How can I be assured that I will be pleased with the specimen once I receive it?
All specimens are sent “on approval”. We realize that seeing it on the web, no matter how well photographed, is not the same as “in hand”. We guarantee you will like the specimen or you may simply re-package it and post it back (we suggest insured) for a full refund of the purchase price if received in the condition in which it was shipped.
Why isn’t the specimen the same color it appeared on my monitor?
Taking digital photographs under artificial lighting creates a unique challenge for color reproduction. Certain minerals/colors, like dioptase or fluorite, are notoriously difficult with their deep greens or aqua blues. We evaluate what appears on our monitor against actual color, and, on some occasions, will color correct to make the specimen picture appear as close in color to actual as possible. Bear in mind that every computer has a unique combination of color card and monitor, so that what we see may not be what you see. If we feel the color is off at all we will mention this clearly in our description, so you may consider this in your decision making process.
The specimen is much smaller than I thought it was, why?
Pay close attention to the dimensions we post in the description. All measurements are in centimeters, and there are about 2.54 centimeters in an inch. To further aid you, we use the sizing convention description of thumbnail (up to 3cm), toenail (3-3.5cm), miniature (3.6-6.5cm), small cabinet (6.6-7.5cm), cabinet (7.1-11cm) and museum (11.1-infinity!).
How do I judge the luster of the specimen?
A: We make a specific effort to describe the luster in familiar terminology (vitreous, silky, satiny, glassy, matte, etc). Luster is often not captured well in photographs, as light reflectance and intensity play off the angles or smooth surfaces yet are absorbed in deep vuggy areas.
How do I judge the condition of the specimen?
Condition is directly related to value. It is often dictated by the hardness and cleavage properties of the specific mineral. Quartz specimens are difficult to ding, but calcites or selenite will bruise with minor bumps against harder objects. We speak of flea bites (tiny missing fragments),bruises(small impact points),rubs(slight surface abrasion),dings(apparent damage from impact),cleaves(missing crystal faces or corners from cleavage)etc. The likelihood of a damage free specimen is directly related to the difficulty of removing it from the pocket or vein and the hardness of the matrix surrounding it. For this reason, some minerals from certain localities may be nearly impossible to find without at least some minor damage. We make a concerted effort to note any damage on the specimens. For pieces that are more expensive, we actually review them with a 15X loupe. If you have any question at all about condition, let us know before purchase and we will examine the specimen at a level that will satisfy your concerns.
What if my specimen arrives broken or does not arrive at all?
We pack specimens professionally and understand the abuse they may experience in transport. For specimens valued over $200 we insist you pay for insurance. For specimens under $200 value it is your option. Damaged packages should be photographed to show the package condition and the resultant damage to the specimen. We will file insurance claims and, upon collection, refund the receipts to you. Do NOT ship the specimen back until the claim has been satisfied! For missing packages, we ship all USPS packages with delivery confirmations. In most cases, if you use PayPal, we use their shipping for transparency. If we receive confirmation of delivery there is nothing else, we can do. If delivery confirmation is not verified, we will file a claim on insured packages. Uninsured packages run the risks of damage or loss at the buyer’s expense.