The Wisdom Pocket Blog Archives

The Arkenstone Heads West!
Mar 17, 2023
Our Spring West Coast Road Show is coming up fast, and we've enjoyed our annual San Fran trips over the last decade. This year, we're adding LA to our list, too.
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Rare Earth: Crystalline Treasures
Feb 23, 2023
Rare Earth: Crystalline Treasures, ran through September 5th, 2022 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and featured more than 200 spectacular mineral specimens from around the world. Many of these were on loan from the renowned collector and mineral dealer, Dr. Rob Lavinsky. The exhibit was uniquely interwoven with various themes and stories that make inspirational connections between architectural design & earth materials, art+science+culture, carvings and illustrations, striking color, fanciful formations, and a few cases at the end that took a deeper dive into crystal form.
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2023 Tucson Show Schedule and Events!
Jan 16, 2023
It's that time again! The annual Tucson show season is upon us.
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Collector Profile: Dr. Erika Pohl-Stroher
Jan 12, 2023
Dr. Erika Pohl-Ströher collected the minerals in her collection over a period of more than 60 years. The specimens are arranged according to geographical regions. Considering that Dr. Pohl-Ströher had no intention of exhibiting her mineral collection and therefore did not make a conscious effort to ensure that she obtained specimens from all over the world, she has succeeded remarkably well in setting up an extensive, comprehensive and magnificent collection that includes minerals from every continent.
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Collector interview: Alex Schauss
Dec 16, 2022
In this interview by Tomasz Praszkier, Alex Schauss shares some of his family history, and talks about his career researching nutrition and botanical medicine, and how these disciplines relate to his passion for mineralogy.
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Competing with Thumbnails: Little Crystals, Big Impact
Sep 27, 2022
What even is a mineral competition? How do you determine a winner? What makes a mineral ‘competition worthy’? David Tibbits shares his perspective on competitive displays, specifically regarding thumbnail specimens.
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A New Standard In Thumbnail Storage And Display - Crystal Showcase Boxes
Sep 5, 2022
To further assist our customers in enhancing their collections, we're proud to announce our exclusive partnership with OPENALLDAY as the sole North American distributor of their Crystal Showcase™️ boxes, an upgraded way to show off and store your favorite thumbnail mineral specimens. View these Perky Box alternatives.
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Why “Collector Gems” are Enchanting
Aug 4, 2022
Besides their inherent beauty, gem collections are appealing for their scientific information. Collectors can learn much about a mineral’s chemical composition and geological origins from a gem’s size, color and clarity. Each of the stones in the Arkenstone auction is a true mineralogical wonder—not just in the geological sense but also as a representative of the species itself.
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The Art of Collecting
Jul 15, 2022
The team at The Arkenstone has been busy with our recent collaboration with the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on our RARE EARTH installation, bringing together specimens from the museum, Dr. Lavinsky's personal collection, UCSB's Woodhouse collection, and private collectors.
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Photo Atlas of Mineral Pseudomorphism
Jun 17, 2022
We just received notice that Photo Atlas of Mineral Pseudomorphism will be pulled from the Elsevier publication list due to plagiarism in the main introduction of the text. Intellectual scholarship demands integrity, both of which I hold in the utmost respect.
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Rare Earth: Santa Barbara
Apr 23, 2022
Far more than a dazzling display of gems and minerals, Rare Earth tells the story of how we can value the natural world in a new light.  Copper may be worth a few dollars per pound, but a beautiful piece in its (remarkable) natural form is worth far more than that.  The question is why? We humans inherently assign value to beautiful things above and beyond their utility. It’s why we value impressive minerals like these higher than their price as a mere commodity. Whether it’s a mineral, a tree, or an ecosystem, viewing nature purely in terms of “price per pound” undervalues the resource and deep down, we know it. The minerals and crystals you see here are treasures in their own right, worthy of being displayed (and valued) like any other fine art.
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Rare Earth: The Art and Science of Chinese Stones
Mar 28, 2022
Collecting rocks and stone carvings has been popular in China for thousands of years. This tradition is rooted in the philosophical and spiritual inspiration drawn from the artistic beauty of natural stones, such as jade. Unusually-shaped stones called “Scholars rocks” or “Philosopher’s Stones” carved by natural processes have also been long valued in China. Seen as embodiments of the dynamic transformational processes of nature, these stones were also admired for their resemblance to mountains or caves, particularly the magical peaks and subterranean paradises believed to be inhabited by immortal beings.
