March 1997 December 2006
John Veevaert - Trinity Mineral Company
I have been an avid mineral collector - primarily a field collector since 1975. My first love was with gold but in 1977, while taking mineralogy, I discovered benitoite and there was no going back. Most of my field collecting was in southern California, Nevada and Arizona. I have had the opportunity to see just about every nook and cranny in the Mojave Desert, almost all of Nevada and all of western Arizona. Living in southern California in the 1970s was worth it as Pala was virtually wide open and easy to visit as were the myriad mines all over the Mojave desert. I can even put collecting in the Red Cloud mine for wulfenite on my check list. It was rather easy to find good zones back in the 70s.
My education is in Geology and my undergraduate work was done at Fullerton College and Humboldt State University in Arcata - both in California. My graduate work, centered around fluvial geomorphology, was also done at Humboldt State University.
After completing my bachelors degree I was gainfully employed as an exploration geologist working for two mining companies - one out of Anchorage, Alaska and one out of Reno, Nevada. After grad school I went to work for Redwood National Park for three years and then transfered to the US Forest Service as a geologist on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. I started Trinity Mineral Company in 1996 with the intent of losing money but enjoying my hobbies of computers and mineralogy. The idea was to lose money and pay fewer taxes. But it was one of those rare situations in a person's life where they are at the right place at the right time. The Internet was in its infintile stages and I was able to get in while the "gettin' was good". You can read more about my life here and here.
In 1997 I quit my government job at the GS-12 level and plunged head on into full time mineral dealing. and have been doing it ever since.
The two pictures above have me rather concerned about how the mineral specimen (a self collected benitoite and neptunite from 1986) is aging... hmm...YIKES!
I happened to look over my description the other day and realized that a lot of things have changed since I wrote it. It's been over 6 years since I started working with John on Mineral-Auctions.com. At first, I auctioned some rocks while I was in the process of changing jobs. It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of nice people which led me to push John to expand the scope of the auction site. My role expanded along with the site and I am the auction administrator. In addition to auctioning items, I plan most of the theme auctions and many of the special auctions outside of Tucson and Denver. I also work with John to improve the site and make it more enjoyable for the users and dealers.
Before getting involved in the auction, I have spent a long time collecting minerals. I was introduced to minerals by my grandfather's friend when I was very young, but my interest really took off when I found my first geodes and fossils on a family trip when I was about 7 years old. After that, I would beg to stop at every road cut and drive the family crazy. I ended up choosing chemical engineering in college, so I forgot about minerals for awhile until I visited Australia and saw an exhibition at the Earth Exchange that featured some awesome minerals from Broken Hill. After I returned to Michigan, I started looking for quarries and collecting sites to hunt in. I have been collecting and selling for about 17 or so years now.
I actually met John shortly before he quit his day job and started into the mineral business. We made a trade or two after meeting on the rockhounds mailing list and look where it ended up. :)
I was born in Brazil and lived there for most of my life. My father, Jose Eduardo Barbosa is a Mining Engineer and Gemologist and since a very young age, I was around gems and crystals and just loved it. I started working at his company, Gemological Center, as a teenager and have been working with gems and minerals for over 20 years. 2010 was my 22nd consecutive Tucson Show. My degree is in international business adminstration. I specialize in rare gems for collectors, special inclusions in Quartz and minerals that catch my eye. I have been living in the US since 2008 but try to go back to Brazil as much as I can on buying trips. My father does send me shipments regularly so I always have new things coming in.
Dr. Alessandro Genazzani - Italian Minerals
I started collecting "rocks and stones" when I was about 10 ... you can imagine, really rocks and stones ! My mama was very "happy"... Nevertheless the love for the perfection of the shapes of the crystals was growing, So little by little I became more expert and after several years I found myself deeply involved in mineralogy, with a growing collection and a lot of friends. The problem today is that my real job is on the other side of the moon compared to my love for minerals as I am a medical doctor. I am involved in science and research at the University of Modena, Italy.
About 10 years ago I
met a growing number of collectors and new friends while using Internet
(among those there was John Veevaert !) and during those months the final
step to create my own website was made. ItalianMinerals.com started little
by little in 1997 and came on with full steam in June 1998. It is a full
operating website to show and offer good rocks from Italy and other global
locations to the Internet world of collectors ! My primary goal of the
website is to create a condition so that my hobby helps pay for itself, at
present it partly works but being an avid collector of nice specimens ....
sometimes it doesn't!
