iRocks History

The History of The Arkenstone and www.iRocks.com

The business that led to this website started small and innocently enough in 1986, when Dr. Robert Lavinsky participated in his first mineral show at the age of 14. With good mentors in the Columbus (Ohio) Rock & Mineral Society, Rob was exposed to the core of the hobby from an early age.

Dr. Robert Lavinsky with the Magic Mirror Morganite from Afghanistan, a significant piece of natural history.

Dr. Robert Lavinsky with a favorite piece, the “Magic Mirror” Morganite from Afghanistan

Over time, Rob’s childhood hobby grew into a career and the world of minerals grew larger with the advent of the internet to connect local markets into a worldwide society of serious collectors. The Arkenstone has been a pioneer of the online mineral world since the mid-1990s and has helped to expand the breadth of this hobby that we love worldwide. Dr. Lavinsky initially pursued a career in academia while dealing minerals on the side. After an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Rice University, Rob earned his doctoral degree from the University of California-San Diego in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics (despite side bets by many mineral collectors and dealers on whether he would have dropped out early to become a fulltime dealer). View Publications.

These fantastic and beautiful specimens of natural history gradually became more significant, and Dr. Lavinsky has been dedicated full-time to mineral dealing since 2000 and now is working with inventory built up over 2 decades of trading around the country and the world. The Arkenstone enjoys a rich history of show attendance and has been participating in the Tucson show since 1991 (at the TGMS Main Show since 1998, and at the Westward Look show since 2004.) We now also participate in the world’s largest shows in Munich (Germany), Changsha (China), Tucson, and Denver (USA).

The business has been located in Dallas, Texas since 2002 and has a gallery open by appointment with thousands of specimens on display. We have enjoyed continued growth throughout our history with the help of friends and collectors, so that we can grow this field together. Currently Rob serves on the board of the systematic mineralogy project at University of Arizona (RRUFF PROJECT) and as an associate curator at the Cranbrook Institute, Michigan’s museum of natural science. He is also a supporting Fellow of the Mineralogical Record. He has built a collection for himself of Chinese cabinet specimens over the last 20 years, which you can learn about at www.chinacrystallinetreasures.com.

View Robert Lavinsky’s Archive/Bio on the Mineralogical Record website, which is the most significant recorder of history in the mineral world: http://www.minrec.org/labels.asp?colid=668 

TESTIMONIALS: In lieu of testimonials, we are am proud to simply stand on the what our reputation now so evidently demonstrates over the history of our company; that we have been trusted with handling the dispersal of many of the major collections of the last 20 years, and that we are trusted with offering selections purchased, exchanged, or consigned from MANY well-known collections including:

Jack Halpern, Steve Neely, Ralph Clark, Eric Asselborn, Gene Meieran, Ed David, Francis Benjamin, Wally Mann, Marshall & Charlotte Sussman, Wendell Wilson, Bill Pinch, Mark Feinglos, Steve Smale, and many more. You can view more about our history of collection consulting and purchasing on our Collection Consulting page.

Dr. Robert Lavinsky with one of his great mentors at our booth in Tucson - Dave Wilber, a godfather of modern "Trophy Mineral" collecting, will go down in history for his contributions to the hobby.

Dr. Robert Lavinsky with one of his great mentors at our booth in Tucson – Dave Wilber, a godfather of modern “Trophy Mineral” collecting