updated in 2016


Photo Left - 2013 Tucson Rock and Mineral Show.

Why Minerals are priced the way they are and best places to buy minerals.

Links to Rock and Mineral Show listings:

Southern Michigan Rock and MIneral Shows

Major Rock and Mineral Shows in the MidWest

USA Rock and Mineral Shows


Will Mineral Prices continue to keep their value? No one knows.

Here are a few factors that could exert downward pressure on Minerals:

  1. Baby-boomer estates come on the market around the same time, creating more sellers than buyers. 

  2. New finds flood the market temporally overwhelming demand.

Investment grade Minerals and  collector grade minerals are two different things.

Add the cost of your travel - you might find the local retail rock shop or club show a cheaper  place to buy then from the miner 1000 miles away. Getting the best price does not mean you did not spend a lot to acquirer the mineral.


Mineral Pricing from the Dealers viewpoint:

Most retail outlets can order their inventor, have it delivered, and know it will look just like the sample provided by the wholesaler.  Mineral dealers on the other-hand must locate and then negotiate much of their stock.  Usually flats of minerals are not of consistent quality. A few specimens in a flat may be exceptional, easily sold. The rest of the specimens being of poorer quality may linger and stay unsold for years, if ever. Or, the flat may sell fast and when the dealer goes back for more, he finds all are gone or can only be had for 5 times the price he paid just a few months earlier.

Gas, camping fees, hotel fees, show fees, taxes, a misjudgment in a purchases, wear and tear on the truck and camper. Once you start thinking about becoming a mineral dealer your realize this is not an easy way to make a living.

What are the various grade of minerals?

Below I try to define how a mineral fits in to a particular acquisition category. These are my created definitions based on my experience, others might see it differently. I will likely continue to refine the definitions over time.

World Class - I see this advertised but never seen it defined.  I think of these specimens as exhibiting exceptional quality and presents, such that any major mineral collector would be tempted to acquire them -  specimens a major museum would want to obtain.

Investor Grade - While there are a number of factors that make a mineral an investor grade piece it is mostly about perfection and aesthetics; rarity of course also plays a roll.

Collector Grade - Usually, a visually pleasing mineral and a good example of the mineral species/type/form. While the specimen may contain fractures, repairs, etc. the overall quality of the piece makes up for them.

Display Grade - any mineral that looks pleasing in a display case. 

Specimen Grade - lacking display value these minerals are primarily of interest as an example of a mineral species or type. These are acquired as study pieces. Some really rare minerals may only be found in specimen grade, and as such, some might consider these investor grade minerals as well.

A collector with a focus on mineral varieties, as apposed to ascetics, might view many specimen grade minerals  as collector grade minerals

In many ways the above grades are very artificial in that one might acquire an investment piece for display and it may also fill a species vacancy in ones mineral collection. The above grades really reflect how a dealer might classify a mineral to target it to a specific mineral buying group.

Here is a link to a criteria for selecting minerals for a display collection - Selecting Minerals for Display.

And, one on Mineral Buying and Pricing.

Defining High End  -  In the article to the left I used the term “high end” to describe  a category of minerals.  “High end” is a mushy term to describe a mineral. Everyone has their own view as to what constitutes a high end specimen. Some people call anything out of their price range as high end.  Others might look at a low priced but exceptional quality mineral as being in the high end of specimens.  In using the term “high end” in the article I am referring to exceptional quality specimens; no mater the price.