In the past several years I have seen too many new dealers enter the market who know little to nothing about crystallography, petrology, chemistry or any of the basic fundamentals of mineralogy. At shows more than half the dealers simply put rocks out on a table or shelf with no pricing, no identification, or locality information. I have seen other dealers continue to push specimens to seemingly arbitrary pricing levels with the belief that there is always someone out there who will think that a high price is equal to high quality. This is an unhealthy trend in this hobby and one that needs to be addressed in some way by the mineral collecting community.
I have been a mineral collector since the mid 1970s and have seen the pricing for minerals expand at a rate that is unsupportable over the long term. My basic philosophy for pricing specimens is to ensure that when you open the box you feel as though you have received value for your purchase.
To that end my promise to
all Trinity Mineral Company customers is the following:
During December 1995 I was laying flat on my back with a bad case of the flu and had a bunch of time to stare at the ceiling and wonder what I could do that would mesh my passion for minerals and computers. At the time I had had an 18 year long "love affair" with mineralogy and had mastered computers in my profession (fluvial geomorphologist aka geologist) writing programs in fortran and BASIC to crunch numbers. Putting computers and rocks together in the form of a cyber rock shop seemed like a natural! Hence, I started work on developing a commercial rock shop for the Internet during December 1995. What I wanted was to have a rock shop that would provide for some interaction by the viewer and be a bit more human - I mean anyone could take a picture of a rock and hang a price tag on it... Hence, two things I set out to do was tell stories about the rocks that I had personally collected that were for sale to convey the human aspect behind the mineral specimen. Secondly, I created the Auction Room as way to engage visitors and allow them to price some of my specimens.
In 1995 all I had for inventory were the scores of minerals that I had personally collected during the previous 20 years. Most of my field collecting had been done in the desert region of the American southwest such as Arizona, Nevada and California. I had also spent a GREAT deal of time playing around in the pegmatite mines of San Diego and Riverside counties also. It did not take long for the specimens I was willing to part with to disappear and it was on to Tucson in 1997 to start the process of building an inventory. One other aspect of www presentation I developed in 1996 was to delineate specimens based on where they came from. Essentially, a person could click on a continental "room" and see minerals from there. As for Auctions, my first auction was in July of 1996 and I had a 2.3 cm crystal of Neptunite in matrix up for bid with a minimum bid level of $20. The time for the auction was 2 weeks. Well, that first specimen sold for $37 to a fellow in Louisiana and that was ~the~ start of mineral auctions on the Internet. It seems like ages ago as auctions are now a common place event on the Internet. It is funny how what was once a novel experience for web surfers has become as common place as checking the weather on the web. I am gratified to have started this and see now that many are emulating it. It is my intention to continue on with the Auction Room for the foreseeable future.
Next, I needed to come up with a name for this new "being". The name of the business is taken from the name of the county that I live in which is Trinity County.. Weaverville Mineral Company didn't have quite the ring that Trinity Mineral Company did. If you ever come to Weaverville you will see lots of businesses such as Trinity Travel, Trinity Motel, Trinity Cleaners, Trinity Bakery, etc. We, who live in small rural towns in America, like to keep things simple...
One thing I didn't count on was the success that this little operation would generate. After 8 months of being online it became readily apparent to me that I either had to tone the rock shop down or go full tilt with it at the expense of my career as a geologist. I quit my day job on July 4, 1997 just one year after going into business with the website.
Numerous and hopefuly lasting friendships have emerged since the start of Trinity Mineral Company. It continues to provide opportunities for tons of fun and chances to meet some great fellow mineral enthusiasts! I look forward to this continuing. This is a truly remarkable medium for reaching out to people!
As for my personal mineral collection - I have "foresaken" all other minerals except benitoite and minerals from the Benitoite Gem Mine. That is all I collect. I feel that for a mineral dealer to also be a general collector is unfair. Dealers have access to specimens at wholesale prices. Hence, it puts the general collector at a disadvantage. My job is to help other people develop a serious and meaningful collection - not to get a better collection than anyone else. The only place where I will compete with you is when it comes to benitoite. I am a total blue triangle junky..
So, regardless of whether you're just browsing or looking to purchase something I hope you enjoy your visit to this website. THANKS AGAIN!
Click to see what I do for a living...ha ha
(not listed in any particular order except for the first and last folks)
Mark "FM" Hemphill-Haley did most of the early scanning for me back in May of 1996. I am indebted to him for his aid in helping me get this page off the ground! And to: Pete Tresselt, Danny Hagans, Keith Hayes, Bob Keller, Death Valley Suzie, Eric Owens, Adam Larson, Perrin Fulmer, Jonathon Shireman, Charlie "Tex" Watson, Ed Johnson, Russ White, Craig Wavra, John Roth, Darcia Short, Carol Bova, Brice & Christophe Gobin, Tim Sherburn, Ron Baker, Nick Varnum, Clark Alexander, Albert Hines, Janet Slate, Dr. John Longshore, Don Parsons, Pete Almendinger, Mary Beth Marks, Rick Kennedy, Luciana Barbosa, Ron Lupo, Kevin Brady, Steve Dunn, Stan Perry, Vladimir Zboikov, Dave Lindberg, Rich Abitz, Paul Thomas, Bryan Lees, Scott Werschky, Haleem Kahn, Andy Zdon, Don Meyer, Steve Friend and Carol "Rose", Dr. Bud Burke, Wayne & Dona Leicht, Jesse Fisher, Francois Lietard, Karin & Siggy Zeccha, John Bailey, Rob Lavinsky, Isaias Casanova, Marsha Hilmes, Dudley Blauwet, Kiyoshi & Eriko Kiikuni, Lluís Mendieta, Brian Lloyd, Robert Kahl (RIP), Len Pesciotta, Bill Weaver, Tom Loomis, Don Parsons, Dave Douglass, Kirk Schmidt, Al Ordway (RIP), Gary Simpson, Burminco's, Laurent Thomas, Emanuele Martini, Takuya Niiro, Dr. Don Garlick, Marshall Sussman, Nate Wilke, Diana & Dan Weinrich, Ed Johnson, Steve Perry, Tom Marquette, Jim Miller, Richard Margalis, Jordi Fabre, Lluís Mendieta, Bill Larson, Joan and Jeromy Cook, Bob and Alice Jones, Marvin Michie, Doug Paul, Carter Rich, Sandor Fuss, Lisa Smith, Mike Groben, Bill Forrest (RIP), John Alcorn, Duane Leavett, Charley Sahlman, Mark Wrigley, Irv Brown, Bill Morgenstern, Alessandro Genazzani, Dan Westermeyer, Terry Strange, Daniel Comtois, Dave Alcorn, Marc and Jonathon "Jo" Favre, Dr. Mark Feinglos, Mark Kast, Gloria Staebler, Steve Behling, George Campbell, Andy Seibel, Knut Eldjarn, Sandy Potter, Ian Bruce, Leonard Himes, Mike Hunerlach, Rory Howell, Julia Fortado, Herb and Monica Obodda, Jim Gaughran, Scott Kleine, Dave Bunk, John Eton, Hiroyasu Ichikawa, Mark Liccini, Matt Taylor, John Seibel, Harry "Bear" Foster, Phil Gonzales, F-Troop (Kurt "Squirt" Fraese, Kevin Yokoyama, Dave Bazard), Roland Goodgame, Cal & Kerith Graeber, Tom Whitelaw, and brother Jim have either been on memorable mineral collecting trips with me, been involved in a trade with me for some of the minerals on this page, or just shared a lot of their valuable time with me in the pure enjoyment of mineralogy!