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Robert Matthew Lavinsky


The Arkenstone

HQ Phone:  (972) 437-2492

Email: r***@***.com


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The Arkenstone

P.O. Box 830460

Richardson, Texas,75083

United States

Company Description

Rock and Mineral Specimens for collectors and museums ... more.

Find other employees at this company (29)

Background Information

Employment History

Undergraduate Student

Rice University


Columbus Rock and Mineral Society





Rice University


Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

University of California-San Diego


Molecular Genetics

University of California San Diego

doctoral degree

UC-San Diego

doctoral degree

Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics

University of California-San Diego

Web References(93 Total References)

Visit with the staff of The Arkenstone [cached]

Dr. Robert Lavinsky, founder of The Arkenstone,
Dr. Robert Lavinsky, President and Founder A collector from the age of 12, Dr. Robert Lavinsky first started participating in mineral shows at the age of 14. He initially planned to launch his career in molecular genetics and received his doctoral degree from UC-San Diego, but his passion for minerals led to a career change. Rob realized the potential to move the mineral world online and became the first mineral-selling website online in 1996. Since then, he has been a full-time dedicated mineral dealer and recently had a new mineral, Lavinskyite, named after him. Mineralogical Record - Rob Lavinsky Dr. Robert Lavinsky - Who's Who in the Mineral World

The Arkenstone - Fine Minerals from Robert Lavinsky [cached]

What started in the 1980s as a side business for founder and owner Dr. Robert Lavinsky has now turned into an international business with offices in Dallas, Texas and Shanghai, China.

The Arkenstone - Lavinskyite Introduction [cached]

Lavinskyite, named in honor of Dr. Robert Lavinsky, sole proprietor of The Arkenstone,
A new mineral species was found in the Wessels mine in the Kalahari Manganese Fields of the Republic of South Africa, and it has been named in honor of Dr. Robert Lavinsky, founder of The Arkenstone, in recognition of his contributions to the field of collectible mineral specimens. Dr. Lavinsky has been an important figure in the growth of the fine minerals hobby.

The Arkenstone - Video Clips [cached]

Dr. Robert Lavinsky wins the Madonna Rose Quartz from Heritage Auction's fine mineral specimen auction event in June 2013 showcasing minerals from the Hoppel Collection. 2008 Munich Report: Rob Lavinsky - The Arkenstone Join Our Mailing List

Who’s Who in Mineral: Dr. Robert Lavinsky | iRocks Blog - [cached]

It is named in honor of Robert Matthew Lavinsky, the founder and manager of The Arkenstone in Dallas, Texas.
Lavinsky has donated important mineral specimens to the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Arizona, and other institutions. Lavinsky recognized that some of the specimens he was bringing back from South Africa might be new species and provided the samples on which the description of lavinskyite is based. Lavinskyite was named after Rob Lavinsky, the founder and owner of The Arkenstone. Robert Lavinsky was born 13 December 1972. While still a youth, he was "found" by Carlton Davis collecting fossils by the side of the road in rural central Ohio (Carlton, a well-known collector, was a member of the Columbus Rock and Mineral Society). A young Rob Lavinsky appeared in Chris Pfaff's "Mineral and Fossil Enthusiast" publication. Selecting and sorting such specimens from their finds taught Lavinsky a lot about quality and value. Many days they sat sorting minerals and gluing thumbnail specimens to toothpicks, while watching Star Trek reruns on television. At shows in Ohio, he would run around looking for bargains to trade or buy and then sell his "finds" from card tables in the "junior dealers" area of those shows. His first $500 mineral specimen was from the Rocksmiths, who, in the mid-'80s, let him save up a year's worth of "swap dollars" to buy a special Indian apophyllite. At first Lavinsky tried collecting everything, but he quickly focused on calcites and even started exhibiting at local Ohio shows. A harsh judging at the Berea (Cleveland area) Show admittedly reduced him to tears and convinced him that his talents were not in labeling or organizing an exhibit case at that time! The mineral hobby transitioned from summer collecting to a business after Lavinsky went to college (and to his first Tucson Show) in 1991. During his sophomore year at Rice University, he realized that in order to graduate while doing science research work in the evenings, he would need to support himself through his hobby instead of getting a "real job." As an undergraduate student at Rice University (a BS in biochemistry and a minor in ancient civilization), Lavinsky was conveniently across the street from the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Joel Bartsch, museum curator at the time, introduced them, and between Lavinsky's high school Russian classes and Belakovskiy's rough English, they became friends. Between classes, Lavinsky sold from the tables, wheeling and dealing with the specimens. As a college student with fast computer access (for that time), he started some of the first email swap/sell lists before the days of websites. This enabled him to sell to dealers and collectors he had known since his childhood in Ohio, from the show circuit. However, he made his first large deals with the Fersman Museum, and he was hooked as a dealer, in hindsight, even if it took a few years to sink in to him what was obvious to others. He spent a lot of time visiting collections and learning from collectors, who became his friends and customers, but the early deals with the Fersman really set him on a new road. Before moving to San Diego for graduate school in 1995, Lavinsky created his own website - the largest and one of the first websites with a purposefully made broad catalogue listing prices and showing the values of contemporary collector specimens rather than more common things for the public. Rob was propelled by the volume he was selling on the Internet to become a "Main Show" dealer at Tucson. Despite the lure of dropping out to become a mineral dealer, Lavinsky earned a PhD in Molecular Genetics ("Genetic Engineering") in 2000. While writing his doctoral thesis and with a child on the way, he realized the life of a postdoc working in a science lab was suddenly not quite as attractive. He debated whether to go into biotech or work at home as a mineral dealer. He chose the latter-and never looked back. Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium Since those early Tucson days, Lavinsky has been a dealer in the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show™ (TGMS) for twenty years; he has promoted the TGMS and its educational opportunities on his website and encouraged junior collectors with monetary awards for their exhibits. To build on the educational aspect of the hobby, Lavinsky (in close partnership with Gene Meieran) started an annual mineral symposium in Dallas that now attracts hundreds of collectors for a mineral immersion weekend; he also signed on to help with Thomas Nagin's PBS television show, Mineral Explorers. Another of Lavinsky's projects was to be a sponsor of The World's Most Precious Treasures, a reality television show following gem tanzanite from the mine to the market in Tucson; it was made by French National Television in association with the gem company Cartier of Paris. In addition, he organized and planned the Chinese Crystalline Treasures exhibition at the University of Arizona in 2013 in conjunction with partners at the university. The book on the exhibit (published by the Mineralogical Record but funded by Lavinsky) is really a short introduction and primer to collecting fine minerals in general; it was published in Chinese by the Hunan Provincial Government (the first officially authorized and translated U.S. mineral magazine issue of any kind in China). He has taken the educational mission in China very seriously. Locally, Rob has worked with the Dallas Zoo for ten years and the Garland Public School District for six years, by introducing the Nature Exchange program, an initiative that brought minerals to many children in the area through a trading "shop" that involved them learning through acquisition. (Read our blog post about the Nature Exchange program!) He is an avid source and donor of rare species for research to many museums, most notably the Smithsonian and the University of Arizona's RRUFF project for systematic mineralogy, where he is a board member. Rob sees his contribution to the field as, despite his dealership, more in the distribution of information to show people why we love what we love.

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