The Australian Museum of Gems and Natural Crystals

 

 

"The Australian Museum of Gems and Natural Crystals" is brought to you by Matthew Webb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.  All of the pieces pictured on this website are completely unworked by man - aside from cleaning and removal of excess host rock.  The beauty of natural crystals is something that this website will allow you to appreciate.  It will also teach you how to build a fine collection of them.  Some of these pieces are for sale.  Email exclusiveminerals2@gmail.com if you would like to buy any of these pieces. 

 

 

Guaranteed mineral specimens!

 

 

 

A LIFETIME GUARANTEE OF SATISFACTION! 

In other words:  Any piece bought from me can be returned for a full refund any time during your lifetime.  The refund will be made cheerfully and with no questions asked.  The only caveat on this guarantee is that a refund will generally not be immediate. If asked to perform on my guarantee, I can normally refund $10,000 or less within less than 90 days.  Guarantees of $100,000+ plus can normally be performed on within less than 12 months.  This is because I always work with a very low cash reserve since whenever I sell fine pieces, I usually reinvest over 90% of the proceeds of sale into new mineral specimens. 

The average piece on this website is worth around $25,000 at retail.  Many high quality mineral specimens also retail at lower price points. My rigorous guarantee helps you buy with confidence.  The guarantee is particularly good for new collectors.  As the career of a mineral collector develops, the collector's desire for particular mineral species or pieces from particular localities normally alter.  A more mature collector will also have different size preferences.  Around 15 years ago, I had a preference for fine single crystals of tourmaline, aquamarine and other gem crystals.  Since around 2012, I have had a stronger inclination to acquire fine quality crystallized azurite specimens.  Since I am a relatively young collector (44 years old), my collecting preferences will probably alter several more times during my future as a mineral collector.  Many new collectors do not develop if always faced with the prospect of becoming "stuck" with mineral specimens that they have "outgrown".  My guarantee allows the new collector to return pieces to me if the pieces are ever found not so exciting to that collector.  So why become stuck buying mineral specimens from a dealer who does not offer any guarantee at all on any of the pieces that he or she sells?  "No guarantee" means that the dealer does not stand behind the mineral specimens that he or she sells and when this is so, one must question the quality level of what good money is spent on.

Since I continue to actively build my collection, I do a lot of bartering with other collectors and dealers.  So how does my guarantee work if I supply you with a $100,000 mineral specimen during a barter?  How I deliver on the guarantee, if asked, will depend on what I bartered my outgoing piece for.  If the trade was based on fair retail prices of high quality mineral specimens, then I would either allow you to select a piece or pieces worth up to $100,000 in value.  If you then cannot find $100,000 worth of new pieces for your collection on the day, I will issue you with credit notes to the value of $100,000.  The credit notes can be spent with me any time during your future as a collector.  My credit notes are also transferable so are like cash.  

Most collectors or dealers who work with me either do not tire of owning pieces that I supply them or profitably resell what I supply them with.  During my history since 1987, which has encompassed around $30,000,000 worth of retail priced mineral specimens, less than 2% of my outgoing pieces have been returned to me.  I have proved myself good for my guarantee when I have worked with important collectors and dealers in America, Australia and elsewhere who have included Stuart Wilensky, Dylan Stolowitz, Evan Jones, the late Dr Helen Holmes, George Holloway, Clifford Vermont, David Cowan, Dr Robert Lavinsky, Robert Sielecki, Dr Brian England, Cal Graeber, Terry Enright and Ted Scholz.  I have also OFFERED to buy or trade back many high quality mineral specimens that I have sold or traded out of my collection since the 1980's when I started to buy my first high quality mineral specimens.  I have always loved fine minerals and have always bought the highest quality mineral specimens that have been affordable for me.  I am always willing to honour my guarantee because I have only ever collected or dealt with mineral specimens that are fundamentally good pieces and which I like.

Learn about how to collect fine mineral specimens!

Mineral specimens are naturally occuring gems, crystals or crystalline material.  All of the mineral crystals pictured on this website grew as a result of geological processes inside the earth and each unique specimen generally took millions of years to create. All of the pieces pictured in the albums are completely unworked by man.  An introduction to the different way that mineral crystals can form appears in the " Geological Settings" album below.

 

Mineral specimens in a collection are described by both species and locality.  The species name of a mineral specimen corresponds with a chemical formula.  The formula names the elements (a substance that cannot be broken down into a simpler substance) and describes their proportions in relation to each other.  Hence, all mineral specimens contain a unique combination of elements.  The " Elements in Minerals" gives an introduction to this concept.  The locality of a mineral specimen normally names at the very least the mine that the mineral specimen was removed from (if removed from a mine), the nearest town to that mine and the state or province and country where the mineral specimen was found. Examples of the same mineral species collected from different localities often look vastly different.  Using the " Locality Is Important" album, compare the differences in crystals of calcite, fluorite and barite that are found in different countries of the world.

