Providing Collectors with the Very Finest Creations from the past 4 BILLION YEARS.
Stuart and Donna Wilensky Fine Minerals began over 25 years ago at a flea market on Long Island. We were newly married and stumbled across a table filled with Arkansas Quartz and polished Agates. We instantly fell in love with a clear Quartz group and bought it for $50.00.
That night we took it home, placed it on our dining room table and just stared with wonder at the natural beauty, the unbelievable perfection of the sharp clear crystals. I had seen crystals like this in natural history museums but never thought we could own them.
I (Stuart) grew up in a very artistic family. My parents were art and antique dealers and I traveled the world with them visiting museums and studying every period of art from Egyptian to 20th century. In college I earned my masters degree in art history. Little did I know that every artist, every creative work I had ever seen would pale in comparison to the work of Mother Nature. My lifetime of aesthetic learning drew me rapidly towards the natural beauty of minerals. It was as if a lifetime studying art had brought me to this point where I now understood that all art, all aesthetics, come from nature. The appreciation of human art is but a reflection of nature itself. Donna has the most incredible taste in beauty without any formal training and was drawn to the minerals as quickly as I was. We actively pursued their acquisition, visiting museums and mineral galleries wherever we could find them from, New York City to London. I have been a collector my whole life and knew that obtaining the very best was the path for us. We both worked night and day constantly refining our taste and learning all that we could. Our legacy as mineral dealers and collectors are the specimens you see in these archival galleries and pictured in our book series. The collections we have helped build are the constant reminder of the beauty and wonder of the natural world.
Our goal is one of consistent quality and beautiful aesthetics. It has always been our goal to buy, sell and collect only those mineral specimens which we would like to have in our own collection. We have always valued the artistic aspect of minerals, but also believe that with depth of knowledge collectors can appreciate a piece for its rarity, locality or crystal size. As you will see, our primary focus has and always will be on acquiring specimens which have the following criteria, most often in this order:
- Beauty, aesthetics and overall balance
- Perfection of crystal quality, sharpness and form
- Color and clarity (if applicable)
- Lack of damage
- Color and/or texture contrast
Of course we always put in the mix the indefinable essence of any work of art, how it affects you and moves you emotionally and artistically. The intrinsic value of aesthetic minerals is the pleasure you get from viewing them.
Minerals are my personal passion. My intention is to share with fellow collectors this passion, the joy we have experienced in owning and handling so many wonderful mineral specimens, and to encouraging the collecting and preservation of mineral specimens as works of art. By displaying these archival photos wherein others can view, compare and enjoy aesthetic mineral specimens, we hope to promote mineral collecting right along side the more traditional fine arts of painting and sculpture.
No museum or collector can ever possess all of the beauty in the world but we can all enjoy having our own private museum in photographs.
What We Believe In
Every mineral specimen you see on our web site is completely natural and as found deep in our Earth. The only intervention by human hands is the removal from the mine, cleaning and sometimes trimming away parts which are not desirable.
Every mineral specimen we sell carries our lifetime guarantee of authenticity and satisfaction. All specimens are sent on an approval basis and not until you the collector are satisfied with the piece is it considered sold. We will always consider trading up specimens you have purchased in the past towards new pieces of greater value. Our reputation as dealers in the finest minerals is our bond with you our client. We deal not only in minerals but in trust, honesty, quality, investment and beauty.
As you will see when browsing our web site our focus is on acquiring and selling the very finest and most perfect of all mineral specimens. Our only goal is to provide collectors with the most aesthetic, well crystallized and highest quality minerals that have ever been found and to sell them with honesty and integrity. We feel it is our responsibility to describe each piece within the context of other known examples and explain why any particular specimen is among the very best. We try very hard not to abuse or misuse the term “best” or “finest” but whenever we honestly feel that way about a piece we will say it without reservation. It is our obligation to our clients to provide only those examples that we feel worthy of their collections. Your collection is a direct reflection upon us and we take that distinction very seriously.
Buy what you like and buy the very best you can afford. Enough said.
Mineral Collecting – Why?
Mineral specimens and crystals have been collected since the earliest humans came in contact with them. Many prehistoric burial sites contain assorted mineral fragments and crystals which were used both for ornamentation and spiritual purposes.
