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Ebay sellers listing minerals without mine or location

Posted by Anonymous User  
Anonymous User April 19, 2007 06:01AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2007 01:59PM by Craig Mercer.
Jon Ertman April 19, 2007 10:14AM
That is not the only problem,some of them take there time shipping minerals.
Debbie Woolf April 19, 2007 11:33AM
Is it really ebay's responsibility ? surely that rests between seller & buyer ?
I sell minerals on ebay with details in the listing of the location but I do not send labels with the specimen.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph April 19, 2007 12:03PM
You're absolutely right - it's not ebay's job to police this. But still, as a general matter, if I'm buying a $100 specimen on ebay, I would kind of expect a label to come with it, and if not I would think the dealer selling it was kind of an amateur. However, if I'm buying a $5 Arkansas quartz cluster, I wouldn't really expect that to come with a label.

When you buy a specimen on ebay do not expect to get any more information on locality than is already in the description. If it says "from Brazil", don't complain if the seller doesn't know where after you've bought it. If a dealer knows an accurate location then they'll put this in the description.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/2007 01:02PM by Jolyon Ralph.
Anonymous User April 19, 2007 12:35PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2007 01:59PM by Craig Mercer.
Debbie Woolf April 19, 2007 01:06PM
One must bear in mind very few ebay sellers have been to the localities outside of their country & therefore relying on the supplier.
Mark Willoughby April 19, 2007 01:09PM
Howdy All,

They say that those who live in glass houses, shouldn't throw stones!
I sell specimens on e-bay, but if I don't know enough about them to supply the correct infomation and a label, I don't list them.
Sorry, but I don't think you can say the same Craig, your listings often don't have localities, or 'guessed' ones.
Yes I can proove it. A friend in the UK bought what he was told was a Pyromorphite from Dundas Tasmania, when in fact it was from Blackwoods Open cut area of Broken Hill N.S.W.
Sorry to point out this, but.....

Cheers Mark.
Anonymous User April 19, 2007 01:32PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2007 01:58PM by Craig Mercer.
Harold (Hal) Prior April 19, 2007 01:56PM
I have sold over 1000 minerals on Ebay and have NEVER shipped a mineral without a detailed label often including historical tracking of the mineral. When collected, by whom, etc. I get many expressions of appreciation for the info provided. However, I have also received items purchased, rattling around in a box with no label of any type. For this reason I seldom buy from Ebay, except from those I have found to be reliable. It is not Ebay's responsibility to police the details of mineral buying - You can control it. If the information is not there don't buy - only the suckers will buy thinking the information will magically appear with the specimen. For those who buy from the unscrupulous types - P.T. Barnum spoke the true words! .....Hal Prior

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/19/2007 02:17PM by Jolyon Ralph.
MRH April 19, 2007 02:31PM
If the locale isn't listed in the aucton, and it's important for you know it (and I agree, it is VERY important, scietifically speaking), then why bid on the item at all?

Your hardly the first to complain about ebay auctions here, but frankly I get a little tired of all the ebay bashing done here when in reality the majority of these issues are primarily the fault of poor buying practices. If you don't know what your buying, then don't buy until you do. If you plan to learn as you buy, fine, but don't gripe about sellers when the errors in your own judgement or lack of judgement, is really to blame.

I've almost never had these kind of issues on ebay, even after 1000+ transactions over many years (a great resource for all kinds of materials which rarely get offered at shows). I'm sure there are "bums" out there, but I've rarely found myself doing business with one of them and I don't think it's just a matter of luck.

If acurate identities and locality info are important issues for you, first step would be to avoid sellers who regularly make metaphysical claims, and MOST asian dealers. It is primarily in these sectors of the mineral market that I find the majority of these kind of inaccuracies on mineral auctions. It is to be expected as these issues simply aren't major concerns for either sellers or buyers in these markets. It's not fair to hold these kind of dealers to the rigorous standards one would expect from scientifically based dealers, anymore than it's fair for them to expect the science based mineral enthusiasts to buy into metaphysical claims or place value based soley on aspects of feng shui.

Beyond this major hurdle, I would suggest you check a sellers other auction items for errors (a bad sign), their feedback, previous auctions and the "type" of buyers who've done business with them before. I will note that even the best of the scientificly based mineral dealers can make an error every now and again, and if they HAVE made one, most will "bend over backwards" to make it right with a buyer, because these issues ARE very important to them as well!.

Doing your own homework on a piece your interested in is a good idea. Although I know that isn't always possible, the galleries here are getting larger everyday, and it serves as a excellent source for visual comparison.

Mark Willoughby April 19, 2007 02:56PM
Hi again,

I just went to remove my e-bay name after reading Joylon's comment on another thread, but he beat me to it!
Just for the record for those who may have seen it, I wasn't trying to advertise my listing, rather just making sure that I was totally transparent with my comments and that I was willing to be scrutinised if need be!
Hope everyone is having a good day/night.

Cheers Mark.
Alan Plante April 19, 2007 02:58PM
I don't buy on eBay (mother Plante never bore such a foolish son...) but if I did I would treat unlabeled offers the same way I treat unlabeled specimens at a rock shop or mineral show: I would keep my wallet in my pocket and leave the rocks right where they are...

Now, it's true that there are a lot people out there who only view rocks, minerals, and fossils as aesthetic items - they couldn't care less where they come from so long as they are "pretty". And I have no objection to dealers who wish to serve that sector of the market. I simply don't buy from such dealers - they are not serving the sector of the market I'm a member of.

The problem is that for someone just starting out in this hobby it can be difficult to figure out which sector they belong to - and which dealers cater to their sector. The learning curve is pretty steep, though, and in no time new folks have figured out how the game is played.

So far as people buying unlabeled material goes, I think that if someone does so they have no cause to get upset about it - no one forced them to. And if a label is promised and doesn't arrive, why then, don't buy from that dealer again! I sure wouldn't...

Justin Zzyzx April 19, 2007 06:48PM
If you bought a specimen on eBay and then figured out that it was actually from a different better location, came with an old label and looked better than the picture...well, some wouldn't keep that in their memory banks longer than the $25.00 rock you bought that showed up a week late with no label.

eBay. It is an AUCTION site. While I agree that there does need to be some basic guidelines as far as fakes and whatnot,'s an AUCTION site!

And what's up with the whole speed up of shipping? How many of you remember the days of "Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery"? How come it is now "You need to send out my item TOMORROW". I used to list a LOT of auctions on eBay, but I just took over a month off and now I'm just getting rid of some bulk stuff before I move. But I doubt I'll ever really do eBay again, because wrapping rocks destroys my soul. I've got proof. I can't deal with this rapidly rotating world, spinning faster and faster. I'd like to live a little bit before I die and I certainly don't want to live for wrapping up rocks!

