Staff Bios

With over 200 years of combined collecting experience, The Arkenstone offers a team of professional mineral collectors to help guide and build your collection.

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 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.

Crystalline Treasures - The Mineral Heritage of China
More on Founding the Arkenstone
Dr. Robert Lavinsky - Who's Who in the Mineral World

Kevin Brown, Gallery Manager

Kevin Brown,
Business and Gallery Manager

Kevin’s passion for minerals began when he was just a young child. This passion and knowledge expanded as he field collected and studied geology in college. Initially collecting fine minerals from worldwide locations, Kevin changed his focus to collecting American minerals exclusively in the late 1990’s. Kevin's collection of fine American minerals can be viewed in the Texas I and Texas II supplements to the Mineralogical Record.  Kevin and Rob met in the mid-1980s at the Columbus, Ohio show and have been friends and conducted business since Rob was in high school. Kevin, after a long career in environmental remediation and analysis, was lured to Texas to join The Arkenstone team in 2005. Bringing extensive business and mineral collecting experience he manages both business operations and the galleries. In addition, Kevin was the Designer and Construction Manager of the new Arkenstone Galleries in Richardson, Texas. Kevin’s goal is to ensure a professional and aesthetically appealing experience for all of our clients and friends who visit us in Dallas and at our many trade shows.

The Mineralogical Record Texas Collectors Highlight

Monica Kitt headshot, The Arkenstone, www.iRocks.comMonica Kitt,
Marketing and Social Media Director

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. At The Arkenstone, she also assists with web and print design, and directs the Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium.

You'll find her on @arkenstone_minerals, running after her toddler, and furiously responding to Rob's emails.

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

Zach Goodman,
Base Specialist

Zach 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. 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. Now, Zach has an addiction to minerals and has about 15 pieces in his growing collection.

Read more about The Arkenstone's Custom Lucite Base services.

Rob Mosley (aka Romo),
Staff Photographer

Romo is a native Texan from the DFW area. He is fresh to the mineral world and appreciates the opportunity to be immersed in to this mesmerizing hybrid of natural art dealing and collecting. He's always enjoyed digital photography, and this eventually led to the endeavor of trying to improve techniques for the capture of minerals in flat images.

Romo photographs for our auctions and updates, and he also helps handle social media postings and events throughout the year. Since joining, he's put together a small collection of minerals with a focus on metallics.

Matt McGill,
Digital Sales Director

Matt joined the Arkenstone team in early 2020 to help better serve our growing online customer base, and currently serves as the primary point of contact for online sales via our website. He especially enjoys being a 'mineral matchmaker' and helping find the perfect specimens for our clients' collections. 

He has collected minerals in some capacity since he was a child, and currently maintains a small display collection focused on the pyromorphite-mimetite-vanadinite solid solution series of minerals (and pseudomorphs both to and from these species), with a specific stress on overall quality and aesthetics. He also enjoys mineral photography and occasionally contributes photography work for some web updates and auctions.

He is currently serving on the national board of Friends of Mineralogy, and is a member of MAD (Mineralogical Association of Dallas). He also has two published articles in Rocks & Minerals.

Young Mineral Collectors and the Future of the Mineral Collecting Hobby
Young Mineral Collector: Kyle Kevorkian

Alex Venzke,
Auction Coordinator and Thumbnail Specialist

In early 2021, Alex relocated from the Washington, D.C. area to Dallas to join the Arkenstone team to provide support to our growing online clientele through our web sales and auctions teams. Alex has maintained an interest in mineral collecting since childhood, which intensified around 2015 or 2016 during his studies of Geology at Beloit College. His collection consists of fine thumbnail specimens from worldwide localities, with a particular emphasis on aesthetics, form, and provenance.

He is currently a member on the national board of Friends of Mineralogy, a member of MAD (Mineralogical Association of Dallas), and a member of the management team. He is a past member of the leadership team for the Young Mineral Collectors (YMC) group, a past member for the Mineralogical Society of the District of Columbia (MSDC), and co-founder and former Vice President of the Friends of Mineralogy Virginia Chapter (FMVA), now named Minerals In Context.

