched to geophysics and mathematics.   Upon graduation he immediately had job offers.

The adult collector can enjoy a pursuit which provides continuing education, aesthetics and competition.  You will also develop a social network among collectors based on common interest not politics, social station or other barriers to friendship.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Acquiring Minerals - Collections

Photo is Brookite, Moses Hill, Magnet Cove, Arkansas

Now that you have inspected the collection and made an assessment my preference is always to give a written offer with a "null and void" date usually 2 weeks hence. In the offer description you should include how you will pay. Even if you come to agreement immediately this written offer will stand as a bill of sale.

I recommend to collectors never to accept any kind of financing or paying forward arrangement, it is not in their best interest.  If you need financing I would suggest seeking third party financing. (I usually give a 10% down cash (truly cash) deposit and the remaining amount in installments as I pack.  So if it is going to take my 3 loads to haul away.  I give 10% down then 30% by check with each load I take.  That needs to be detailed in the offer.  Of course if it is a one load collection payment is due the day of moving.)

If the offer is not accepted immediately be old school - send a hand written note of thanks the next day.  The non-monetary part of selling a collection is very important.  The collector spent a lot of time and effort into putting the collection together it is important to them to know that work is appreciated.

Be prepared for a bit of negotiation.  You may be competing for the collection and may be in a better position to compete than a dealer.  The dealer needs to resell and their offer will reflect the wholesale value.  Refer to your notes when considering the counter offer.

So there it is.  The hardest part about buying collections is finding one for sale.  With a healthy checkbook and a gracious respect for other people it is really not that hard.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Acquiring minerals

Photo is an Arizona azurite malachite available in the shop

I am going to ignore purchases made strictly for resale. That would be a business plan discussion which is not the point of this blog

As you become more intertwined in the mineral world you will develop a network of collectors you with whom you associate. There may come a time when one of those collectors for their own reasons decides to sell their collection. Or you may come across a classified ad on the web or in one of the mineral publications.

The most common reason a collector sells is either to upgrade or a change of focus. Of course common travails may also be a factor.

Bring your largest vehicle stocked with wrapping and boxes. Just leave the packing materials in your truck, this is just a precaution. Sometimes the deal is struck quickly and the person wants you to move on it quickly.

Now that you are in the house please be respectful. Let the person walk you through the collection. You may be inclined to get down to business but you will learn a lot from these introductory sessions. Do not, I repeat, do not start criticizing the collection. You are not there to critique or appraise. You are there to make an assessment and offer. So you have spent a respectable time being introduced to the collection. Politely ask what is the price? It would be nice if everyone had a price in mind but actually it is quite uncommon. They will then ask what you think it is worth. Instead of making any rash statements say instead if you could give me some time to privately consider the collection then I can come up with an assessment.

When reviewing the collection take notes. Remember you may not be taking the collection that day. It may be weeks before you make the purchase and you will need to refer to those notes. Include in the notes your assessments especially of the top 10%. You will need to discuss beforehand the physical handling of specimens. If you are given permission please use your best judgement. These are not yet your minerals

I will leave it here tonight and try to finish early next week. Thank you for stopping by and please do visit my Etsy shop