If you want to KNOW what you are buying and feel SAFE...well, there are DOZENS AND DOZENS of quality mineral dealers that have their own WEBSITES, set up at SHOWS and those are the kind of people you should expect to have next to no problems with! Buy from them if eBay makes you unhappy.
Chris Stefano April 19, 2007 07:19PM
Everybody likes to bash Ebay, but I see very little differance between buying on Ebay and at shows, except that the selection is better on Ebay. If you go to a show, there will be good dealers and bad, same on Ebay. As a buyer, you are actually better armed to find out which is which on Ebay. Look at feedback, not whether they have positives or negatives, this is more or less meaningless, look to see how many repeat customers they have had, noone gos back to someone who has screwed them. As has been noted previously, if they don't include locality in the description and you care, ask, and if they don't have it, don't bid. If you buy like an idiot, you will get screwed, just as fast at a show as on Ebay. If you are new to buying on Ebay, I'm more than happy to share the IDs of sellers who I trust, and I'm sure others who buy on ebay would be happy to do this for you as well.

robert knox April 19, 2007 07:34PM
Let me just say that I LOVE E-BAY!!! No it's not perfect... and on occasion I don't receive exactally what I expected, but on the whole I think it is one of the best assets of our age. Having a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week rockshop at my disposal for "window shopping", education and buying is like a gift from heaven. The list of friends and acquaintances I've made and the additions to my collections are amazing.
I think the secret to a satisfactory relationship on e-bay is good communication. If labels are important to you than by all means write to the sellers if they don't specifically mention including one. The same thing goes for locations, sizes, associated minerals, or any other particulars that are of a concern.

Justin Zzyzx April 19, 2007 11:41PM

I think that this tread didn't belong in this category anyway.

No label does not equal a Fake, a Fraud, or a Marketing Ploy.

Perhaps General? Or Scrapbook? Or out the window.
Anonymous User April 20, 2007 12:02AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2007 01:58PM by Craig Mercer.
Alfredo Petrov April 20, 2007 12:14AM
Justin is right: selling a mineral without a label doesn't turn a natural mineral into a *fake* mineral; and it doesn't seem to be a very good *marketing ploy* either (one would think the seller could sell more minerals WITH labels than without); so that leaves *fraud* - and technically it's only fraud if the seller promised a label and then didn't send it.

"False descriptions", as Craig mentions, might indeed be fraud, and are another matter entirely from "no label", if the seller deliberately gave a false description, but I fear that in many cases it is not deliberate but just ignorance on the part of the seller, who is just parroting whatever was told to him by the previous owner, without any investigation.

"Caveat emptor" is the best advice. Most people in this hobby are willing to help beginners, so why not ask more experienced people for counsel before rushing out to buy an expensive rock? (that's my advice whether buying at shows, from websites or on e-bay)
Chris Tucker April 20, 2007 12:29AM

Quite simply, if you bought something without a label, why not ask for one? If the seller does not provide one, why continue to do business with them? Likewise, if the seller does not pack things well, don't buy from them again.

As Justin noted, just because there is no label does not make it a Fake, a Fraud, or a Marketing Ploy. An incorrect item description is not necessarily fraud, people make mistakes. If the incorrect description or locality was intentional, it is fraud.

And finally, buy your minerals from a reputable dealer. Those that stand behind their material and will accept returns if you are not happy are certainly more deserving of your mineral dollars.


Jeremy Zolan April 20, 2007 06:14AM
I only bought 3 specimens EVER on ebay because there were pictures of the labels with the minerals and the feedback on the seller was 100%. The deals were also exceptional. Still, as a collector who is VERY particular about locality labeling, I only try to do business with dealers who I know personally. I don't give my money to just anyone, especially for something like a locality that can be faked so easily. Be cautious, be safe; ONLY BUY FROM RELIABLE DEALERS!

-Jeremy Zolan
Colin Robinson April 22, 2007 10:04PM
I only just found this thread and can't believe it really got started. If you want labels and accurate provenance why would you buy from someone who couldn't offer them? Having sold thousands of specimens on ebay and with my 100 percent positive feedback still intact I'm well aware that there are many different markets for minerals out there. Some people like pretty things, some go for the supposed metaphysical properties and some are obsessive about detail. If I collected it myself I know exactly where it came from, otherwise I rely on what I'm told by whoever I bought it from. Some of my listings are precise, some are vague. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
Joe Polityka April 23, 2007 01:26AM
Please give me your comments. I started buying specimens on ebay about 4 months ago and have since stopped buying. I have been collecting minerals for about forty years and have a collection of about 1,000 specimens, of average to super quality. I collect mostly miniatures to small cabinet sized pieces. I had good experiences with several dealers and they should be commended: Scepterguy and Amethyst Lady, thank you.

Here are the problems I see with ebay:

The specimens look a lot worse in person than they do in the photos. One guy stated, in the description that the specimen looked a lot better in person, he lied.

Specimen size and crystal size are exaggerated. some guys measure across the specimen from opposite corner to opposite corner. This is accurate if the specimen is cubic in shape, however, if it is rectagular the measurements are inaccurate. Measure a 3 by 5 card from opposite corner to opposite corner and you get a measurement of 6 by 6 inches. I challenged two guys on this and they told me I was wrong even though I had the misrepresented specimens in my possession. One guy told me the specimen had crystals to 8mm. I searched all over that specimen and could not find one crystal over 2mm. I guess the 8mm crystal evaporated during shipping.

Localities are misrepresented. Some contemporary specimens are palmed off as coming from classic localities. If I see another Chinese pyromorphite being labeled as Phoenixville or Roughten Gill I will scream. There is a lot of junk being offered. If you are going to state that pyrite came from Elba, there had better be some hematite attached to the crystal.

Generally, there is too much misrepresentation on Ebay to get me to waste anymore time bidding.

I have had good success on auctions being run by dealers on their own websites
and will continue to bid on those auctions. Of course, I will occasionally go back to my favorite dealers ( two or three) on ebay and check out their inventory.
Alan Plante April 23, 2007 02:28AM
Hi Joe

The only way you can avoid the problems you've described is to only buy from dealers you know and trust: I think this holds true for any type of on-line or mail order operation. If you don't know who you are dealing with you can't know what you'll get until it arrives.

Needless to say, if someone takes a chance and is disappointed - especially AFTER a dealer has failed to address complaints - its time to move along...

