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Rob Lavinsky
(1972-    )

Robert Matthew "Rob" Lavinsky, proprietor of The Arkenstone mineral dealership, was born December 13, 1972 in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Richard Lavinsky, an attorney, and Marilyn Rosen, a dental hygienist. He began collecting calcite at age 13, with the support of many mentors in the Columbus Rock and Mineral Society, including Carlton Davis , field collectors John Medici and Henry Fisher, and dealers Neal and Chris Pfaff, among others. He competed with his calcites (which he still owns) for the first time at age 18 in the Berea, Ohio show. He eventually expanded his scope to collecting United Kingdom classics, Sweet Home mine rhodochrosite, and worldwide classics. As a field-collector he dug for minerals in the dolostone quarries and roadcuts throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky (Halls Gap millerite), Ontario (Bancroft), and various other localities.

Rob received his BA degree in Biochemistry and History from Rice University in Houston, Texas (1995), and went on to earn his PhD in Molecular Genetics at the University of California San Diego (2000). The first time he formally sold minerals as a dealer at a show was in 1986 (at the age of 14) at the Columbus Show. During the years from 1986 to 2001 he gradually bought and sold more specimens, becoming a part-time mineral dealer by degrees, and finally becoming a full-time dealer after graduation, in 2001. His first business name was simply "Rob Lavinsky Minerals," until 1994 when he changed it to "The Arkenstone" (the name of a fabulous gem in Tolkein's Lord of the Rings trilogy).

Rob feels that his major contribution has been to help move the hobby of mineral collecting onto the internet his business went online ( in 1996, and was among the first to do so. He has also actively sought ways to spur education and interest in old classics and rarities through the venue of the internet, and sells selected reference works via his website. In 2006 he gave a lecture on the "Impact of the Internet on the Mineral Hobby" as part of the summer lecture series at the Seaman Mineral Museum in Houghton, Michigan, and later gave an expanded version as a headline talk at the 2007 Rochester Mineralogical Symposium.

Although he has been in business full-time for just a few years, he has handled the sale of a remarkable number of important collections, including all or part of the collections of Dr. Edward David, Marshall Sussman (Tsumeb specimens), Gary Hansen, W.H. Leithauser, Willy Israel (Tsumeb minerals), Dr. Eric Asselborn, Carlton Davis (thumbnails), Irv Brown, Carl Turner, Mike and Mary Jaworski (pyromorphite), Martin Zinn (the rarities; over 500 specimens), Marilyn Dodge (thumbnails), Ed Ruggiero, Richard Hauck, Sam Nasser (thumbnails), Violet Dawson, Jim and Marjorie Ferguson (Tsumeb collection), Peter Bancroft, Miguel Romero (Mexican minerals), Lindsay Greenbank, and (in 2011) Herb Obodda.

The new mineral species lavinskyite was named in his honor in 2012.

Rob lives in the Dallas area, Texas; he may be reached by e-mail at
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2020)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
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The Mineralogical Record - Rob Lavinsky Rob Lavinsky
The Mineralogical Record - Rob Lavinsky Rob Lavinsky's first business card, from the late 1980's when he was a teenager dealing from his parents' home.
The Mineralogical Record - Rob Lavinsky 52 x 90 mm,
ca. 1994-1995
The Mineralogical Record - Rob Lavinsky 53 x 93 mm,
ca. 1996-1998
The Mineralogical Record - Rob Lavinsky 52 x 90 mm,
ca. 1996-1998
The Mineralogical Record - Rob Lavinsky 43 x 73 mm,
ca. 2003-2006
The Mineralogical Record - Rob Lavinsky 47 x 73 mm,
ca. 2003-2006
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