Do the research before you buy. Yes, there are fossil replicas being sold as the real thing and there are synthetic minerals being sold as natural. Even the experts are having a hard time telling the real from the artificial.

The important short list of Collecting Basics:

Whether you are field collecting or buying; document!

When you field collect document the location of your find either by GPS, mine name, or other location descriptor. When you buy a specimen (or trade) make certain you get the location of the find.  The more precise the information the better. Minerals with good location information are more valued in the market than those with poor locality information. You need more than just the country the mineral came from. Ask for all the old labels.

Some of the factors that influence Mineral Values:

  1. 1.Aesthetics – it is all about being pretty. Beauty; it is subjective but yet over and over different people will pick one item consistently over another as more attractive. It is about the interplay of shape, texture and color. 

  2. 2.Form – crystal forms of a mineral are considered more valuable than non-crystal forms of minerals. I find crystal forms in their matrix more pleasing than crystals not in a matrix. For me, the matrix provides a context for the crystal.

  3. 3.Crystal Size – All things being equal, the larger the crystal the more valuable it is.

  4. 4.Specimen Size  - Large cabinet size minerals are generally more valuable than their smaller counterparts; but a large mineral may be no more valuable than its value as a collection of smaller specimens.   For it to demand a premium, a large size mineral must exhibit a special aesthetic quality separate from its largeness.

  5. 5.Rarity – Rarity factors include mining location, the mineral’s innate rarity (i.e. gold is rarer than quartz), its unique association with other minerals, unusual form, and other factors I am not that well versed on.

  6. 6.Perfection – The more perfect the   mineral the more valuable it is. When it comes to the crystal form, chips, fractures and cloudiness will decrease a mineral’s value. Crystals that stand straight up on their matrix, have high clarity, purity of color, and have terminated ends free of defect, command the top prices.

  7. 7.Hardness and Durability

Join your local Rock, Mineral and Gem club; they can help you acquire the knowledge you need. You need to join a Club in particular if you plan to field collect. Clubs often have access to collecting sites that individuals find imposable to obtain. Clubs can also help you understand land use laws as they apply to the field collecting of rocks and minerals.

Why are you in to rocks?:

  1. 1. Treasure Hunter

  2. 2. Art, Jewelry

  3. 3. A Spiritual connection

  4. 4. A mystery I need to solve

  5. 5. I am fascinated by nature

  6. 6. An activity for the whole family.

  7. 7. Investor

                 More accurate definition of a Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring, pure, solid, chemical compound or element with atoms arranged in an ordered geometric pattern.

Naturally Occurring - not made by humans.

Pure - same chemical throughout, can not be separated into more than one chemical compound. 

Solid - Is not a gas, liquid or plasma.

Chemical Compound - The mineral can be expressed as a chemical formula. Example: Quartz contains one Silicon and two Oxygen atoms, SiO2. 

Atoms arranged in an ordered geometric pattern - exhibits a definite crystal structure at the molecular level.