Some kids grow up to become mineral dealers, some grow up to become geologists – Two views

Two articles online brought an interesting slice of life to kids with rocks and minerals in their pockets and in their minds. Lots of children become interested in rocks and minerals, like any other popular natural science, kids all over have the thoughts of becoming a geologist. Fewer kids have the thoughts of becoming professional dealers of minerals, rocks and fossils. These two articles give a look into two different types of kids, one who became a very successful mineral dealer and another who became a professional geologist.

Rosie Cima did a wonderful write up about mineral dealer Robert Lavinsky, or, Dr. Lavinsky, as we find out in the article found on the Priceonomics website, The Very Model of a Modern Mineral Dealer. In this article we get a picture of Robert Lavinsky, owner of The Arkenstone, from boyhood facination with rocks and minerals, into college, selling minerals became a main focus of his life, trumping his doctorate degree in Molecular Genetics.

This is the type of kid who is mixed with a passion for sales and an equal passion for collecting. Like this bit from the article shows

At some point during the interview, when asked why the market has grown as rapidly as it has, he attributes a lot of it to people realizing that they could own minerals in the first place. Because who wouldn’t want to?

“I can have these amazing, beautiful objects that are tens of millions of years old in my house!” he shouts. He certainly does.

Stibnite specimen, photo from irocks.com

Stibnite specimen, photo from irocks.com

On the other hand, we have children who don’t have the same drive for sales. With those kids with rocks in their pockets we have this great guest blog on the AGU blogosphere, this writer, Evelyn Mervine, on her Georneys site, had her mother submit a guest article on what it was like to grow up nurturing a future geologist.
Barbara Mervine has a great viewpoint on raising a young geologist, as you can see in this quote.

Geologists are often born, not made. Shortly after birth, the parents of a born geologist notice something different about their child. Some parents try to interest their young child in other subjects, such as birds or stamp collecting. However, it is best to just give up and accept that your child is different.

Barbara has several words of wisdom, what to expect when raising a future geologist, like this one…

The parent of the geologist dreads the day that the child becomes a teenager and begins learning to drive. That is because now the child’s habit of looking for rocks while in the car becomes looking for rocks while driving a car. Rock cuts on highways are a danger that all parents of geologists should be aware of. For example, Evelyn was once traveling with a group of geologists from MIT when they stopped the van along the side of a major highway. All the geologists piled out to go look at a rock cut. The police man who gave them tickets for illegal stopping on a highway was not impressed with their excuse that millions of years of history was revealed right there before his eyes. He pointed out that hundreds of cars were right there going by at high speeds. Obviously, the police man did not have a brother or sister who was a born geologist.

Both articles are well worth checking out
Rosie Cima’s Priceonomics article The Very Model of a Modern Mineral Dealer —> http://priceonomics.com/the-very-model-of-a-modern-mineral-dealer
Barbara Mervine’s Guest Post on Georneys Blog for AGU The Care and Feeding of a Geologist —> http://blogs.agu.org/georneys/2011/10/12/the-care-and-feeding-of-a-geologist-a-guest-post-by-barbara-mervine/

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Collecting Zeolites around Marysvale, Utah

The noon sun hung in the sky with a dull yet irritating heat. It was early Spring, and I was traveling to a place nobody had any reason to be, an empty valley in Central Utah. I grabbed the canteen swaying from my hip, took a hearty swig, and wiped the small beads of sweat slowly forming on my brow. The dry earth crunched with each trod of my heel, one after another like a rhythmic drum, each thud forming a slow monotonous beat.

marysvalezeolites-june-16-02

I took in my surroundings. At surface level there was not much to see, canyon walls and plateaus, little wildlife, and less trees. What little vegetation was found here often amounted to sagebrush. It peppered the dirt in various shades of chartreuse, flowing lightly with the siblant hissing of the wind. I was two miles south of Marysvale, Utah, a small town with less than five hundred residents. On this particular expedition, I was alone.

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The area I was headed to was the now abandoned Elbow Ranch. On my shoulders slung a backpack stuffed lightly with supplies: a fold up shovel, a pair of gloves, a chisel, a spray bottle of water, a rag, the morning newspaper, a loupe, and a geologists hammer. I also made sure to leave some empty space for any of the various specimens I hoped to collect.

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I’d spent the earlier half of the day in the Durkee Creek area. Durkee Creek was much easier to reach than the hike to Dry Canyon had to offer. Most Rockhounds with already impressive collections probably wouldn’t have bothered spending the time there. The red-brown earth of Durkee Creek offered an abundance of zeolite, but they were often small specimens that didn’t equivocate to the effort involved.

It wasn’t until one o’clock that I found an area that had seemingly been untouched. I unfolded the shovel, wedged it between the cracked earth, and began digging. With each downward stroke I hope for the sound of metal scraping rock. It was four feet down where I found it: mordenite, an orangeish pink rock like rusted iron. With my chisel and rock hammer I chipped at the rock, a tedious process requiring delicate precision. When I’ve made enough of the outline I wedge the pick in and remove the specimen like a loose brick.

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A quick spray from the bottle and a wipe of the rag gave the rock a quick polish. The mordenite was about half a centimeter thick, forming a crust for the interior of crystalized white quartz. I held it over head where the light could reach, twisting it in hand, watching it blink and shimmer in the afternoon sun. I recall thinking a familiar thought, an image of this same area long ago. A memory strung together from vague recollections of scientific studies and my own personal imagination. It was a hostile world, fiery and volcanic, but one small pocket of that world had been preserved. A fracture of time lying dormat, imprisoned and pressurized for thousands of years, found by me after a series of seemingly coincidental happenstances.

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I tore a page from the classified section of the day’s paper and wrapped the mordenite with care, then I climbed my way out of the hole. The sun stood due west, glaring. My wrist watch read 4:00 pm. In Marysvale Utah many of the residents are returning from work, preparing for dinner and the days end. I grab the canteen, and wipe my brow. Then I gather my gear and continue on. I’ve yet to try my luck at the Blackbird Mine.


Gem Trails of Utah Book Cover
Gem Trails
by Various Authors

The Must Have, if nothing else than to have an IDEA about the collecting spots in your state, the gem trails books are a wealth of information at a low price. The perfect beginner guides that are refrenced by serious field collectors! Click on the book covers to view them on Amazon, or search the eBay link below.

Gem Trails on eBay

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