The Wisdom Pocket Blog Archives

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
Jim Houran, Ph.D., Psychologist, Collector, & Author An intriguing trend has long been apparent to devoted readers of the Mineralogical Record (MR), Lapis, and Rocks & Minerals. Locality articles, like Robinson’s (1990) treatise on diopside from DeKalb, New York, or papers about new species such as Hawthorne et al.’s (2004) description of pezzottaite, frequently include photos of gems cut from the respective minerals.
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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 MineralAuctions.com. 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
By William (Bill) Larson, February 2021 L-R: Beryl (aquamarine), 2.4 cm, Sakhan-gyi, Kyauk-pyat-that Zone; Spinel, 1 cm, Pein-pyit, Pein-pyit Zone; Corundum (ruby), 2.9 cm, Mogok Valley Zone; Forsterite (peridot), 2.6 cm, Pyaung-gaung, Bernardmyo Zone; Spinel, 1.9 cm, Pein-pyit, Pein-pyit Zone; all Mandalay Region, Myanmar (Burma). William F.
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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 iRocks.com. 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
Written by Dr. Jim Houran, Jim Bleess, and Dr.
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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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F. John Barlow Collection: A Modern Mineral Connoisseur
Jan 27, 2020
Within the mineral collecting world, there are collectors who have left their indelible mark upon the community. John Barlow was one of those collectors.
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The Miguel Romero Collection of Mexican Minerals
Oct 12, 2019
[caption id="attachment_6321" align="alignright" width="256"] 18.7 cm, from the San Juan Poniente stope, Level 5, of the Ojuela mine, Mapimí, Durango, Mexico. “The Aztec Sun,” Jeff Scovil photo.[/caption] In 2008, Rob purchased the collection of Dr.
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Emeralds: History’s Favorite Stone?
Sep 26, 2019
Emeralds: History’s Favorite Stone The history behind Emeralds is filled with royalty who’ve sought the precious gemstone for its rarity and eloquent beauty. Emeralds come from the beryl mineral family and are renowned for their deep green to greenish-blue color.
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Copper Queen Mine, Bisbee, Warren District, Arizona
Sep 4, 2019
The Copper Queen Mine was first discovered in 1877, and ever since, the history of this mine rivals the drama of an old western.  Silver and copper deposits were reported in the early 1870s, and in 1877 , rich outcrops were found for prospectors to dig into. To set the stage, the Copper Queen Mine is situated, in what was then, hostile Apache territory in Arizona, and the U.S.
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Rare Chalcopyrite Balls from Daye, China
Jul 5, 2019
Chalcopyrite Balls Tonglushan Copper Mine, near Daye, Hubei Province, China found Jan 2019 through April 2019   View this post on Instagram   Prepping a whole batch of these bad boys to go live on iRocks.com for sale soon... going to be sad to see them go!
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