Giorgio Spiga & his wife Marisa - Best Minerals
Different to most collectors and rockhounds, my attraction to
minerals began when I was not any more a child but after I had finished my
degree in Chemistry at the Cagliari University in 1966. Until then,
my time was divided between study and Sports. At 15 years I began
Greek-Roman Wrestling and three years later I was selected as a reserve in
the Italian team for the 1960 Rome Olympic Games. The following
year, I became the 52 kg. Italian champion and successfully fought for the
first time in the national team versus Hungary. At the end of 1963,
I gave up top-level wrestling because, following a training accident that
year, I failed to participate in the Naples Mediterranean Games, which was
a sort of passport for the following Tokyo Olympics. Back to
Sardinia after eighteen months spent in Sweden and England, for scientific
and professional development. In 1968 I began teaching Analytical
Chemistry at the Iglesias Mining School where there was a very good
mineralogical museum and a many collectors among the collegues; from then
on, I started my activity as a mineral collector and rockhound. During the
following twelve to fifteen years, I spent most of my weekends and
vacations digging in the tail dumps of the old mines and around the
vulcanites and granites in Sardinia. My professional activity absorbed all
my time and energies from 1982 up to 1994 when I started again with
revived enthusiasm for minerals and in 2000, with the cooperation of my
son Bruno, I started
where you can see my own collection, including a suit of 45 top class
sardinian samples of my preferred mineral: Barite. Actually, for the
next 2.5 years, I am heavily engrossed in the clean up of a large
contaminated site in Sardinia. I hope it will be my last
professional work and after it I want to dedicate all my time to my three
hobbies: minerals, photography and roses.
Isaias Casanova - icminerals.com
I was born in a crossfire hurricane....only kidding!
Actually, I was born in Havana, Cuba in 1951 and came to the states in 1961. Lived in Miami until 1987 when I moved to Orlando. Developed an interest in minerals early and then forgot about it until 1986 during a Colorado vacation. I have been dealing in minerals since 1989 and became a full time dealer in 1998. I obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications (Film) in 1974 from the University of South Florida, but had a 20 year career in Finance, before attacking the minerals full time. I am divorced with three girls, that are now all grown up (most of the time)!
Brian & Amy Scholten - Scholten's Fine Minerals
Brian has been an avid
field collector for almost 40 years and always enjoys the thrill of
discovering something new and unique. His interest began as a child during
a family trip to a farm in New York. While walking past the horse stables,
he saw a piece of limestone covered with fossilized brachiopod shells
sticking out of the ground. He quickly got down on his knees and pulled
the rock out. After that, on monthly visits to the public library with his
mom, he borrowed every book that had anything to do with fossils or
Amy has been interested in opals since the age of 8. She is a freelance wellness/medical writer and artist who enjoys painting, mineral photography, and designing and maintaining the Scholten's Fine Minerals website.
Giovanni & the rest of Webmineral Shop - Webmineralshop.com
We are a group of friends from Italy with the hobby of mineral collecting , here is a picture of us at the famous Hofbrau house during the last Munich Show in 2004 from left to right: Giuseppe, Giovanni, Carlo, and Gianfranco.
We all started collecting minerals from 25 to 10 years ago and we have our own collections. We started the first version of the webmineralshop site early in 1997 and finally got the site on the web in 2002. Our primary goal was to create a condition whereby our hobby would pay for itself so as to improve our own collection, allow us to do research and collecting trips, various mineral shows and so on.
We aren't full time dealers but we do it in our free time so that now it's a second job. We attend all the main shows in Italy and Europe were it's always a pleasure to meet our web-customers and doing business with other dealers. Three years ago our group founded the Genova Mineral Show as it organizers. It is a growing show in Italy.
Thanks to John to give us the opportunity to be part of the new mineral-auctions site.
