The Arkenstone: Specimen Galleries

Rob Lavinsky, rob@irocks.com

Online since 1996


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IKON (a Mineralogical Record special issue)
by Wayne A. Thompson, dealer and collector
edited by Dr. Wendell Wilson
January, 2007
192 pages
Weight: 1.3 pounds -
Softcover : $50 plus postage ($9 within the US, $16 overseas)
Hardcover (Limited Edition, Leatherbound) - $175 plus postage ($12 within the US, $20 overseas)




EXCERPT FROM THE INTRODUCTION (with permission from the Publisher):

Mineral specimens illustrated in this book have two things in common: (1) They are some of the finest known mineral specimens in the world; and (2) they have, at one time or another, been parts of my “sales collection” and have been sold by me to elite collectors and museums around the world (with the exception of three or four which I still own). One of my goals for this book is simply to document, for historical and promotional purposes, the kind of specimens I have carried in the past, and the stories of how I acquired them. But it is my intention that the photos and text presented here will have some educational value as well, giving all collectors a better understanding of a very esoteric and often mysterious subject: the collecting of world-class minerals. This is an area of high exclusivity and high financial stakes, nearly inaccessible to most collectors. I hope to dispel some of the mystery.

What makes a “world-class” specimen—one which, in simplest terms, is suitable for inclusion in the world’s finest mineral collections? The question encompasses several categories based on distinctions that most collectors have probably not considered. Some specimens have an unforgettable visual presence, such that their images stay in the memory of the viewer. Some combine exceptional quality with important provenance and historical significance. Others, although collected too recently to be considered “historical,” are among the finest of their type. The common unifying factor is the exceptional quality of each piece, but the particular historical aspects and the flavor, so to speak, of their aesthetic impacts can also serve to categorize them in meaningful ways. To discuss these fine points requires terminology: I call the three main categories “ikons,” “classics,” and “contemporary masterpieces,” and will discuss them in more detail in the chapters that follow. All world-class specimens will fit into one of these categories (and some may fit in two).

A brief discussion of the factors that determine quality, value and investment potential is followed by some practical suggestions for collectors who wish to personally build world-class collections. It’s true that most readers of the Mineralogical Record may not have an opportunity to own such specimens. But then, neither will most of us ever have the opportunity to own a painting by Rembrandt, DaVinci or Van Gogh. Our inability to own them personally need not prevent us from appreciating them and learning all we can about them. On the contrary, world-class specimens are important, universally acknowledged focal points of study. In many ways, studying the Old Masters teaches us things about art that we could not hope to learn from lesser works, and so it is with the greatest mineral specimens—specimens that have achieved the pinnacle of development and perfection in ways only hinted at by lesser specimens. This book is dedicated to the appreciation of such objects as the ultimate expressions of mineralogy.

- Wayne A. Thompson










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Rob Lavinsky, rob@irocks.com

ALL PICTURES, TEXT, DESIGN © THE ARKENSTONE 1996-