Wouldn't it be great if there was a website dedicated to listing "vouched for" dealers?


Albert Mura April 23, 2007 02:34AM
Hi Joe I agree, you really have to be careful on ebay. However, I do want to correct one thing you said. I am a pyrite collector for 30 years and pyrite from Elba does not have to have hematite although many of them do. There were a number of individual xls found in a greenish clay that do not have hematite. If you look at the recent publication on Elba (Extra Lapis, English edition) you can see other pyrites without hematite. Al
Matt Neuzil April 23, 2007 02:37AM
you could always just buy them from a reputable dealer. I have never had a problem on ebay and i've made many purchases.
Anonymous User April 23, 2007 02:47AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2007 01:57PM by Craig Mercer.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph April 23, 2007 10:46PM

Please try to be more polite on this messageboard.

Neil A. Richards April 24, 2007 07:56AM
One interesting matter that has been over looked in this thread; is that some buyers because of Customs legalities in their particular country, prefer that no label or identification be sent with their mineral purchases. I have one buyer in Brazil who clearly states to me that he wants no labelling with any mineral or gem item. If he purchases a rough tourmaline from me and it is labelled, it is thewn considered by Brazilian Cumstoms to be a gem, and the tax he must pay to clear it through cumstoms is significantly high; a $20 buy on e-bay suddenly becomes a $60 buy because of the duty he has to pay. I am also noting that there are now buyers, particular in the Europe and the UK, who do not want any label sent with their item. As Dr Rob Lavinsky does, he sends labels separately from the item itself to avoid such concerns. We must all educate ourselves when dealing with folk in other lands; that their laws may be rather different from our own.
Aymeric Longi April 25, 2007 09:00AM
what a funny thread ! Nonsense !
Dealers can't always be sure of the location, that's a fact, as they often rely (beside their own experience of course) on their providers whose knowledge is not always encyclopedic. When I go restocking in Pakistan, I can be given different origin for a same material, from one seller to another. I remember about an Afghan Amethyst lots who was claimed as being from Kandahar, then from Bamyan, until I recently saw a specimen on sale labelled as from Badakhshan. So what ? who's to be believed ?
I've seen several times mislabelling in high end websites for Afghan or Pakistan minerals. So yeah, don't bash on ebay sellers, because even the best and most respected ones can make mistakes.

This label thing... a name and location written on a tiny piece of paper is not always proof of origin (seller can be given unaccurate data by his provider). The garantee to know what one buys comes from ones experience, bas.
I don't ask for label whenI buy on ebay, but would I need them, I would just print my owns...

Cheers !

Anonymous User April 25, 2007 10:11AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2007 01:57PM by Craig Mercer.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph April 25, 2007 11:18AM
Again, Craig.

Buying on ebay is NOT the same as buying from from a reputable dealer (of course, there are many reputable dealers selling on ebay - but that's not the point).

Ebay has allowed anyone to set themselves up to be mineral dealers - and many people with little or no serious knowledge about minerals are selling stuff without being able to give the backup information to customers that they deserve. It's not the fault of ebay, it's simply an inevitable consequence of the fact that ebay makes it easy for anyone to sell.

When shopping for anything on ebay or other auction sites you really need to be aware about what you're buying. If the description says it comes with a label and it doesn't then that's fraud - otherwise it's just the way things work on ebay. If you don't like it, don't buy.

Anonymous User April 25, 2007 11:56AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2007 01:56PM by Craig Mercer.
Tony Peterson April 25, 2007 12:12PM
I'm having difficulty understanding why anyone would get exercised over labels. I've purchased countless specimens on eBay and now have a pile of labels lying uselessly in a seems to me that most dealers treat them as an opportunity to put their name, email, and web address on them, as advertising. I maintain a database of my specimens and print my own labels as needed, e.g., when I off-load stuff at a local show. I have been selling petrological specimens for some weeks now and my customers are grateful when I can provide a lat-long, air photo, or published report on the locality. Not once has anyone asked me for a label. When I purchase minerals on eBay, I am generally careful to be sure that the locale is specified. My experience....dealers who take crummy photos of their specimens, are the least trustworthy in all respects. If they take pride in what they do, it shows in their listings.

Anonymous User April 25, 2007 12:23PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/02/2007 01:55PM by Craig Mercer.
Alfred L. Ostrander April 25, 2007 04:23PM
Hello All,

Most of us with a lot of experience in minerals know some of the problems with labeling and "ghost localities" given to protect the real location from exploitation or protect a source from anyone else finding it. I have bought many specimens through the years that fall into this category. Just look at the thread about cactus amethyst from Magaliesberg here on this forum. I think that is a bit different than slapping locality information on an unknown specimen because it looks like other specimens from the given locality. Still, both are innaccurate and accuracy in labeling should be a goal we all strive for. Then there is the practice of claiming a piece came from a location because specimens from the listed location are more valuable. When done knowingly, this practice really is fradulent as it is done to increase the selling price of a less valuable specimen.

Seperating ebay out from other sources probably isn't very fair to those on ebay trying to make an honest living or bring in some extra income. Many are very fair and honest. Just like any other marketplace, you have unscrupulous dealers and fair dealers. Ebay is just a very big marketplace where you can view a lot of dealers in a very short time. Some of the more dodgy dealers just manage to stick out more obviously and blatantly because of the nature of the venue. Try surfing the net and you will find many good and bad dealers out there. It just take more time doing it this way than scrolling down through a list on Ebay.

Best Regards,
Al O
Anonymous User May 02, 2007 01:23PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/18/2007 10:34PM by Craig Mercer.
Debbie Sprouse May 18, 2007 05:45PM
I buy and sell on Ebay and have a lot of fun with it. My main reason for selling is to get more gas money to go somewhere else and get more stuff I really don't need. My listings give the location and species. I do not generally include a label as the listing says it all. If there was an older (not my) label with a piece, I include it. I do label thumbnail boxes, though, and would be happy to make labels upon request.

I don't care if the stuff I buy comes with a label, as long as it's described correctly. I make my own labels for my little collection.
Anonymous User June 09, 2007 12:04AM
I realize this may sound stupid but I have to ask why you buy specimens? For me the thrill is in the hunt of finding my own specimens, and of course they're never fabulous like those sold on Ebay or at gem shows, at least not yet.
And if you do buy specimens what purpose do they serve? As pretty knick knacks? I guess I can see buying a big beautiful eye-popping specimen (if you could afford it) just for show, but why do people buy those tiny little pieces in the clear plastic boxes? I admit I go to the shows. I buy equipment and jewelry there at bargain prices, and I love to look at the specimens, it's educational for me. But please explain the scientific purpose of buying specimens from specific localities.
Alan Plante June 09, 2007 02:58AM
Hi Tracy

I think that whether one totally self collects their specimens in the field or expands their collections by purchasing things they might never have the opportunity to collect is a personal one that we each have to make. For some the *thrill* is in the variety and beauty that its out there in the Mineral Kingdom - not just in the "chase and capture in the field."

