Staff Bios

Staff Biographies

With over 150 years of combined collecting experience, The Arkenstone offers a team of professional mineral collectors to help guide and build your collection.

Dr. Robert Lavinsky, founder of The Arkenstone, www.iRocks.com

Dr. Robert Lavinsky, President and Founder

A collector from the age of 12, Dr. Robert Lavinsky first started participating in mineral shows at the age of 14. He initially planned to launch his career in molecular genetics and received his doctoral degree from UC-San Diego, but his passion for minerals led to a career change. Rob realized the potential to move the mineral world online and www.iRocks.com became the first mineral-selling website online in 1996. Since then, he has been a full-time dedicated mineral dealer and recently had a new mineral, Lavinskyite, named after him.

Mineralogical Record – Rob Lavinsky
Lavinskyite
More on Founding the Arkenstone
Dr. Robert Lavinsky – Who’s Who in the Mineral World

Kevin Brown, Gallery Manager

Kevin Brown

Kevin Brown started collecting minerals as a child with specimens purchased at rock shops and field collected on family vacations. His drive to become a collector of high quality minerals began over 30 years ago. Originally a collector of world-wide minerals, Kevin began collecting only minerals specimens from the U.S. in the late 1990’s. His passion is to collect colorful, finely crystalized specimens, especially those which are world class and rival those found anywhere in the world. His current collection has been the focus of the “Meet the Collector” day at the Westward Look mineral show in Tucson of February 2013.  His collection has also been included in The Texas Collectors edition of the Mineralogical Record. Kevin recently loaned various mineral specimens from his personal collection to the Perot Museum of Science and Nature in Dallas, Texas, to help complete their incredible display.

The Mineralogical Record Texas Collectors Highlight

Headshot - Jeff Starr

Jeff Starr

Jeff Starr is a geologist, retired Science teacher and soccer coach, now working full time at The Arkenstone. Once he began collecting seriously, much of his focus was on Fluorite for its wide range of colors, habits, and associations, as well as its affordability. As his collecting has matured, his collection has broadened. Aesthetics are the number one priority for him when choosing specimens for his collection.

The Mineralogical Record Texas Collectors Highlight
Express Yourself – A License to Collect by Jeff Starr

Headshot - Karl Warning

Karl Warning

Karl Warning was exposed to nature, museums and minerals as a child on annual family driving vacations and began collecting/buying specimens when attending the University of Texas at Austin in Petroleum Geology. The mineral collecting disease really took hold when he joined the working world and has not abated since. He started working at The Arkenstone in 2003, permitting him to work every day in his passion. Karl collects aesthetic specimens from world wide localities in the miniature to small cabinet size, with particular emphasis on calcite and pyromorphite.

The Mineralogical Record Texas Collectors Highlight

 

Headshot - Wally Mann

Wally Mann

Wally started collecting fine mineral specimens in 1980 shortly after discovering a copy of the Mineralogical Record in a rock shop. He has been a member of the Dallas collecting community since 1981 and has attended nearly 30 Tucson shows. He reads the complete set of Mineralogical Record every year (1971-present) and seems to have a photographic memory for illustrated specimens – several of which he has spotted on our shelves sitting there unrecognized! Worldwide mineral specimens of exceptional quality and aesthetics from miniature through cabinet size comprise his small but select collection. After selling his first collection in 2012, he has been actively pursuing the best specimens he can acquire. Wally is also an avid bibliophile with more than 500 books, mostly antique, on mineralogy.

The Mineralogical Record Texas Collectors Highlight

Zach Goodman

Zachary was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio and moved to Dallas 6 years ago. He had a love for minerals as a child and had a small rock collection and fossil collection growing up. His uncle Kevin (Brown) would send him rocks when he was a kid, and Zach remembers visiting him when he was a teenager and seeing how amazing his collection was. He was just blown away by how many amazing minerals Kevin had. So when the Arkenstone needed a new lucite specialist for our custom bases, Kevin asked Zach to come down to Dallas for a job opportunity. He had no idea of the world he was walking into! Zach saw how amazing the gallery was and just how big and small this world was. He saw what this business could become and didn’t want to be on the sidelines of something truly amazing. So now like most people in this world of beautiful minerals, Zach has an addiction to minerals and has about 15 pieces in his growing collection.

John Chen Xiaojun, 陈小俊图片, headshot. The Arkenstone, www.iRocks.com, 矿物晶体公司

John Chen, China Division Manager

John Chen has been a friend to The Arkenstone for years, and now has become our China Division Manager. He has enjoyed natural science since he was a child, which led him to learn about geology while getting a management BS in university. He became a serious mineral collector in 2005 and now travels throughout China as the China manager for The Arkenstone. He also travels internationally to acquire new mineral specimens.

陈小俊, 中国分公司经理

从小热爱自然科学,在大学期间获得管理学学位,自学地质学。在2005年已开始严谨的收集矿晶标本。作为The Arkenstone 中国分公司经理,跑遍祖国大江南北,并走出国门,不断地关注和收集优良的矿晶标本。

 

Beth Van Allen headshot

Beth Van Allen, Lead Photographer

Beth graduated with a BFA in photography from University of North Texas in 2008 and stumbled upon The Arkenstone by chance through friends in 2010. She started as a newbie to the mineral world and has loved expanding her knowledge on a daily basis with her work photographing minerals for Rob. While minerals have not always been her forte, she has always been drawn to a more natural aesthetic and is happiest outdoors exploring nature. If forced to be indoors, she prefers to be doing jigsaw puzzles.

Read more about The Arkenstone’s Mineral Photography services.

Monica Kitt headshot, The Arkenstone, www.iRocks.com

Monica Kitt

Monica’s first foray into the mineral world started shortly after her parents began collecting. She was living in Shanghai using her degrees in Business and Mandarin working in imports when she helped Rob during a mineral show in China, and she gradually became more involved in The Arkenstone’s activities in China by assisting in expo planning, client relations, and translating. While she only started with the company in early 2013, she has been quickly learning about minerals and has enjoyed the willingness of others to share their passion for collecting. At The Arkenstone, she also assists with web and print design as well as directing the Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium.

Tom Campbell, Staff Mineralogist

Tom has had a life-long passion for minerals which was fueled by his father, a research chemist, as well as Sandy and Gloria Ludlum of What on Earth, and they helped refine his taste in collecting fine minerals. While working on his graduate degrees at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, he met his friend and mentor W. L. “Bill” Roberts who furthered his enthusiasm for minerals and mineralogy. During the course of his research on pegmatites with Bill, he discovered three new minerals (tiptopite, fransoletite, pahasapaite) and co-described eight other new species. Tom also co-authored the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Minerals with Bill along with George “Rip” Rapp, jr. Through the years, Tom has developed additional expertise in the geology and mineralogy of orogenic lode gold deposits, iron ore and various gemstone deposits. He has over 35 years of experience in exploration geology, mining, and applied mineralogy, and many more as a collector. Tom’s attentiveness in fine and rare minerals has been augmented by his long and valued friendship with Rob Lavinsky. He looks forward to being an ambassador to the collector community and advancing the hobby as well as the science of mineralogy.
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