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Legal Nuggets: Fragile Minerals and the TSA
Jan 24, 2022
We have all come across a superb specimen, attractively priced, but have nonetheless refrained because there was no easy way to get it home damage-free. What if, however, you do decide to take that specimen home with you on a plane? And what if you carefully wrap it and loosely seal it in a box, with the intent of treating it as carry-on luggage? Of course, from the moment you embark on this course, your mind is dwelling on one thought, and one thought alone—those folks you will encounter at the airport with the badges and patches that say “Transportation Security Administration” or “TSA.”
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New Year, New Website Update!
Jan 9, 2022
We are excited to start off 2022 with the launch of our new and improved website experience, with many changes to freshen up the overall experience for our customers! While at its core, the website remains mostly the same, we’ve reorganized by condensing menus to make navigation easier as well as adding a few new and exciting features to make our website more user friendly for exploring our thousands of listings.
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Getting to know the mind behind The Arkenstone - Dr. Rob Lavinsky
Jan 8, 2022
There are numerous illustrations of the 17th-century phrase, “One good turn deserves another.” By most accounts, it appears Dr. Rob Lavinsky’s life is one such example.
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The Bement Collection of Minerals
Jun 16, 2021
The Bement Collection of Minerals is one of just celebrity, and in the quality of its contents, the average beauty, in some cases, the unique perfection of its specimens, secures a deserved eminence. It is a collection naturally, which abounds in very beautiful and very rare and scientifically precious mineral examples. It represents the sifted and compressed results of a lifetime of collecting, in which the widest latitude of liberal appraisement of specimens has been met on the part of Mr. Bement by as boundless a generosity. There can be no question as to its importance— Gratacap (1912)
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In Memorium: Francis Allegra (1957-2015)
Apr 7, 2021
We are proud to offer on behalf of the family estate, the full and intact collection of the late Judge Francis Allegra, noted collector and MR legal columnist, coming up for auction on Auction Open: April 15, 2021 at 6:00PM CT through May 1, 2021 at 6:00PM CT!
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Burma and Spinels in my Collection
Mar 17, 2021
Guest Post by Bill Larson - "As both a dealer and as a collector of gem crystals and mineral species prized by both the gem and mineral markets, I have collected Burmese Gem minerals in particular now for nearly 30 years. I've traveled to Burma nearly 40 times, including a number of rare trips to the mines directly."
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Think “Multi-Purpose” Specimens - Jim Houran
Feb 23, 2021
By James (Jim) Houran People with the so-called “collector gene” often indulge multiple interests and collections, either at once or over time. For instance, there are some mineral connoisseurs who likewise build important collections of art, old bottles, vintage mining equipment, Indian artifacts, pottery, or other historic or aesthetic items.
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In Memoriam: Mark Neil Feinglos (1948–2020)
Sep 4, 2020
Adapted with permission from Rocks & Minerals, volume 95, September/October 2020 for publication on Mark with his wife, Susan Totten Feinglos.
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Why Competition? Two Perspectives
Aug 16, 2020
The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show is a hotbed of mineral-related activity, camaraderie, wheeling and dealing, discussions, arguments and general wonderment. One of the most exciting aspects is the competitive displays. Any collector can enter minerals in competition and doing so will provide a whole new and gratifying show experience—win or lose! The authors present here some thoughts, observations, background and experiences designed to encourage more competition at shows.
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History of Specimen Mining at Hardangervidda, Norway
Apr 28, 2020
Intro Anatase was named in 1801 and is one of five naturally occurring forms of titanium dioxide. It is found all over the world, on all continents, (even Antarctica!), but Norway hadn’t been known as a producer of showy, display specimens.
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Little Wonders: Connoisseur Thumbnails in the Contemporary Collector Market
Apr 7, 2020
Mineral collectors generally differentiate six specimen sizes, starting with the smallest, termed micromounts, followed by thumbnails, toenails, miniatures, small cabinet and ending with large cabinet or museum-size pieces. In some cultures massive size is equated to quality, but collectors past and present have more often observed that bigger is not always better.
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The Jack Halpern Collection
Feb 11, 2020
We're honored to have been entrusted with the deaccession of a selection of Jack Halpern's famed collection of fine minerals, some of which we brought to market this 2020 Tucson Show, and others will be appearing online. Friend and mineral collector Lauren Megaw shared some thoughts, history, and personal interactions from her interview with Jack, below.
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