Abby Dimalanta,
Social Media and Web Sales Support

Abby joined the Arkenstone social media and web sales team in early 2023. She started collecting rocks and minerals as a child but took a break until attending her first local gem and mineral show in Kansas City, Missouri in late 2018.

In mid 2019, she began to focus her collection on aesthetics — namely texture, contrast, and composition — thanks to the encouragement and knowledge gained from the Young Mineral Collectors group. Within one year she had her own display in the first YMC pod at the 2020 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. By early 2021, she joined the Rock H. Currier Collection team and moved to Tucson, Arizona. During her collecting journey, she also learned that mineral collecting was a gene she shared with her late paternal grandfather, who owned several claims in the Philippines.

Abby has a background in Chemistry from University of Missouri - Kansas City.

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Rick Ely

Like so many other collectors, Rick began his interest in minerals when he was young, thanks to his grandfather. The fascinating world of minerals led to his further early mineral study, mineral collecting, mineralogy-based science fair projects, eventually to a Geology degree and a career working as a Geoscientist.

Rick was joined on his collecting journey by his wife, Sharrie, who thankfully had the ‘collecting gene’ and has come to share a similar passion for minerals. They have been collecting for the last 30 years, but more seriously since 2005. While Rick loves all minerals, his main collecting focus remains on Mexican and Arizona minerals with emphasis on Mimetite, Wulfenite and Smithsonite. Some of the collection can be viewed in the Texas II and Texas III supplements to the Mineralogical Record and on his Instagram page. He picked up a love for field collecting while in college and has a collection of self-collected minerals also. It is still one of his favorite activities. He has collected throughout Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and California so far.

Rick has over 30 years of diverse experience as a Geoscientist in the Oil and Gas industry having worked for a large corporation in Exxon Company, U.S.A., a top tier worldwide petroleum consulting firm Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc., a privately funded Exploration and Production Company in Dallas, and his own Geoscience Consulting business. He now has come full circle back to the world of minerals.

He is a member and past coordinator of the Mineralogical Association of Dallas (MAD), a current board member and past Chairman of the Oklahoma State University Geology Alumni Advisory Board, a board member of the Dallas Area Historical Rose Society (DAHRS), and a member of the Collin County Rose Society (CCRS).

Dr. Stuart Mills,
Chief Operating Officer, Gallery of Natural Art
Chief Scientific Officer, The Arkenstone

Since the age of 7, Dr. Stuart Mills knew he wanted to be a mineralogist and has had a life-long fascination by minerals. Stuart completed his PhD at the University of Melbourne in 2007 and spent almost two decades working in the University and Museums sector, most recently as the Senior Curator of Geosciences at Museums Victoria where he was responsible for collection development, research and exhibitions.

Stuart specializes in the study of secondary minerals and how they form and has described more new minerals (~95) than any other Australian. He has worked extensively in the desert regions of western USA (Mojave and NV) and at Cap Garonne in France. He has been recognized by his peers through the award of the Max Hey Medal, from the Mineralogical Society of Great Britain as well as the new mineral species millsite

Stuart has been involved with the International Mineralogical Association for many years including the posts of Vice President of the IMA, Secretary of the Commission on New Minerals, Nomenclature and Classification (CNMNC) and Vice President of the Commission on Museums. Stuart is also one of the Principal Editors for the journal Mineralogical Magazine, an Associate Editor for the Journal of Mineralogical and Petrological Sciences and consulting Editor for Le Cahier des Micromonteurs.

Independent Consultants

Dr. Tom Campbell,

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.

In 2024, Tom was awarded both the Desautels and the Lidstrom Trophies at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. Read more about it here.

View List of Publications

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

Ying Peng - Changsha & Guilin, General China Purchasing Manager 

Peng has been a trusted friend and associate of the Arkenstone in China since 2012 before joining our company full-time during the COVID pandemic to help with logistics and general travel for purchasing in China. 

His father was a collector and a dealer, so he is a second generation mineral expert with particularly extensive historical knowledge both of the development of the Chinese market and of modern locations from the 1990s through today. He works out of Changsha and in our Guilin logistics hub, where we also maintain a by-appointment gallery of museum style mineral specimens shared with Zhouping Guo (Stone Age Gifts).