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Under short wave UV, a scheelite crystal with quartz fluoresces a strong blue-white color.
Photo courtesy The Arkenstone,

Overall enthusiasm and interest in the mineral hobby has slowed since the halcyon days of the 20th century. There are many reasons for this.

Young people are more involved with technology now. The federal government has diminished opportunities to rockhunt. Schools have oft en shied away from the earth sciences to make room for more social subjects. The immense supply of fine minerals that poured from mines in America and Mexico in particular, has dramatically diminished. Minerals from other nations have increased, but so have costs. The hobby that grew so dramatically after World War II has aged and so have its enthusiasts. Most of the collecting hobbies – stamps, coins, and the like – have also suff ered over time. People are far more interested in acquiring the latest video games and other digital entertainment.

All this has reached across the entire spectrum of the mineral hobby. Opportunities to collect minerals and to work with lapidary equipment are less often available. There are fewer shows and mineral-related events for a variety of reasons. Even the number of clubs where such opportunities are available have diminished. The American and Regional Federations of Mineralogical Societies, which at one time sponsored some of the most important mineral shows in America, are struggling. Their membership has dropped and sometimes the Federation even has trouble finding a local club or suitable show site to sponsor a Federation Show. Certainly attendance at these once-leading shows has dropped off.

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Rock & Gem March 2019, Special Section : Tools of the Trade, Answers to Agate Questions, Prehistoric Texas : Home to Mammoths & Dinosaurs, And More.....