It is obvious why the natural beauty and perfection of minerals attracted the human eye. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve introduced people who previously had little or no exposure to spectacular crystallized minerals and heard something like — “These can’t be from the ground?” or “Oh, you made these?”. I always enjoy watching for the very first time the expressions and listening to comments. It is pure unadulterated amazement! We can all appreciate the talent and skill of artists like Van Gogh or Michelangelo, but what can we say about the overwhelming beauty and natural aesthetics of minerals? They are truly the wonders of the world. They are the treasures of the Earth, each one is completely unique and cannot be duplicated by man. I then like to follow up with telling how most of the minerals they are looking at are hundreds of millions of years old. That’s usually the point at which they look at me and are sure I’m making all this up!
Mineral specimen collecting really grew into a popular pastime during the Renaissance and grew more rapidly right through the Victorian age. Kings, Queens, and Royalty across Europe were collecting minerals at a feverish pace, often competing with one another for the very finest material available. Nearly every large European city maintains a mineral collection (usually within a larger natural history museum) that has its origins in one of these great 18th or 19th century Royal collections. Along the way other wealthy and influential people collected specimens. A good example is the famous British art critic and poet, John Ruskin (1821-1910) who maintained a large mineral collection. Here in the United States we had many 18th and 19th century collectors of note. One which most of you will have heard of was Washington Augustus Roebling (1837-1926), builder of the Brooklyn Bridge. His collection was the basis for one of America’s most important collections which is now in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. So you see, if you love beautiful minerals, you’re in good company.
Mineral collecting in the 20th and 21st century has built upon this great historical past and has grown into a huge thriving and wonderful collecting field. We have shows dedicated solely to mineral specimens. On any given weekend there are small and large shows and exhibitions around the United States and Europe. The famous Tucson, Denver and Munich shows attract tens of thousands of collectors. The great days of mining are mostly behind us, due often to mechanized mining methods and government regulations. But, interestingly, many of the finest known minerals have been found in the past twenty years. This is a direct response to the ever growing demand and appreciation of minerals and the opening up of new mining regions in China, Pakistan and South America. Mines that were extinct for 50 or 100 years are also now being rediscovered and reworked just to extract fine specimens. New areas of the world are being explored by intrepid mineral dealers and startling finds are being discovered every few months. Donna and I have been mineral enthusiasts for over 25 years and we are constantly surprised how often we are shown pieces that are incredible, sometimes the best ever found for a particular species.
Who, What & Where?
If you are new to minerals we suggest getting a few good books to start off and surely a subscription to both The Mineralogical Record and Rocks and Minerals. Unfortunately my favorite book, Gem & Crystal Treasures by Peter Bancroft, is out of print, but we will help you obtain a copy. For the best selection of books go to: Lithographie. There are just too many web sites devoted to mineral collecting so I would say look around at www.mindat.org, www.the-vug.com and www.minerapole.com. Most important is get out and see a few good museum collections. We like the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, Houston Museum of Natural History, The National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian, The L.A. County Museum of Natural History, The Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, The Natural History Museum in London, and also the Harvard University collection. Look at minerals, look at minerals and look at minerals. You will develop your own taste and then follow that path. Do not be intimidated by the scientific aspects of mineralogy. It is not at all necessary to feel you must be scientifically inclined to enjoy the beauty of minerals and crystals. All it takes is the appreciation of nature and beauty. Do not worry much about “how do I know what species or crystal form a specimen is?”, that will come with time. Donna and I have always stressed the aesthetics and perfection of specimens. If you allow that appreciation to develop the rest will follow with ease. Once you fall in love with minerals, the rest of the information will flow from dealers, museum curators and fellow collectors, who I have found are very generous with their knowledge.
Please note that all of the specimens you view on our site have been sold. They illustrate the style and quality we offer. We encourage you to contact us, by email, or FILL OUT our questionnaire, and tell us what you are looking for. We work closely with collectors, offering only the very finest specimens available, focusing our attention to help build world class collections. We are always ready to email photos of specimens we currently have. You are also welcome to contact us for an appointment to visit, or, see us when we set up at the Denver (September) & Tucson (February) Mineral shows
Bank Wires are preferred, we also accept MASTERCARD, VISA and PayPal.
Now that you are more familiar with minerals and mineral collecting please feel free to contact us if we can be of any help in your pursuit of these amazing and spectacular works of natures art.