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  Author   Comment  
Bob Harman
Several weeks ago I submitted a post about my views of quality vs. quantity when talking about geode finds.  Today I hope to expound on what I believe constitutes a QUALITY find in a geode.  
Let me first state that QUALITY is in the eye of the finder. It is quite subjective; that is, a casual collector might be really happy with a find that doesn't amount to much for a long time advanced collector. Also, QUALITY is a complex interplay of many facets; geode size, freshness, perfection of the crystals, unusual secondary minerals and crystal forms etc etc and so forth. A rather subjective complex interplay of all these criteria.

"Quality" means very different things to different people. Obviously there is the question of monetary value.  But, to me, THE REAL TESTS OF QUALITY GEODES are the following: how the finds are viewed a week, a month, and six months or longer after their finding. Are the examples looked at again and again after these time frames? Are they displayed on a shelf? Do the geode finds spur continued interest, making  the finder(s) want to go out collecting again?   Are the geode finds shown at a club meeting or otherwise shown to friends or other collectors?   Is their any thought of putting the finds together for some type of self-display or formal display at a show. Do any of the geode finds have some specific type of interesting or unusual mineral or crystal appearance? And do the geode finds spur interest in reading more about their geology or occurrence or other related topics.
If the answer to the above questions is generally "yes", then you might consider your find(s) of QUALITY.    Good hunting,     BOB
Alfred Ostrander

Hello Bob,

From a collectors point of view I understand your position. As a collector I have some geodes that more than meet the standards you have presented, not only here but in other cooments here and on other sites.

As a counterpoint i will openly state that I am not only a rockhound, I am also a geologist. For me, becoming a geologist was just part of a progression from growing up as a kid interested in rocks to being an active collector and then heading off to college as an somewhat older non-traditional student.

By your standard as a collector I have some really outstandingly lousy geodes. By my standards as a geologist they are great specimens for various scientific reasons. 

Advising collectors is well and good but I do get a great kick out of the discovery process new collectors (especially in the field) are involved in. Those  not so hot geodes by some collectors standards may be just the thing that inspires a new collector or a future geologist. From that perspective I always try to accentuate the positive, even if the specimen isn't the greatest. I don't misrepresent the quality of a piece. That does no good either. However, some of my greatest field collecting experiences have involved helping those new to collecting find something on their own. I admit this is quite self serving because I really do get a real kick seeing a new collector's eyes light up and a huge smile breaks out over finding a decent specimen. It doesn't matter if it is of outstanding quality or not. It is the beginning of a process that can lead to a lifetime of exploration in the wonderful world of geology. All factors considered, that experience for the new collector (and an old hand) is a priceless experience of the highest quality.

To all you new collectors and future rockhounds, go for it! The experince of finding your first specimen may be priceless!

Best Regards,
Al O

Bob Harman
HI AL,    Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

Actually, altho I have many quality examples, I have many (!) study examples that include rare and micro minerals, barely visible to the naked eye, mostly occurring in low end or ordinary geodes that I would have never kept had it not been for these interesting mineral or crystal occurrences. These examples are for my own satisfaction and have never been displayed, but they are occasionally shown or given to others for research etc.   On my shelf they look out of place, but they do serve a very specific purpose so they represent "quality" to me. These kind of finds were alluded to in my initial post with the sentence about the enthusiasm generated by finding interesting minerals and crystal forms in the geodes.   

BTW, John Rakovan, geologist at Miami U of Ohio, and several of his students took several of my SMYTHITE in Barite examples for his research. Do you know John?     Smythite is the only mineral ever to be first identified coming from Indiana.....and first found at the Harrodsburg road cuts!         Regards, BOB
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