 

When one embarks on the journey of building a mineral collection, where to start can be daunting.  The " New Minerals" album highlights most of the top 20 most collected mineral species. The " More New Minerals" album highlights most of the 21st to 40th most collected mineral species.  Although beautiful, these species are relatively common - although pristine examples of even the most common species are still rare.  Some collectors will only have an interest in collecting rare minerals from the start of their collecting careers.  The " Great Rarities" album will appeal to these collectors.  If one decides to collect rare minerals, it is best to only collect minerals that are both rare and beautiful.  Some scientists will collect minerals that are so rare that they cannot be seen without the aid of an electron microscope.  Collectors of esthetic mineral specimens have no interest in these types of mineral specimens.  The collector of esthetic mineral specimens will collect pieces that are miniature sized or larger with esthetic and eye visible crystals.  

 

Mineral specimens as collectibles stand on their own regardless of provenance and photographic record.  However, if a mineral specimen is illustrated in the popular mineralogical literature, it was generally illustrated because it "stood out" to at least one mineral photographer and an expert editor of a mineral magazine.  If a mineral specimen has the provenance of being previously owned by one or more important collectors, this is often a sign that at a particular time, these collectors thought that the mineral specimen was fine enough to relate to the specimens in their reputed collections.  Hence, provenance and photographic record of mineral specimens add interest and some value to them.  The albums below show several of the Webb collection pieces that had provenance even before they became part of the Webb collection.  At least 10 pieces in the present collection also appear in the popular mineralogical literature.    

 

Once you have done some research and decided what types of minerals (by species and locality) you would like to collect, you should aim to buy the highest quality mineral specimens that you can afford to buy.  This is because high quality mineral specimens are the most likely to appreciate in value.  This is also true with other types of collectibles.  To help show the difference between my finest mineral specimens and my lesser mineral specimens, I have arranged them in an album titled " Introduction To Quality."

 

Of course, size is a consideration when buying mineral specimens.  If all other variables are equal, a bigger specimen or bigger crystals will generally be more valuable.  In nature, smaller crystals are often more perfect than larger crystals.  Hence, there is generally at least some trade off between size and quality when selecting many types of mineral specimens.  I would personally prefer a mineral specimen that is more perfect but smaller.  Not all collectors have the same preference and there have been times when I have acquired a larger and less perfect specimen instead.  Refer to the " Size Is Important" album.  

 

It is best to start collecting mineral specimens with a clear objective.  Despite this, many collectors' tastes alter as they mature as collectors.  I bought my first high quality mineral specimen in 1987 and have added to my collection most years since then.  The 1989 - 2015 album shows which pieces were added to my collection during each year of my life as a mineral collector.  This chronological arrangement would suggest that I have been most active as a collector between 2009 and 2015.  This is so because in 2009, I retired from my full time occupation as a retail pharmacist to become a full time mineral specimen collector.  During the later years of my collecting career, I also traded out specimens acquired before 2009 for pieces that are in the albums dated 2009 onwards.  Hence, the seeming inactivity between 1989 and 2008.   

 

 

Australia's Best Mineral Specimen Website!

The world famous Matthew Webb mineral collection is the result of a life long passion for esthetic natural crystals, uncut gemstones and fine mineral specimens.  These pieces of "natures art" are not widely appreciated despite their beauty because they only occur underground.  Mr Webb bought his first high quality collector piece in 1987 when he was just 15 years old.  Since then, he has traveled worldwide and bought, sold, bartered, donated, field collected, brokered deals on and appraised fine pieces worth over a total of US$30,000,000 at retail.  Some of the pieces formerly in the Webb collection appear below.  These historical pictures only illustrate "the tip of the iceberg" in terms of pieces that have left the collection from 1987; Mr Webb only started to photograph all outgoing pieces in mid 2013.  

 

The historical aspect of this website is evidence that Mr Webb is indeed one of the world's most experienced, accomplished and knowledgeable private mineral specimen collectors of the 21st century. Ian Bruce of "Crystal Classics", England is also one of the world's top mineral dealers and in his opinion, Mr Webb is one of the world's top 10 expert mineral specimen appreciators. Despite this, an unacceptably large minority of hostile competing dealers, collectors, curators and gem club committee politicos in Australia, the United States and elsewhere have voiced less flattering opinions about Mr Webb.  They cannot fathom or pretend not to fathom how a 43 year old who lives in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia could understand fine mineral specimens despite his youth and geographical isolation from the world's major mineral collecting markets in the United States and Europe.  Both are soft markets for mineral specimens compared to Australia which is one of the hardest mineral specimen markets in the developed world.