Andrei & Kim Rykoff - AA Rock Shop.Com
Hi, my name is Kim and I'm Andrei's wife. I
have been a jewelry designer and goldsmith for 22 years in the Pacific
Northwest. I specialize in custom jewelry made with gold, platinum,
silver, precious and semi-precious gemstones. I work with clients to
design a functional piece of art that can be worn for many a generation. I
have participated, founded, presided over and been a board member of
several high-end art shows in the Pacific Northwest such as; Creative
Metal Arts Guild, Art in the Pearl and Best of the
Northwest.Hi, I'm Andrei and
as far back as I can remember I've always loved rocks. By training and
profession, I'm a Forester and Natural Resources Professional. I graduated
from the University of California, Berkeley in 1980 and currently work for
the US Forest Service in Northwestern Oregon (near Portland). I'm the
District Ranger for the Clackamas River Ranger District on the Mount Hood
National Forest. It's a great job and one that I love. Where else do you
get paid to work out in the woods and stumble across an occasional rock?
As much as I love my day job, I love minerals just as
Kevin Conroy - Kevin Conroy Minerals
I got my start in collecting rocks and minerals at age six. My parents happened to buy a home near a creek that was loaded with all sorts of treasures (at least they were for a six year old novice collector). Some of the things that I found there were quartz crystals, agate, crinoid fossils, colonial coral, and even a few arrowheads. We took some of these finds to a rock shop in Saint Louis that was run by Howard York, a man who I'll be ever grateful to. He took the time to teach me a bit about fossils and minerals, and encouraged me to join a rock club. Well, that was it, I was hooked!
Fast forward over 50 years to the present... After earning my degree in geology then working for 30+ years, I'm retired now. My collection includes some minerals that I self-collected underground in the Tri-State District, Pea Ridge Mine, Sweetwater Mine, Brushy Creek Mine, Buick Mine, Elmwood Mine, plus numerous surface deposits, quarries and road cuts. Field collecting is still a love of mine, even though the places that grant permission to collect are ever dwindling.
Geoff Krasnov - Geokrazy Minerals
I have been interested in minerals since I absconded with a specimen of tigers eye in the 3rd grade. My interests led me to find attractive roadside specimens until the day my mother took me to a local mineral shop. It was not long until I had a collection of a few dozen display quality specimens. In the early 1980's my interests picked up with field collecting in the Blue Ridge Mountains and near Hiddenite NC. My collecting grew with my attendance at mineral shows. In the early 1990's I sold off the bulk of my collection and re-invested it in calcite specimens. By 1996 I was selling at local shows in Pennsylvania. I now live in Wilmington NC and show in Raleigh, Asheville and Cartersville Georgia. Geokrazy minerals was born in 1997 and my website www.geokrazy.com was launched in September 2009.
Jon Voelter (left) & Sam Cutbirth of - Voelter's Minerals
Jon Gordon Voelter was born on October 5, 1976 in Abilene, Texas, USA. From an early age, he began to display interests in rocks and music and went on to study both geology and music at Hardin-Simmons University before obtaining degrees in philosophy and theology from McMurry University.
Following the completion of his undergraduate studies, he moved to Breckenridge, Colorado, USA in December 2000. Upon his arrival there he began working at Nature's Own, a local mineral and fossil shop. He also began field collecting around Colorado, particularly in the Pikes Peak batholith area in Park and Teller Counties. It was also at this time that he began developing his own techniques for cleaning minerals, techniques that he used on his own finds.
In April 2005 he began working in the laboratory at The Collector's Edge Minerals Inc. in Golden, Colorado, USA. While there, he was further trained in various mineral prep techniques and his work won wide acclaim among numerous clients. One of the most notable pieces he worked on is now on display at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
In May 2009 he left Colorado and began consulting work for Kristalle, in Laguna Beach, California, USA and Crystal Classics in Somerset, UK respectively. During this time he further developed his prep work techniques.
In February 2010 he, along with Sam Cutbirth, opened Voelter Minerals following the Arizona Mineral and Fossil Show in Tucson, Arizona, USA. Now with his own laboratory, he continues to develop and refine his mineral prep techniques.
Rick Kennedy - Earth's Treasures
I've been a collector ever since I was able to pick anything up with my hands. I've collected everything from stamps and coins to bottle caps. Minerals and rare gemstones became my passion for several reasons: their natural beauty, the fact that I could never learn everything about the hobby and the adventures involved in collecting these beauties in the field.
