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This profile was last updated on 12/10/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Rob Lavinsky

Wrong Dr. Rob Lavinsky?

President and Founder

Phone: (972) ***-****  HQ Phone
Email: r***@***.com
The Arkenstone
P.O. Box 830460
Richardson , Texas 75083
United States

Company Description: The Arkenstone,, is one of the world's foremost dealers in fine mineral specimens. What started in the 1980s as a side business for founder and owner...   more

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations


  • PhD , Molecular Genetics
    University of California San Diego
  • Ph.D.
  • doctoral degree
    UC-San Diego
  • doctoral degree , Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
    University of California-San Diego
  • PhD , Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
    University of California-San Diego
  • B.S. , Biochemistry
    Rice University
87 Total References
Web References
Visit with the staff of The Arkenstone, 10 Dec 2015 [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.
Rubellite Photo Credit: Rob ..., 15 July 2015 [cached]
Rubellite Photo Credit: Rob Lavinsky, - CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
kernite Colemanite Photo by Rob Lavinsky of
In 2001, Robert Lavinsky was at ..., 4 Mar 2006 [cached]
In 2001, Robert Lavinsky was at a crossroads. He had just finished his PhD in Molecular Genetics at University of California San Diego. The obvious next steps in his career path were in academia or research. That had been the plan, after all. But since middle school, he'd been skipping class to run a secret business on the side. It had only gotten more and more lucrative as time wore on, and now he was weighing whether to dive into it full time. To put himself through grad school he had been dealing rocks and crystals.
No, not like Breaking Bad. Lavinsky was selling actual rocks and actual crystals.
As a child, Robert Lavinsky collected and traded rocks and minerals because he loved them, but he never thought he'd make it his life's work.
"When I was a kid, I looked at how mineral dealers made a living, and it was a peripatetic (nomadic) life," Lavinsky says. He remembers older men going from show to show every week, living out of their vans. "There just wasn't enough money in minerals in the mid-80s for most people to make a good living. You made a living but not a great living."
So, he continued his minerals hobby, but chose a career path in science. Then, when Lavinsky was in college, he started dealing minerals online before anybody else did. And that changed everything. It changed enough that when he got his PhD he decided to give minerals, "a few years," as his full time gig. "If it doesn't work out," he remembers telling himself, "I'll go get a job in biotech. Now the industry has grown by orders of magnitude - at the highest end, pieces that used to sell for $10,000 are now selling for over a million. And Lavinsky and his company, The Arkenstone - which he named when he was 14 for the ultra-precious stone the dwarf monarch pursues in The Hobbit - are the reigning kings.
Rob Lavinsky with two of his children at the Dallas Zoo's Nature Exchange.
When Robert Lavinsky, Ph.D., was a young boy, he developed a passion for minerals. By the time he turned 16, he was attending rock and mineral shows and made his first significant purchase - a $1,000 purple fluorite crystal on a barite matrix. His mother was furious! But Dr. Lavinsky persuaded her to let him keep it and years later, created The Arkenstone and, successful businesses built on mineral and fossil collecting. He hopes to inspire youth to pursue their interests in science and he has donated interesting mineral specimens to the Hillcrest Foundation Nature Exchange at the Lacerte Family Children's Zoo for many years.
"I find the tactile and three-dimensional experience of owning a rock or holding a fossil to be a thrill," Lavinsky said.
Dr. Rob Lavinsky, president and founder of and, was the first to bring a mineral-selling website online in 1996. He has handled a number of important collections, and has watched mineral shows and online auctions grow and expand for hobbyists, curators, collectors and investors alike.
Dr. Lavinsky regularly emphasizes the art and science behind rocks and minerals.
Dr. Rob Lavinsky, owner of ..., 1 Sept 2012 [cached]
Dr. Rob Lavinsky, owner of The Arkenstone, suggests you "decide whether your goal is to be an investor of pieces that are of value, or a collector of pieces you love; sometimes you can do both, but articulate what your goal is."
Visiting the Huanggang Mine - Dr. Robert Lavinsky and Xiaojun (John) Chen
Robert Lavinsky, owner of ..., 28 Mar 2015 [cached]
Robert Lavinsky, owner of The Arkenstone, shows minerals and gems Friday at Ildiko Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, by Ildiko Varga's paintings.
Robert Lavinsky doesn't deal in works by Picasso, Rembrandt or Monet. In fact, don't expect to see any signature on the exotic pieces he displays - they were created millions of years ago by powerful geological forces.
"It's nature's art," he said last week as he prepared for his first Palm Beach show at the Ildiko Contemporary Fine Art Gallery on North County Road. "People call it God's art if you believe in God."
High-end art is often more than just a way to add class to a home or office - it can be a desirable investment vehicle. And Lavinsky, through his company, The Arkenstone, has been pursuing that avenue while promoting his pieces at museums and trade shows around the world.
He also wants people to appreciate the science behind the business, how the minerals and crystals are formed and how rare the most dramatic discoveries are.
He talks rapidly and excitedly about the pieces he sets out for display.
Lavinsky joked: "She's a brave woman to let me exhibit rocks."
People are familiar with the value of gems but less so with the value of the original crystals they are cut from. "What we're trying to teach people is that the crystals are worth more than the gems," Lavinsky said.
It is "one of the most expensive objects in the entire universe of mineral specimens," according to Lavinsky.
Lavinsky began collecting fossils and rocks by the side of the road when he was growing up in Ohio. He started selling some of his more interesting finds at the age of 13.
He launched The Arkenstone as a side business in the 1980s, working with hobbyists and collectors, and eventually building it into an international company with offices in Dallas and Shanghai, China. His company hosted the first mineral-selling website in 1996.
Careful removal
Some of the most stunning finds come from mines in China because the Chinese are less prone to using heavy equipment to get material out of the ground.
"American mining is very mechanized," Lavinsky said. "You wouldn't hear people say, Let's take a break to check for crystals. But in places like China you will hear them say, 'OK, I see a crystal - let's take a break.' "
It takes time and care to remove the crystals from their positions in the Earth, where they might have been formed 10 million years ago or more by heat and pressure. "They form in a crevice or a space and just sit there waiting to be found," Lavinsky said.
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