Robert Matthew "Rob" Lavinsky, proprietor of The Arkenstone mineral dealership, was born December 13, 1972 in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Richard Lavinsky, an attorney, and Marilyn Rosen, a dental hygienist. He began collecting calcite at age 13, with the support of many mentors in the Columbus Rock and Mineral Society, including Carlton Davis , field collectors John Medici and Henry Fisher, and dealers Neal and Chris Pfaff, among others. He competed with his calcites (which he still owns) for the first time at age 18 in the Berea, Ohio show. He eventually expanded his scope to collecting United Kingdom classics, Sweet Home mine rhodochrosite, and worldwide classics. As a field-collector he dug for minerals in the dolostone quarries and roadcuts throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky (Halls Gap millerite), Ontario (Bancroft), and various other localities.
Rob received his BA degree in Biochemistry and History from Rice University in Houston, Texas (1995), and went on to earn his PhD in Molecular Genetics at the University of California San Diego (2000). The first time he formally sold minerals as a dealer at a show was in 1986 (at the age of 14) at the Columbus Show. During the years from 1986 to 2001 he gradually bought and sold more specimens, becoming a part-time mineral dealer by degrees, and finally becoming a full-time dealer after graduation, in 2001. His first business name was simply "Rob Lavinsky Minerals," until 1994 when he changed it to "The Arkenstone" (the name of a fabulous gem in Tolkein's Lord of the Rings trilogy).
Imperial Topaz: Al2((F,OH)2|SiO4)
Locality: Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Southeast Region, Brazil
2.2 x 1.3 x 1.1 cm. This is a fine, gemmy single crystal of orange Imperial Topaz with a steep termination. The color in this crystal is very rich for this size. It is a strong orange, and by no means "brownish". All the faces are lustrous without any kind of coating. A great thumbnail from this world famous locality that has produced some of the most incredible color Topaz crystals in the world.
Rob feels that his major contribution has been to help move the hobby of mineral collecting onto the internet — his business went online (www.irocks.com) in 1996, and was among the first to do so. He has also actively sought ways to spur education and interest in old classics and rarities through the venue of the internet, and sells selected reference works via his website. He recently (July 2006) gave a lecture on the "Impact of the Internet on the Mineral Hobby" as part of the summer lecture series at the Seaman Mineral Museum in Houghton, Michigan, and later gave an expanded version as a headline talk at the 2007 Rochester Mineralogical Symposium.
Spessartine: Mn2+3Al2(SiO4)3, Smoky Quartz: SiO2, Albite: Na(AlSi3O8)
Locality: Shengus (Shingus), Haramosh Mts., Skardu District, Baltistan, Northern Areas, Pakistan
3.5 x 2.2 x 2.1 cm. A group of wine-red, translucent/gemmy, lustrous, modified trapezohedral Spessartine crystals are associated with minor Smoky Quartz and white Albite. The largest Spessartine measures 1.2 cm across. The piece is very three dimensional showing beautiful overall form.
Although he has been in business full-time for just a few years, he has handled the sale of a remarkable number of important collections, including all or part of the collections of Dr. Edward David, Marshall Sussman (Tsumeb specimens), Gary Hansen, W.H. Leithauser, Willy Israel (Tsumeb minerals), Dr. Eric Asselborn, Carlton Davis (thumbnails), Irv Brown, Carl Turner, Mike and Mary Jaworski (pyromorphite), Martin Zinn (the rarities; over 500 specimens), Marilyn Dodge (thumbnails), Ed Ruggiero, Richard Hauck, Sam Nasser (thumbnails), Violet Dawson, Jim and Marjorie Ferguson (Tsumeb collection), Peter Bancroft, Miguel Romero (Mexican minerals) and Lindsay Greenbank.
Rob, his wife Bailey and their two children live in the Dallas area, Texas; he may be reached by e-mail at email@example.com
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