For me the quest is as much about the science as it is about the specimens - I enjoy studying minerals to learn about their compositions and associations with other minerals and rock types, their geology and geochemistry. As an example, there is an area in Greece (Lavrion Mining District) that is among the most prolific producers of different species on the planet. Some of the minerals found there occur nowhere else on the planet. And the only way I can satisfy my drive to learn about minerals from that area is to obtain specimens through purchase or swapping.


Robert Meyer June 09, 2007 08:08AM
This is one of several interesting threads I have read of late on Mindat. I have not had time to contribute to the forums for some time, but I do follow them. I have to express my disappointment, though, with what I consider a deteriorating level of opinion that has been expressed in many of the discussion forums on Mindat. Perhaps I am being a resister of change, but I seem to recall more vibrant discussions of interesting mineralogical topics in the earlier days. Many of those contributors seem to have disappeared. This particular thread seems to contain an ample quantity of limited thinking that seems particularly troubling and has been surfacing more and more in the forums. Recently, I have seen other threads where similar two-dimensional thinking, at least from my standpoint, has crept in. For example, in one thread that was discussing the silly practice of selling fragments of quartz as Atezulite or some such tripe one step above snake oil, a contributor was admonished for not being tolerant of "religion." I might ask that person why the words "tolerance " and "religion" should be used in the same sentence given even a brief glance at the current world situation, and also how tolerant a person needs to be in the face of stupidity.

As to eBay, my comments are strictly those of a mineral buyer, and not as one indebted to any of the "established dealers," so I am free to speak my mind.

Here is my comment: For the knowledgeable mineral collector, eBay represents right now, and has for the past couple of years, the best period of a buyer's market I have seen in about 40 years of collecting and purchasing minerals.

This has been a heyday from the buyer's perspective, but I want to stress the knowledgeable part. You have to know what you are doing, which admittedly takes years. I will also stress the part about eBay being a buyer's market, in contrast to other venues, which are often seller's markets. I am a buyer, which should I prefer?

On eBay, collectors have the chance to contact people around the world who are not necessarily mineral collectors, or those who know much about mineral specimens, but who somehow have inherited or obtained collections. These are the very people that the established dealers seek out and purchase collections from at 10 to 20 cents on the dollar, but now we buyers have the chance to buy from the original sellers direct without the mark-ups. Sometimes the photographs are poor and the descriptions are lacking, but most sellers will answer questions or offer some return policy. I have made some great friends that way, by asking questions and offering advice.

There are also many reputable mineral dealers on eBay-as well as some bad ones. Largely, my experience in obtaining specimens on eBay has been exceptional. I set myself a few simple rules. First, consider the risk. How sure are you that the description and locality are accurate, that the photographs depict all relevant features, and that the seller is reputable? As my level of certainty drops, then the price I will bid drops. I risk only what I think is warranted. Some bets have paid off, and others have been a bust, but the busts never amounted to a significant amount of money. Second, I don't buy from any seller that mentions metaphysical properties even in passing (except in a joking fashion) as a part of the description, nor do I purchase from sellers who offer lab grown crystals that are sold using a mineral species name. Mineral species names should be reserved for naturally occurring crystals. I would not object to a seller offering copper sulfate crystals, but would object if they were sold as chalcanthite, especially if a locality, such as Poland, was attributed to the piece. Lab grown copper sulfate is not chalcanthite, because chalcanthite is a mineral species, and every definition of mineral species I have seen includes some aspect of "natural occurrence." The reason for this rule is that I believe some sellers enable these buyer behaviors, without subscribing to such beliefs themselves, but go along with what amounts to deception in order to facilitate their sales. This is not a trait of a reputable seller.

There are actually many very good mineral dealers who are regular sellers on eBay, and who offer a wonderful level of customer service. I will relate one story concerning a mineral purchase: I bought two specimens on eBay from a regular eBay seller, who also advertises on Mindat. Before the parcel was sent out, a resident feline at the seller's residence knocked one of the pieces off a table, and the piece was broken. This seller was very apologetic. He completely refunded the purchase price and shipping charges for both specimens, and still sent them to me free of charge, including the undamaged piece. Even the broken piece was still quite nice, and now consists of two nice thumbnails. In addition, he extended a generous discount on the future specimen of my choice as a part of his well-written letter of apology. One rule of buying: the best gauge of a seller's worth often comes when things did not go as planned. How does the seller make up for the lapse? This is the true test of customer service and this seller came out looking very good indeed.

In contrast, I recently purchased a specimen from a non-eBay dealer, via his website. This dealer is NOT one of the mainstream dealers who are featured prominently as advertisers on Mindat, although he is listed on the Mindat directory and he features some 2000 pieces on his site. The specimen was represented to be two different species, murdochite and pyromorphite, but the specimen that was sent had neither. Murdochite is fairly distinctive, and this piece was egregiously misidentified and misrepresented. The piece that was sent was essentially worthless, and if I was asked to appraise it, the value would not be more than a dollar. This seller, in contrast to the example of the eBay seller above, was not apologetic at all and refused to refund my money. Instead, he would offer "store credit" for the purchase price alone if I sent the piece back at my expense. Either way, I would be out shipping both ways, despite the fact that he did not send me even close to what I ordered. Now, how do you think I would feel about this seller had he instead treated me like the seller from eBay I mentioned in my first example? Instead of reviling him as I now do, I would think he was a reputable seller and would probably buy from him again. Which is the wiser choice for a mechant wishing to stay in business?

Concerning the practice of labeling minerals I have a few comments: Ideally, every person who possesses a specimen for even a short period should make a label, which should list the collector's name and place (town) of residence, species names, locality, and preferably a brief description. That label, along with all other preexisting labels, should be kept with the specimen, and should accompany the specimen at the point of de-acquisition. These labels often are the only documented history of a specimen's provenance. If properly cared for, mineral specimens will typically survive longer than people will. Thus, it is our jobs as collectors, or perhaps stewards is a better word, to preserve the specimen's history. Some mineral dealers will deface labels or discard them, which is a disservice to the hobby. Once aspects of a specimen's history are lost, it is very difficult at the least, and usually impossible, to reestablish that information. On eBay, it is often true that specimens are sent without labels. Usually, this can be chalked up to the aforementioned sellers, who are unknowledgeable about best practices in the mineral collecting hobby. Occasionally, a seller who should know better will send a piece without a label. I recently mentioned this lack to one seller, who got the message and sent a hand written label with the next specimen I purchased. Ultimately, though, the labels are supporting documentation for the specimen itself. Thus, if you obtain a superb specimen that does not have a label, you still have a superb specimen. Alternatively, a poor specimen with a label is still a poor specimen. Concerning the accuracy of the specimen's actual provenance, the lack of a label does not inherently call that into question. That is because labels themselves can be wrong, and often are.

