Collecting Rare Minerals
Dakota Matrix Minerals is perhaps the world’s most updated online mineral dealership. Our inventory offers depth in both representative and rare mineral specimens from hundreds of worldwide localities. The foundation for a large volume of our stock is the recently acquired 600-flat Phillips collection. Previous collections continue to provide our rare mineral makeup including the Dr. Al Kidwell collection, the Cooke collection and the private stock of Robert Eaton and Forest Cureton. Our stock together with new acquisitions from field collectors around the world allow us to constantly update our online inventory with fresh minerals for our mineral collectors to consider on a daily basis.
Many collectors find rare minerals a fascinating sector of the mineral world. Rare mineral collecting is somewhat of a discipline however. Rare mineral species, or what some call systematic minerals, or even “Dana” locality minerals, is an educational experience with years of enjoyment. To collect rare minerals, one needs to focus on a methodology and purpose. Many collectors obtain minerals, via field collecting or online mineral dealerships, with a particular goal in mind. To collect minerals randomly is expensive, futile, and without reason. As a collector you will find it more enjoyable to study a particular group of minerals. Once you reach or obtain your goals, you can always shift your focus towards a new goal. Below are some examples of different mineral collecting habits.
1. Collecting by Locality – your Mineral Foundation
Important and popular localities which offer the most and rarest of species. This often leads to a mineral collection with a strong foundation in which to grow your collection. Some example localities and their associated rare minerals are below, but are certainly not all of them. There are thousands of mineral localities. (species count taken from Mindat.org)
Franklin district, New Jersey 236 valid species with 48 type localities
- Cahnite, marsturite, petedunnite, torreyite, sterlinghillite,
Langban, Sweden 287 valid species with 71 type localities
- Dixenite, quenselite, swedenborgite, sahlinite, freedite
Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada 396 valid species with 58 type localities
- Lukechangite (Ce), thomasclarkite, martinite, nalipoite, silinaite
Crestmore, California 160 species with 8 type localities
- Jennite, riversideite, foshagite, merwinite, wightmanite
Tsumeb mine, Namibia 289 valid species with 68 type localities
- Andyrobertsite, stottite, ludlockite, sidpietersite, eyselite
Clara mine, Baden-Württemberg Germany 400 valid species with 14 type localities
- Cualstibite, rankachite, claraite, pyrostilpnite, uranotungstite
Tip Top mine, South Dakota 97 valid species with 13 type localities
- Pahasapaite, ehrleite, Jahnsite (NaFeMg), fransoletite, pararobertsite
2. Collect by Systematic Classification
Systematic mineral collecting. Collectors decide that certain mineral groups are more appealing to them. Perhaps they enjoy metallic deposits and thus the associated sulfides, which makeup a large portion of the minerals in these deposits, then become more important. Others may decide they like colorful minerals and collect the arsenate group minerals. The following are examples of mineral groups and systematic classifications and a few select minerals which makeup these classes.
Sulfides and sulfosalts
- Galena, acanthite, pyrargyrite, proustite,stibnite
- Azurite, malachite, rhodochrosite, auichalcite, smithsonite
- Lazulite, pyromorphite, apatite group, phosphophyllite, turquoise
- Mimetite, Clinoclase, Olivenite, Bayldonite, Legrandite
- Almandine and spessartine garnets, epidote, tanzanite, tourmaline, beryl (morganite, emerald etc), feldspars (orthoclase, albite, microcline, plagioclase), quartz
- Fluorite, atacamite, cryolite, boleite,phosgenite, aravaipaite
- Cuprite, Corundum (ruby, sapphire), rutile, hematite, spinel
3. Elemental Mineral Groups
Collecting minerals that contain certain elements. This mineral collecting niche has broad appeal since it allows the collector to span across different geological environments from around the world. Since there are over 4,000 mineral species, many of them with a common element, such as tin, can be found a variety of mineral deposits. An example might be copper, which occurs in copper porphyry deposits, vein deposits rich in sulfides, or even pegmatites. Below are three examples of collecting mineral based upon elemental mineral groups.
Copper minerals (minerals containing copper).
- Chalcocite, apachite, domeykite, olivenite, germanite
Vanadium minerals (minerals containing vanadium)
- Vanadinite, cavansite, sincosite, phosphovanadylite – (Ca), volborthitge
Beryllium minerals (minerals containing beryllium)
- Roscherite, beryllonite, aminoffite, helvite, clinobarylite
4. Geological Deposit Types
Some people collect minerals from certain geological deposits. Many collectors have an interest in certain geological deposits and collect according to the criteria which fit these deposits. This group offers many possibilities and the opportunity to learn the geological and geochemical environments to which the mineral species occur. An example might be collecting Rare Earth Minerals which contain the rare earth elements (lanthanides) from, you guessed it, rare earth mineral deposits. Examples of deposit types with associated minerals are:
- Tip Top mine, Hagendorf, Palermo
Lode vein deposits
- Cornwall, Leadville, Casapalca, Coeur d’Alene
Copper porphyry deposits
- Butte, Chuquicamata, Bisbee, Ajo, Morenci
Rare Earth Mineral deposits
5. Specific Minerals
Specific minerals only. Our advice here is to pick one with hundreds of worldwide localities. Otherwise this may get little restricting.
This list is hardly complete but it serves as a starting point for those of you who are just beginning to collect minerals especially rare minerals as a hobby. Mineral collecting offers years of enjoyment not only academically but physically. Self collecting minerals in the field can be good exercise and rewarding. There is hardly another hobby which offers such diversity from the beginner to the professional. Mineral collectors have the ability to study mineralogy on a very basic level to the highest levels by studying physical chemistry, crystallography, optical mineralogy, petrology, and geologic environments.
You may find our Mineral Resources and Link page useful, which provide links to mineral photo databases, such as our MineralPedia, mineral localities, mineralogical magazines and journals, mineralogical societies, and Black Hills links. Our Special Editions, published monthly, offer theme based mineral galleries.
Tom Loomis - Dakota Matrix Minerals