I could have just as easily took up bird watching, tree identification or amateur astronomy. I love the search, I love the learning, I love the sharing and I love the find. In my limited experience, these attributes; sharing, learning, searching and finding are the essential enjoyment elements for field collectors and show collectors. A field collector has the added joy of uncovering something never seen by anyone before. Show collectors have a little more control over what they bring home at the end of the day.
Mineral collectors, whether show or field collectors, branch off in to a variety of sub-interest. Some collectors get vary specific, some might focus on a specific mineral or group of minerals. Some are only interest in gems, others seek out the extremely rare minerals. Then there is all the sizes, some like their minerals large, others are only interested in the micros. Some collectors want to know everything they can learn on minerals. Others, just want to know where you got it; so they can get it too. Sometimes I hear subtle dispiriting remarks made by one collector type at another. I always cringe when I hear them. Collectors need to know themselves, you should collector for your reasons not from the standards of others. You are the type of collector you are because that is what you want to be. If you collect minerals based on someone else's criteria you will likely drift from the hobby.
As time goes on and you become more knowledgeable about minerals your interest may change. You might look at your earlier acquisitions and not feel the same attachment or see them as no longer relevant to your collecting interest. This is just the process of becoming a maturing collector. It is an opportunity to clear some space and generate some cash for future minerals or mineral hunting.
I encourage newcomers to our hobby to not become discourage. All in all, Mineral Collectors are a welcoming group. It may take a newcomer to the hobby a little time (years even) to locate others that share their specific interest but in time they will. In the mean time, take advantage of those that have found interest in areas your might find a little uninteresting. They, like you, are seeking connection with others to share their interest. Besides expanding your knowledge, you just might find a link to the people you have been looking for.
My take on Investing In Minerals
Advice often given or implied that you might question:
• Collect only Perfection
• Investment - the value of minerals doubles every (insert any number here) yrs.
• Minerals never go down in value
In my youth I collected coins. I loved the worn coins that showed their age. I loved the feel of them and thinking about what life was like for the people that might have used the coin when it was minted in the mid-1800s. Soon I learned I had to keep my coins in plastic holders and only handle them by the rim. Then I learned I should only collect coins that were uncirculated with no blemishes. On the recommendation of more knowledgeable collectors I cashed in all my well worn silver quarters acquired from circulation for the nicest uncirculated coinage I could find. Eventually, I gave up collecting coins. Occasionally, In sorting out a box of clutter I will stumble on a old worn coin, I still pause to give it a rub. The ironic thing, I checked on a coin site a few years back. Due to silver prices, the heavily worn silver quarters I turned in for the uncirculated ones, were now worth much more than the uncirculated coins I had replace them with. Today, I am not a big believer in following other peoples rules. If I make a poor choice I only have me to blame.
For myself, I am not a believer in Minerals as an Investment
I select minerals based on my preferences, at a price I feel I can live with. I have made a judgement that the mineral is worth, to me, the purchases price. I recognize, not everyone would value the mineral as I do. I would like making money off my collection but market forces and associated cost in acquiring and selling the minerals makes it unlikely I will make money. As any hobby, mineral collecting is a cost for the participant. Unlike some very expensive hobbies, there is a possibility of recouping some of the cost.
Next - Mineral investing and keeping it cheap (is that possible?)
Newcomers to the Mineral Collecting hobby are often surprise to discover other collectors do not share their particular mineral interest.
Mineral Collectors are a diverse group of people but in many ways we are the same.
I am a mineral collector because I am fascinated by what mother nature is able to produce...
updated in 2016
IT IS OK TO BE DIFFERENT
it is all about you!