 

Furthermore, the presentation of "once owned" mineral specimens shows that pieces that Mr Webb has sold or bartered are at least as good as the mineral specimens in his own collection.  This website does not merely offer the "rejects" of an advanced collector.  Furthermore, Mr Webb owns or has owned around 100 pieces that have been pictured in the popular collector related literature including "The Mineralogical Record", the "Fluorite" edition of "ExtraLapis", the "garnet" edition of "ExtraLapis", the "Gold" edition of "ExtraLapis", the "Smithsonite" edition of "ExtraLapis" magazine, "Minerals of Broken Hill" published by "Australian Mining and Smelting Ltd", "Minerals of Broken Hill" published by the Broken Hill city council in conjunction with "The Museum of Victoria", "American Mineral Treasures" published by Lithographie LLC, "The Australian Journal of Mineralogy", "Collecting Arizona: State of Mines, Legacy of Minerals" published by Lithographie LLC, the "Sotheby's" catalog for the auction of the Joseph Freilich mineral collection in New York city in early 2001, "The Smale Collection - Beauty in Natural Crystals" published by Lithographie LLC, "Encyclopedia of Minerals" - edition 2 by Willard Roberts et al, "Minerals Encyclopedia" by Dr Peter Korbel published in 1999, the calendar of "The Waverley Gem Club of Victoria Inc" for 1976, "Namibia - Minerals and localities" by Rainer Bode published in 2007, "Gold For Collectors" by Scott Werschky  et al, the "Wilensky Fine Minerals" series in volumes 2, 3 and 4, "Lapis" magazine, "Minerals and Precious Stones of Brazil" by Carlos Cornejo  et al, "Rocks and Minerals" magazine, "Gem and Crystal Treasures" by Dr Peter Bancroft published in 1984 by Western Enterprises, the calendar of Tsumeb mineral specimens published by Dr William Pinch, the flier for the innaugural "Australian Fine Mineral Show" held at "Crystal Universe" in 2015, "The F John Barlow Mineral Collection" published by Sanco in 1996, "An Illustrated Guide to Rocks and Minerals" by Michael O'Donoghue and published by Dragons World Ltd in 1991, "Le Regne Mineral" magazine and probably elsewhere.  Most other Australian dealers do not have a relationship with a single specimen that has been pictured in the mineralogical literature.  

 

Interestingly, Mr Webb holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy with Honours and a Masters Degree in Pharmaceutical Science from the Victorian College of Pharmacy, Melbourne. He graduated in the top 7% of his class when he completed his first university degree.  During his earlier years, he also quickly learned how to play the descant recorder, alto saxophone and piano. He takes great pride in www.matthewwebb.bluemelon.com which has been online only since February 2013.  All of the photography, photo editing, photo arranging, caption writing, editorial content and general site maintainence on the website is done by the man himself. i.e. Mr Webb has not relied on other personnel at any time to make this website what it is today.  It is definitely one of the world's best mineral specimen websites and a quick comparison with other commercial mineral sites will reveal this.

 

 

The crystallized gold nugget is from Talbot in "The Golden Triangle" country of central Victoria, Australia.  It is 2" tall.  It was part of the Webb collection in 2004.  It was also part of the Ian Bruce gold collection.  It is presently part of the MIM Collection in Lebanon.  The photo is the property of MIM Museum.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

             

 

    

Frequently asked questions about mineral specimens

Q1:  What do you use mineral specimens for?  

 

A1:  Mineral specimens are a collectible in their own right.  Different collectors buy stamps, coins, antiques, war medals, fine art and toys.  Instead of collecting man made collectibles that were often mass producted at one time, mineral collectors collect groups of unique mineral specimens.  

 

Q2:  Do you cut mineral specimens into jewellery?  

 

A2:  No.  Although gem crystals often contain facet or carving rough, they are not cut into jewellry.  A mineral collector enjoys the esthetics and intellectual appreciation when seeing mineral crystals that are totally unworked by man.

 

Q3:  When you buy a mineral specimen, how do you know that you are not buying a fake?  

 

A3:  The new collector can adopt a number of strategies to minimise the risk of paying a lot of money for a mineral specimen that is a fake.  The risk of being sold a fake is generally very low if you only buy from reputable dealers or collectors.  If a dealer has a substantial website offering, works from a premises where his website specimens are stored or displayed, has a long history of collecting or dealing with mineral specimens and a substantial committment to them, offers you a guarantee that you are happy with, has no criminal record, does not have a substantial history of civil litigation and can supply you with credible trade references, then he is reputable.  

 

The matthewwebb.bluemelon.com website consumed around 2000 man hours.  Travelling the world to gather hundreds of mineral specimens displayed on the site also consumed thousands of man hours.  Just the photography, photo editing, photo arranging and caption writing on this website would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if a website designer was paid to do this work.  Most mineral specimens displayed on this site are stored in a secure storage facility that I can access during normal business hours.  I can visit collectors at their homes at short notice with mineral specimens that are on the website.  I donated around $1,000,000 worth of mineral specimens to "The South Australian Museum" and "The University of Wollongong Earth Sciences Museum" between 2002 and 2004.  I have collected mineral specimens for around 30 years.  A quick Google search will confirm that I have a substantial history in collecting mineral specimens and I work with them full time.  If another collector wants to return mineral specimens bought or bartered from me for any reason, I will cheerfully accept returns for any reason.  I can supply trade references on request.  My trade references include dealers in Australia and the United States who were satisfied with the rigor of my guarantee.  

 

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