Our Mineral products
The fossil trade is a world-wide industry. At the trade fairs I go to, I can buy malachite from Congolese quarrymen, fluorite from Chinese collectors, amethyst from Uruguayan miners, and Alaskan garnets from a cigar-smoking Hungarian with a very tired-looking campervan.
It’s a fun world to work in; the shows are enjoyable social experiences as well as vital parts of my working year.
Where minerals come from
Rocks are formed from one or more minerals. Minerals are chemical compounds that can form as crystals or as less defined masses. They have many uses, but basically we sell them because they look nice and are interesting. That should be reason enough.
There are well over 5,000 named minerals, some very common, others incredibly rare. They can be classified by a number of factors – hardness, colour, cleavage, lustre and habit, for example – but the easiest way to group them is by their chemistry. By definition, a mineral should have a distinct chemical formula, be more or less stable at room temperature and have a potential crystal form.
Colours are usually determined by traces of elements, either as a normal chemical component (idiochromatic) or as impurities (allochromatic). For example, quartz, one of the planet’s most abundant minerals, can take a huge number of forms and colours. In its purest state, it’s clear. With a touch of iron present, and natural irradiation (which, I should point out, does NOT make the mineral in any way dangerous) simple quartz can take on a purple colour, and is called amethyst. Copper often produces green and blue minerals, manganese can lead to pink tones, while chrome can make things red or green.