Now, my rant almost through, I feel the need to address the question asked above as to why anyone might want to purchase mineral specimens, because that collector's thrill is in finding specimens. I would ask, in response, another equally valid question: why collect minerals at all? Most people don't feel the need. The fact is, though, that you enjoy finding specimens, while others might be interested in the mineralogy of remote localities, such as the exotic selenium minerals of the El Dragon Mine in Bolivia, or in those of defunct localities, such as the Mammoth-St. Anthony mine that ceased operations in 1953, or Tsumeb, which ceased operations more recently. Most of us would not want to go that far, and we don't have time machines to visit localities of the past. I have noticed this rift between field collectors and those who purchase specimens in the past and I do not encourage it. Instead, I would suggest that you both field collect and purchase (and trade) specimens to enjoy a greater richness of experience in the realm of the study of minerals.
Alan Plante June 09, 2007 11:42AM
Dear Robert

I think that the phenomena of "low quality posts" - so-to-speak - has been mostly on this Fakes & Frauds forum.

It is kind of the nature of this forum to come to it to question shady things and have them offered up to the derision of the people who frequent the board. And this ends up almost invariable fanned into flames when someone has what - to us as intelligent people "in the know" - is the nerve to come here and actually defend such shady practises. It's a sort of knee-jerk: "Who the heck do you think your talking to here?"

As to this period in time representing the best of a buyer's market in venues such as eBay, I do believe your right - but only, as you note, when it comes to the truly savvy mineral buyer. The "rube," on the other hand is being parted from his or her money like a sheep going through the shearing pen. I personally don't wish to support this by being involved. My oft-stated "Mother Plante never bore such a foolish son" could also read: "Mother Plante never bore such an amoral son."


Anonymous User June 10, 2007 03:12AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/2007 07:12AM by Craig Mercer.
Don Saathoff June 10, 2007 03:24AM it.....
Anonymous User June 10, 2007 08:39AM
Geez Robert, please excuse me for for not being "in the know". Yes, I am a relative newcomer, sorry I'm not a geologist. I asked a question, and I did feel it pertained to the subject. Alan, who has infinite more patience than you, answered my question. Thank you Alan, I see the scientific reason now.
Many of us "unknowledgable" people use this site to learn. We all collect, and I find it interesting to find out why.
Because of my work hours I'm not able to take a geology course so I'm trying to collect from the different rock classifications. I want to not only find gems and minerals but understand how they were created. I live in a reasonably good area for doing so and I travel to places when I can. I have not reached the point of trying to learn about gems/minerals only available halfway around the world. When and if I reach that point I now understand why knowing as close to precisely where the sample came from would be important.
Alan Plante June 10, 2007 09:20AM
Hi Tracy

The problem is not whether or not a person is "in the know" but rather what the come to use this particular forum (Fakes an Frauds) for. Educating oneself is a positive thing. Trying to argue - lets say - that jacking up the price of poor quality quartz and selling it to gullible people under some trumped-up New Age name at those highly inflated prices is a bad thing. It's unethical. And also just plain stupid to argue here. Its like swimming into the sharks mouth, because we are "insiders" enough to know with a clear and certain knowledge that all such a person is trying to do is defend an unethical practice. It can't be done, and the persons who try don't seem to understand this.


Anonymous User June 10, 2007 09:53AM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/2007 07:15AM by Craig Mercer.
Alan Plante June 10, 2007 01:44PM

Craig: You have got to be one of the most petty and disagreeable miscreants I have ever run across. Your nothing more than a blow-hard jerk without any socially redeeming values. Not one.

I happen to be recently home from hospital, where I spent two weeks being poked and prodded, stuck and bled, tested up the Kazoo and diagnosed, then sent back home with marching orders for what will be the last few months of my life. I have cancer: terminal. Given my circumstances, I can only hope there is some small spark of humanity in your being and you will understand why I have not the slightest attention of dealing with you again. So post to Mindat all you, but don't expect me to read or reply to anything you write: So far as I am concerned, you are dead already.
Anonymous User June 10, 2007 02:02PM

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/2007 07:14AM by Craig Mercer.
Anonymous Ebayer June 10, 2007 07:51PM
After seeing so much ebay "bashing" I simply cannot hold my tongue any longer. As an ebay seller I feel I owe it to those of us who make up the growing number of "good" ebayers. Below is basically just a "stream of consciousness" resulting from too much coffee...

I just want to say that - like many of you have pointed out there are good sellers and "bad" sellers out there. Before you buy anything look at the seller's feedback, and beyond that you can also contact recent buyers and get their detailed opinions/info. Also look at the ratio between the number of unique feedbacks versus total feedbacks - this is a good indicator of whether or not collectors are happy and making repeat purchases.

I love selling on ebay and take great pride in what I do. Over the years I have seen more and more really fantastic dealers of the finest standard of trustworthiness, fairness, respect, and are - simply put - great people.
As an example, I will share with you some of my business philosophy - just to let you know that there are indeed people on ebay that really care about what they do...

Now, as with any retail business - ESPECIALLY this business - it is simply an inevitability that there will be a problem with a transaction. Sometimes it is beyond anyone's control (i.e. postal issues, etc.) but a good seller will do everything in his power to minimize these risks by shipping with insurance, tracking, etc. The proper packaging is should also be of utmost importance and the seller should package specimens using the very best materials AND METHODS so the parcel can withstand the worst possible handling one could imagine.
Beyond that, numerous, detailed photos should be provided in addition to accurate measurements and an in depth description noting all relevant information possible.

This is the best a seller can do. However, if a problem arises or a specimen is returned, how this situation is dealt with is the true measure of a seller's commitment to their customers. In the rare instances when such things occur I go to EVERY possible length to ensure that the customer is not only happy but BEYOND happy to the extent that they are more happy than they would have been in the first place - and are anxious to do business again. Such examples include giving refunds of up to 150% plus free gifts, significant credit and discounts on future purchases, or ANYTHING else they might desire instead! Nothing is more important to me than my customer's happiness for it is this that has made me a success. I recognize that they can choose ANYONE to do business with and truly honor and appreciate their business. As such, I feel it is my duty to guarantee their happiness since they are, the people to whom I owe my living to!