I received my BS degree in Earth Sciences from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1994, seven years after finishing my course work (It is a long story!). I started Earth's Treasures in 1985 as a part time buisiness while I was still in school and continued it as a part time business while I worked managing a small business for one of my mineral collecting partners. In March of 2006, I left that world for good and became a full time mineral and rare gemstone dealer and have never been so happy!
Personally, I collect "rough and cut" suites of rare gem minerals, but my passion will always be for Benitoite, and I proudly flaunt my status as the poster boy for the Benitoite Mine Run sales that John and Steve did a few years ago, my 5.06 carat flawless cut Benitoite is indeed the "Jewel" of my collection.
Bob & Lisa Williamson - BandLminerals. Com
I got hooked on
mineral collecting at about 10 years old in Monterey, California.
Actually, I started on fossils, as there are a lot of fossil beds in that
general area. I quickly branched out into mineral collecting, and remember
fondly my parents taking me and the rest of the family down the coast to
Jade Cove in Big Sur to collect Jade where it washes up on the beach. As we all know, most kids like
rocks and fossils, but not many keep this passion for collecting when they
'grow up'. I was one of those
few, and obtained a BS and MS in Geology from the University of Arizona,
and then worked for 10 years as a mine geologist for various copper
companies in Arizona. I gave
that up several years back and am now teaching earth and environmental
science at a school in Tucson.
Lisa's "real" job is as an RN, but she has joined me in my passion
and hobby of mineral collecting.
We started selling mineral specimens online at BandLMinerals.com in
2004. We are lucky enough to live in Tucson,
and so, every February, dealers from all over the world bring their
beauties to us!
Perhaps like many collectors, I started out as a "species" collector in that if a particular mineral with a name that I had not yet ticked off in the index of my Golden Guide had crossed my path, I simply had to add it to my collection. My father had built a book shelf and retrofitted it with glass panes to house my collection and by the time I was in Grade Three, I had 115 rock, mineral and fossil specimens in it, all labeled (though in several cases not accurately, e.g. I distinctly remember a rounded piece of earthy hematite that looked "just like" the ruby---pronounced "rubby", at the time---in the Guide.).
Seventeen years later, after a diverting foray doing a Bachelor of Arts degree, during which I did collect things collectable in southern Alberta (mostly calcite and gypsum), and a move to Vancouver (1988), I a) met other collectors, b) visited the Museum at the UBC every day I could, c) started another degree (two, actually) in the field which I declared as a child I would be in - geology, and d) began a career in mineral museums. My hobby turned profession.
After a 20 year career in gem, mineral and fossil museums (curatorial assistant, University of British Columbia Geological Museum; director/curator, Pacific Mineral Museum; associate curator of gems and minerals, Houston Museum of Natural Science; assistant/research curator, Gemological Institute of America), economic realities forced a change and I decided to make a new career out of my other "hobby": photography. Between museum jobs, I worked as an exploration geologist, traveled and dabbled in mineral dealing...and so, back to that too, except the exploration geologist bit, though, that was fun!
Currenty I work at the Oceanview mine in Pala, california and am responsible for specimen marketing.
Don & Gloria Olson
Don's interest in minerals started at age 8 when he was invited to collect at the Himalaya Mine and the Little Three Mine in Southern California. At that time he lived on his grandparents' turkey ranch in Ramona, CA. When he and his parents moved to Osseo, Minnesota, three years later, he continued with this hobby by collecting Lake Superior agates and trading them for mineral specimens. Until 1984, Don worked in corrugated-box sales for Champion International in Minneapolis and Milwaukee, had a part-time mineral business (Minerals International) and raised four children. In 1985, Don and Gloria started their mineral and gemstone company, Donald K. Olson and Associates, which was based in Milwaukee, until they moved to their current home in sunny California.
Gloria also started field-collecting at age 8, but in Lima, Ohio. She and her father frequently visited the quarries in the Midwest, which back then were open to collectors. Gloria graduated from Miami University with a major in chemistry. She then received MS and PhD degrees in mineralogy from Ohio State University. She was co-owner of the store, What on Earth, in Columbus, Ohio for 16 years and, at the same time, was employed at Chemical Abstracts Service in the editorial and marketing departments.
You will see us at major gem and mineral shows across the country.
Take the time and visit their