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CRYSTALS AND MINERAL SPECIMENS AS INVESTMENTS



Why investors are turning to mineral specimens?


When it comes to investing, people may think of stocks, real estate, antiques, paintings, jewelry, red wines and watches. However, there has been an emerging investment trend in mineral specimens that has outpassed diamonds in the Covid era, especially when diamond prices had dropped by 20% in 2020. The Beijing Poly Auction culled US$504,285 in total sales from the 39 mineral specimens sold in 2017 and Christie’s took more than US$1.1 million from their mineral auction in 2020, there is no doubt the crystals and minerals market is on the up.


As Minerals As Art


Naturally formed crystals and mineral specimens are scarce resources, they are colorful, unique and cannot be copied nor reproduced. Billionaires have long been in the chase for the choicest specimens and a growing number of wealthy collectors started to realize that exquisite crystals and minerals are better replacements of fine art and paintings. Not only do they have great investment values, but also can be passed on from generation to generation. These are some of the fine mineral specimens that I have, as minerals as art.

Quartz on Pyrite from Shangbao Mine, Leiyang Co., Hengyang, Hunan, China


Azurite with Chrysocolla and Malachite from Liufengshan Mine, Guichi District, Chizhou, Anhui, China


Quartz on Hematite var. Specularite from Jinlong Hill, Longchuan Co., Heyuan, Guangdong, China


Blue Aragonite with Sand Inclusions from Wenshan Mine, Wenshan City, Wenshan, Yunnan, China


White Aragonite var. Flos Ferri with Sand Inclusions from Wenshan Mine, Wenshan City, Wenshan, Yunnan, China


Red Hematite included Quartz with Dolomite and Tetrahedrite from Dongxiang Co., Fuzhou Prefecture, Jiangxi Province, China


Malachite and Chrysocolla from L'Etoile du Congo Mine (Star of the Congo Mine; Kalukuluku Mine), Lubumbashi, Haut-Katanga, DR Congo


Scolecite with Stilbite on Basalt Matrix from Rahuri, Ahmednagar District, Maharashtra, India


How should I select?


Do not forget these criteria when it comes to crystals and minerals investment – highly crystalized, near-gem quality and rarity. The market value of near-gemstones such as Fluorite, Azurite, Calcite, Quartz, Pyrite, Malachite and Amethyst was strong before Covid and is appreciating, particularly Fluorites from the Yaogangxian Mine, Spessartine Garnets from Wushan Mine, Scheelite from Mount Xueboarding and Azurite from Liufengshan Mine in China. A gemstone is a piece of precious or semi-precious stone which is cut and polished for making jewelry, best examples are diamonds. I’m sure some of you had sworn some mineral specimens had been cut by jeweler and had been heat-treated because they’re so perfectly formed and the colors were so vibrant. I’m telling you they’re not, some great examples are shown below. They just sparkle, come in beautiful colors with fabulous crystalline formations.

Quartz var. Herkimer Diamond from Herkimer County, New York, USA


Calcite with Hematite inclusions from Fengjiashan Mine (Daye copper mine), Daye Co., Huangshi, Hubei, China


Smoky Quartz on Feldspar from Wushan Spessartine Mine, Tongbei, Yunxiao Co., Zhangzhou, Fujian, China


"Diamond" Calcite on Calcite from Tonglushan Mine (Daye Copper Mine), Daye Co., Huangshi, Hubei, China


Does size matter?


I love collecting miniature mineral specimens as they’re way easier to transport and I could have as many of them as I could because they won’t take up too much space in the house. Large cabinet specimens are also good because they can be treated as artworks enlivening any home. My husband prefers large pieces because he’s a tall hunk while I like anything smaller than 8 inches because I’m petite and can’t handle large specimens. It’s a very personal question irrespective of their investment values, because small or cabinet-sized specimens could be worth more. Always do your research, it’s fun and rewarding. Well you can rely on me in Chinese minerals because I’m an expert haha :-P


Locality is important, but not everything


A lot of what we look for in specimens is the same as in gems – intensity of color, luster, clarity, size and perfection. Other considerations are the level of crystallizations and aesthetics of the crystal grouping. What about locality? Yes, it matters, but it’s not everything. The fun of mineral collection is about exploring the unknown! Tomorrow might bring an unrevealed historic collection from someone’s loft or be discovery of a magnificent new find, you’d never know. And don’t forget that labels, in particular “old labels” can be faked. I’ve seen thousands of specimens with newly created “old labels” marked with overvalued prices, passing through the hands of many middle men and mineral dealers.


Best Crystals and Mineral Specimens to Invest in 2021


Investment potential of crystals and minerals hit the big time now, a good piece could now be selling for 20-30 times what they were sold for 10-20 years ago, especially those from the Yaogangxian Mine, Mount. Xueboarding, Daye Copper Mine and Wushan Spessartine Garnet of China. If the mine is closed the value of specimens can triple overnight such as the Tsumeb Mine in Namibia. Investors and international buyers are flooding China’s mineral market in recent years, which has played a key for the fast-growing fame and prices. And Covid has strengthened the Chinese mineral market which has been undervalued historically. Mineral specimens from China are hot right now and the price is still acceptable, making the limited amount of good specimens more desirable.


Conclusion


You should first decide whether your goal is to be a collector or an investor. I’ve been fascinated by minerals since I was young and I usually buy specimen because I fall in love with it, not to make money. They are incredibly beautiful and I love placing them at home, it’s a privilege to live with what I think of as natural work of art. As an experienced and passionate mineral collector, my advice is you don’t need to know much about their market value or their metaphysical qualities, if you love the way they look, just get it.


Like my father always said: “Live and love life to the fullest with no regrets!



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