I strive to provide the best minerals at the best prices and have often sold specimens worth hundreds of dollars for less than $50. However, I am looking to make long lasting relationships, not fast money.

So, in closing, I'd just like to let all of you people that see ebay as a haven for unscrupulous scammers and unethical frauds that there are some really great dealers out there as well. If you do a bit of homework you can find those people and, even better, the amazing finds and bargains that you won't find anywhere else!

I know I am not the only one out there...

Dismissing Ebay is just like dismissing a particular Mineral Show - it doesn't make to much sense does it?

Anyway, thanks for listening....


Anonymous Ebayer
Robert Meyer June 10, 2007 09:54PM
This post is for Tracy.

Sorry if my comments seemed like I was jumping down your throat. Actually, it was another contributor's comments that had set me off and I did not slow down enough by the time I got to your question.

It is certainly no crime to be a newcomer or even to know nothing at all about minerals. I think it is great that you have discovered the fascination of collecting minerals. I share that fascination. My suggestion is that buying, trading, and field collecting will provide you with a greater richness of experience than just any one of these activities would alone. I agree that beginners to the study of minerals can benefit from taking part and reading the forums. I would expand that to say anyone interested in minerals, at whatever level of knowledge, can learn from the message threads. Additionally, my comment about limited thinking did not pertain to newcomers; limited thinking means having a narrow outlook, not limited knowledge of a subject. These are two very distinct things. Limited knowledge simply means you are ready to learn; we are all in that boat. Narrow outlook is, well . . . regrettable. That's my opinion, for what it's worth.

I agree with you completely on one of your comments. Mr. Alan Plante is much more patient than I am. I have noticed that he is a very patient person from his contributions to the message board. That is intended to be a sincere compliment.

Jolyon & Katya Ralph June 10, 2007 11:37PM
Normally I don't allow people to post messages anonymously, however "anonymous ebayer" was simply trying to put a point across without it appearing as an advertisment - and I appreciate that. Thank you.

Alan Plante June 11, 2007 02:09AM
Dear eBayer

You make good sense and legitimate points throughout your post. You come across as just the type of auction salesperson the mineral community should be patronizing - honest and concerned about the needs of his/her clients. Quite frankly, I don't think the issue of "eBay-Bashing" applies to you - or vendors like you - in the least. It is just too bad that people like you get caught in the cross-fire when negative issues arise. You shouldn't.

Alas, the problem-bashing (whether with eBay or any similar sales site) that arises on this particular Forum dedicated to "Fakes, Frauds & Marketing Ploys" is a *Nature of the Beast* sort of thing. This specific Forum exsists to help members of the mineral community avoid getting caught in the talons of the less-than honest vendor, wherever he or she may be operating in the intermess. It only stands to reason that people being exposed for various sorts of shady dealings are likely to show up here and try to defend what may, in fact, be indefensible practices: Practices that simply ARE shady. And when they do this we end up with controversy. Also, it seems that - for whatever reasons - eBay gets "picked on the most." I'd bet me bottom dollar that their are "fleece shops" out there where much worse shysterism is happening; but they just don't seem to come to light here at Mindat very often. Perhaps it is an economy of scale thing - eBay being so big that their are just more shysters scuttling around their trying to fleece the public.

All that having been said, I realize that I am probably one of the most vocal "Anti-eBayers" at Mindat. This is because I feel the venue is so fraught with pitfalls that it simply isn't worth the trouble it takes to learn how to thread that needle's eye safely... :~{


Alan Plante June 11, 2007 08:52AM
Dear Robert,

"Aw, shucks! You'll turn my head!" :~} But thank you kindly for the compliment.

Actually, my patience with people who truly desire to learn comes from a long history of having learned from others - various mentors who have taken me under their wing and shared their own wealth of knowledge and spirit with me freely. It was at some point during my college years that I came to understand how truly generous and kind-hearted they were - just such GOOD PEOPLE. And I resolved then and there to "pay it forward" as my way of acknowledging my debt to them.

That said, I know full well that I can be one cantankerous SOB - and hell on wheels when pushed to it. I do not "suffer fools gladly." Nor do I tolerate obstructive behavior when sharing knowledge is supposed to be the order of the day.

At any rate, I try to do what I can to help people who want to learn about minerals and geology. I'm repaying an old debt...


JerryC June 11, 2007 10:47AM
Huh. I remember the "good old days" before ebay and the internet, when the only way for most of us to collect was local rock and mineral shows and a few rock shops and an occasional dig. I was "ripped off" buying from dealers just as much then as on ebay. I don't mean the rocks were fake, only sometimes mislabeled, when there was a label. The difference is, now I can do some homework before purchase on the same internet that gives me access to specimens at an affordable price I could only dream of back then.

Like many others, any specimens with labels I receive now just have the labels tossed in a drawer. Labels are obsolete in today's world of digital photography and spreadsheets. I take several good quality photographs and record detailed information and print one hard copy for safety. Additional information appended as needed. Should my collection be sold in the future, that is the information that will accompany the specimen. Not some yellowed tiny square of paper.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph June 11, 2007 11:08AM
Jerry, the problem with your approach is that the "yellowed tiny square of paper" is (discounting deliberate forgery) proof of the origin of the specimen into your collection. You may note down that you bought it from XYZ dealer, but maybe you got it wrong, maybe you typed into the wrong row on your spreadsheet. The original label may not be as convenient in this digital age, but it belongs with the specimen.

JerryC June 11, 2007 02:01PM
Jolyon, you of course have a point, in that some specimens have a history and it's easy to lose vital information about origin that can never be recovered. If you want to make a case for at least scanning the label to include in the information, I'd have to say that would be a good idea.

