First of all, what does it mean to collect minerals?

Mineral collection is the hobby of systematically collecting, identifying and displaying mineral samples.

Individual collectors often specialize, for example, by collecting different samples of the same mineral, minerals from a particular country, minerals belonging to a specific crystalline group.

Sigmund Freud

Psychologists who have tried to explain the unconscious motivations that move collectors to collect the most disparate things often refer to the Freudian theory according to which collecting would be dictated by the need to have "an object of desire".

According to Freud, desire arises when something is missing that has been a source of gratification for the person. The satisfaction of desire is a psychic action that tends to reconstruct an original object that has been missing. Desire does not find satisfaction in the object itself but in the memory traces (dispositions that are reactivated when there is an adequate indication or stimulus of recall) linked to it.

Muensterberger believes that collecting is a "need-driven compensatory behavior, in which each new object effectively gives the notion of fantasized omnipotence."

According to Jung, however, collecting would be an unconscious idea inherited collectively, universally present in the individual psyche and, therefore, present in our collective unconscious as men. Using this logic, collecting would descend from our ancestors' need to collect and set aside food (such as fruit and berries), behavior once necessary to survive.

Mineral species

From a more practical point of view, in general, those who collect minerals do so for a series of reasons that can be summarized in these four categories:


Minerals are aesthetically pleasing, appearing in various shapes and colors. They show themselves as geometrically perfect crystals and ordered crystalline arrangement or they are irregular in shape and take on disordered and extravagant structures.

This is probably the reason most people initially approach mineral collecting.


A first practical reason is that you can build a satisfying mineral collection even with limited budgets. Collecting minerals is less expensive than collecting, for example, vintage motorcycles. Furthermore, it is possible to house a collection of minerals while having limited spaces and the maintenance required to keep them is minimal (except for some particular species). It should be added that the collection can be dismissed relatively quickly when you decide you don't want to collect anymore.


Those who understand the geological processes and natural forces that lead to the formation of a mineral can, looking at a specimen, review and study the geological history that led that specific mineral to have that shape, that hardness or that color.

This type of collector is interested in the quality and intrinsic rarity of each mineral sample and evaluates not only the aesthetic aspect but also the gemological properties.


Many people are interested in the metaphysical qualities of minerals. This type of collector is interested in the spiritual properties and healing properties of crystals. These collectors "listen" to the crystals, trying to perceive the vibrations they would emanate or the sensations they are able to evoke.

Here are three of the finest private mineral collections in the world.

Salim Eddé, Behirut

More than 1750 pieces representing around 380 different species from 65 countries are beautifully displayed in the MIM Museum. You can only imagine how much time and patience went into this incredible selection of minerals by the collector himself.

Salim Eddé from Jim and Gail Spann, Rockwall

Over the past 13 years, Jim and Gail Spann have built an incredible collection of minerals with their passion.

The Spanns possess some of the rarest minerals on Earth masterfully displayed in the rooms of their estate in Rockwall.

The collection boasts over 12,300 rocks and minerals.

Erika Pohl-Ströher, Freiberg

Erika Pohl-Ströher, Swiss by nationality, was born in Saxon Germany. Its collection included more than 80,000 minerals, precious stones and meteorites, built for over 60 years. It is possibly the largest private collection of minerals, precious stones and meteorites in the world.

In 2004, Ms. Ströher transferred more than 3,500 of her best pieces to the Freiberg Mountain Academy.

There is a sense of satisfaction that belongs to every type of collector, which awakens when you add a piece to your collection: the adrenaline of finding the next champion and the social pride when sharing your collection with other people. they are well known to those who like to collect the most varied objects.

Then, when, stopping to admire our collection, the carefree mind wanders, a sense of inner peace pervades us and we feel fleetingly fulfilled and happy.


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