But really, labels have always been a poor way to keep track of information. It's just that there was no better way at the time. They were prone to getting lost and switched around and deteriorate. In a display case, the label is often bigger than the specimen. Now, if I acquire something off the internet, I begin tracking the history by saving and printing the actual page off ebay, picture and all, and putting it in a folder. The little slip of paper from, say, Pebble Peddler that has name and location typed on it isn't needed.
Vinny Ramirez June 11, 2007 04:54PM
Let the buyer beware!!!!
Anonymous User June 13, 2007 03:16AM
While I see the reasoning now for buying still for me I personnally wouldn't since I wouldn't know which are fakes. In that respect I find these boards very interesting.
Robert, I was not trying to create a "rift". Your apology and 2nd explanation are noted. Thank you.
Alan, I am truly sorry to hear your news. For what it is worth I feel you have done an excellent job of "paying it forward". Your name has been well known to me for many years (even before I got bit by the rockhound bug) as you were a "local" person.
Karsten Eig August 02, 2007 02:08PM
IMHO, there is little difference between eBay and other markets: Fakes and mislabellings are everywhere. I have seen my fair share of clear fakes or errors on shows as well. In the end, there is no subsitute for knowledge, on which minerals occur where in which types of geology, what they are worth etc.
Anonymous User August 02, 2007 02:21PM
Hi Karsten,

Yes I agree with what you have said knowledge is the key but on ebay you are buying a picture and some writting it just makes it that little bit more difficult to see the true colour, shape and texture.

Karsten Eig August 02, 2007 04:10PM
Sure, Craig, but if you know your rockhounding, geology and mineralogy you are less likely to be caught by impossible claims, stuff that clearly are fakes etc.

I havn't traded on ebay yet, but when I start, I will apply these rules:
- Only buy stuff I know something about, and then buy the best
- Demand scales and good pictures
- No claims about spiritual fluff, "very rare, good natural specimen" or stuff like that
- All costs clearly stated or told me by seller in advance
- Seller identity, behind pseudonyme, preferably known
- Check sellers other items - any suspicion on tricks and out he goes

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/02/2007 04:12PM by Karsten Eig.
Stephan Wolfsried August 02, 2007 05:39PM
I think its time for outing me as an Ebay buyer (and former Ebay seller).
Sure there are some things to be taken into account: Many Ebay sellers are not really experienced in minerals. But that has also chances for buyers.
When I get e.g. 40 items I can really collect 10. 10 are to good to throw away, I donate them to mineral collector friends. The Rest I throw away.

My problem is lack of time, and many of the items I got there I wouldn't get in an either way. All Furkabasistunnel items with Aeschynite, Kainosite, Synchisite are aquired with Ebay. Also my Milarites from Val Giuv. All shown here on mindat. The Synchisite-Killer for 1.99 €. So whats wrong with that?

Those for whom that is too unsafe in a single transaction point of view arent forced working with Ebay.

Cheers Stephan
Kristi Hugs August 11, 2007 06:14PM
Robert :) I always enjoy your posts. They are well thought out (even though you call them ranting) and usually look at every side of the issue. So, thank you :)

Alan, I love you and appreciate you so very much. Thank you :)

Craig--please go take some classes that will teach you respect for others. While everyone is entitled to their opinions, your posts carry not one iota of intelligence but instead it appears you work very hard at putting down others. I only hope that as you mature, you will see the error of your ways., I do not sell on Ebay but I have met some amazing and integrity filled vendors there. I do not think it is right to judge the whole by a growing few bad apples.

I do have a metaphysical website and I do list properties. These are because my customers prefer it. However, I invite anyone to visit the site and if I am incorrect in an identification, I would love for you to share that knowledge. I try to stay true not only to my metaphysical clients, but to the geological ones as well :)

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts here. It is the best "university" that I have ever attended :)
Karsten Eig November 10, 2007 11:22AM
My adventure on ebay ended before it started...I found that bidding there is too time consuming. And part of the fun with minerals is finding them myself, or swapping - one get a much more close relationship to the specimens then, when they all have a story to tell....
Allen Steinburg January 17, 2008 11:25PM

Those are good rules to follow. I have sold a few specimens and bought a few on Ebay and Ebay is not my first choice for either. As a seller,make a point of supplying ample information to the buyer and be honest. So buyers may ask or even demand the exact location that the specimen was found. I have no problem with that as long as the request isn`t a roadmap to the location that you dug out the specimen. Some locations I may not want others finding and cleaning it out. For the most part I will provide the county and township for the person.
Chester S. Lemanski, Jr. January 18, 2008 12:37AM
I do not buy minerals on E-bay. In the past I only purchased from known dealers (The Rocksmiths and other reputable dealers). My wife purchased a few specimens from unknown dealers (really just "sellers"), relying on the descriptions provided, and we were both very disappointed with the items when received.
Justin Zzyzx January 18, 2008 09:41AM

Just don't buy anything, eBay or otherwise. Who needs STUFF?
Allen Steinburg February 02, 2008 05:41PM

When purchasing a specimem on Ebay, or anywhere for that matter,CAUTION and KNOWLEDGE is paramount. Concerning Chinese dealers of minerals or anything on Ebay,for my part the operative word is "DON`t". I have reported a few dealers to Ebay on the grounds of fraud and have had some results. Questionable selling practises are not limited to Chinese or Asian sellers however. One so-called emerald dealer in Miami Florida is another example. His Ebay site displayed some very good looking emeralds and at a very cheap price , so out of curiosity I purchased some. What I recieved way nothing short of worthless gravel of VERY low grade emerald. But that was expected.

Nothing can replace going into the field and collecting your own specimens whenever possible. Sometimes this cannot be done and you should only purchase from a reputable dealer. Experience and recommendations from others will guide you to them.
Christian Auer February 02, 2008 07:00PM
Allen Steinburg Wrote:

> Nothing can replace going into the field and
> collecting your own specimens whenever possible.
> Sometimes this cannot be done and you should only
> purchase from a reputable dealer. Experience and
> recommendations from others will guide you to
> them.


I have sold 1000s of micros through Ebay, got not even 1 negativ feedback (which is a real challenge sometimes) and bought not 10 specimen on Ebay. My name was wulfmaniac -think some will remember me. Had several customers who waited eagerly every sunday evening when my regular auctions started (20-30 auctions per week over 6 years).

I quit due to lacking of time and material. But it was interesting to meet so many ppl worldwide and to see the cultural habits. I learned to treat a German different to an US American or a Japanese. Could write a book about it :-)

The reason I didn`t buy much myself was that I`m too specialised. You can`t get easily an Austrian rarity on Ebay.
David H. Garske February 02, 2008 08:16PM
I am one of the dealers who is listing minerals without a given locality! Recently I acquired several hundred specimens from Dr. Sidney Williams which had been in storage for years. Rats had eaten part of the labels others had crumbled, some didn't have all the information, others would only have a partial locality, such as "Hunter Canyon". I listed a few specimens to find that there is a market for specimens without couplete information, so I continue to list them. Should I throw away specimens that have been lab verified, but don't have the locality data? Today I'm listing mendozavilite without locality data, not on the label.
If you are unhappy about lack of data, don't purchase the specimen! I usually include as much data as I can on my label, including variety, associated minerals, locality and prior owner's history.
I also sometimes screw up and lose the original label, or list the wrong locality on my listing, Everyone makes mistakes sometime.
Might mention that over the years I have received a lot of misidentified/mislabeled specimens from various sources, and try hard not to pass on the mistakes when I resell them.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph February 02, 2008 08:32PM
I'm not entirely sure what problem the original poster had, but it's pretty simple - if you don't want to buy something you don't have to!

Allen Steinburg February 03, 2008 03:44AM
Jolyon is quite correct in what he says. If a person wishes to sell on Ebay and clearly states the problem with labeling as David Garske mentions, then it is up to the buyer to accept the conditions or to decline. No one is twisting the prospective buyers arm.

Enough said.
Möller Sebastian February 21, 2008 07:18PM

I sell (privately) and buy minerals on eBay. But I mostly collect local/regional in some German areas like the Black Forest or Kaiserstuhl and I've collected in Saxony. Most of the specimen's localities I know for sure, because I've visited them myself. But I have also some other minerals I've bought years ago at some mineral shows or swapped them with other collectors. When I don't know the locality I write that in the description given. If someone doesn't like to have such a specimen, he doesn't have to buy it!! Ebay is only a auction platform. Decisions have still to be made by the customer.
When I buy specimens, I look for the accurancy of the description. If you're collecting only in distinct regions, this won't be any problem.


Sebastian Möller
Rock Currier March 27, 2008 11:53AM
Reading through this thread and the posts by people irritated and outraged at some of the fraudulent, foolish and misinformed descriptions of items for sale on Ebay reminded me a bit of my youth. I took great delight in exposing fraudulent and dishonest behavior. For some years I subscribed to a publication that was run by people centered at the California Institute of Technology. They had a little magazine they put out where they documented the bogus claims, mostly of people claiming paranormal abilities. These include the likes of firewalkers, well witchers and people that claimed to bend spoons with their minds. They had a group of people that would go out and confront these people and prove that they were charlatans. This was their equivalent of field collecting. This went on for years and one day I realized that it would never end because on one hand it was the nature of a small percentage of people to engage in this behavior and on the other hand there were other people who wanted to believe in it. At that point it seamed that life was too short to spend trying to protect others from their natural inclinations. If it gets too blatant, well, that is what we have laws, police, courts and jails for. Young people seem to get more excited about borderline unethical behavior than older people. Is exposing unethical behavior worthwhile? By all means! But each person must decide how much time they have to devote to it. But, it will generally not profit you unless you are a news reporter and get paid for doing it. If you are a whistle blower in a large organization you will generally need to find another job, no matter how justified you are in exposing unethical or unlawful behavior. In some countries, exposing government wrongdoing can get you killed. Most of us, I think all love to see bad guys get their just deserts and this instinct is used to good effect in Hollywood movies, TV programs and crime magazines.

Yes, people want to believe in things not amenable to scientific measurement, like the 'healing powers of crystals’. This is just another examples of what Paul Kurtz would call the transcendental temptation. I run a large wholesale warehouse for minerals and related items and for many years our customers have asked us what powers or energy our various crystals have. I patiently explain to them that I am not aware of any special energy or powers that any of our crystals have. I try to steer them to Mineralogy by John Sinkankas. We also offer a few 'Metaphysical' books. Most of our new age customers know next to nothing about minerals, but they already have their minds made up about the 'power' that crystals have and we sell the metaphysical books several hundred to one over Sinkankas. It is very depressing. The new age component of the mineral is quite large and I wonder what our business would be today without it.
Uwe Kolitsch March 27, 2008 04:20PM
Wise words, Rock.
Paul Yih April 12, 2008 05:18PM
Sooner or later, with the open source today and onto the Internet -- I think many minerals will not only be sold just by name -- for those who care to put down the region of the mineral is from and maybe the coordinates -- and in today's Google earth environment -- all that can be done -- and this will keep most folks to be honest.

Some of the Brazilians may or may not have enough sophistication to do that -- but I think in the coming years -- much of these problem can be solved -- just the more of the information of the mineral and its location will enrich more collectors .

Ethics, ethics and ethics ------ It is still most troublesome in our business -- and on a daily basis .

no wonder young kids cannot learn .. or had no chance to learn -- :)
Scott Taylor September 01, 2011 03:28PM
Anybody can make a label, does that make something more genuine or authentic? I've bought minerals direct at dig sites and mines and they didn't come with a label. I bet most individual mineral specimens aren't labeled until they pass through a few hands. All a label really tells you is at some point in time somebody made one.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/01/2011 04:53PM by Uwe Kolitsch.
kalim ullah September 12, 2011 11:25AM
Agree wirh Mira Bai,
Under so strict rules of ebay buyer protection , how can a buyer is not fully satisfied , I am also a seller , do my best to discribe the items in pics , never use adobe for photo retouch , so that it looks very close to the reality , its dimension , weight etc , and further buyer can rufund also !!!!
Andy Klotz December 11, 2011 06:35PM
I agree that a label is not a certainty except the certainty of being a label. I have purchased many specimens with dubious labels. Its all part of the education and fun to use the resources of the internet like Mindat, to try and identify species and locations of misslabeled specimens. Real detective work.
Just started buying minerals on ebay a little while back and have had fun doing so. You win some and lose some with what you get but ultimately you put your self in for it like you would in any other buying situation if you don't ask enough questions.
Maybe one day a small pocket device will be invented like startrecks triquarter that can analize a specimens makeup precisely, and give its location. Untill then I shall use the knowledge and photos at hand and incresingly develope intuition, if thats not a new agey thing to say. By the way I thought all matter and energy vibrates to some frequency or other including the human. People have varying degrees of sensitivity in feeling the many different things one might choose to observe. I have experimented many times by laying out several hundred finger sized quartz crystals all pointing the same direction on the floor of a room and iviting different people into the room. So far most of them have comented after a short while that they felt a headache and a strongly anxious feeling while in the room that stopped after leaving the room. Curious stuff.
Its great to learn from so many different oppinions and experiences on this site.
John Kirtz December 11, 2011 10:18PM
Except for those self collected, accepting the details of any specimen seems to be a leap of faith. Obviously the closer to the source, the closer to the truth. The web, being what it is, does not instill much trust in me. There are many ethical folks who love sharing, but once the profit motive was introduced all information found on-line needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Like any other collectable, buy a mineral specimen for one reason, because you love it. Look at it. Like it? Buy it. Not very scientific but hey, just the opinion of an artist. The label issue seems simple. What you see is what you get. Believe it or do not. Good luck to all.
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