Rockhound Views: Dissecting Display Possibilities


Editor’s Note: The Rockhound Review is a space where guest contributors can weigh in on topics stirring within the rock, gem and mineral community or share their insights (serious and lighthearted) about a specific topic. The views shared here are those of the guest contributors. 

By Neal Behnke
San Diego, Calif.

So, picture rock week is over, it was quite a stunner, so many interesting faces and shapes popping out at us, kind of a real psychology and unnatural geographic magazine rolled into one.

This week we are poised on the break of what could be the most participated week of all time, “Show us your Display” and ‘Uncle Neal’ will give you a few tips.

Most of us have rocks, some of us have lots of rocks, and then some of us are far too busy bringing more home to even notice. So, the question is do we just dump them in the yard?

Heavens no, we display them!

A display is typically a large piece of furniture that can be made from exotic hard woods from Africa, highly polished using local oils by hand and carefully finished with special coatings to give years of use and presentation. These displays as a rule must be the largest item in the room, often a couch must be removed (this explains why one often sees couches in the road) and lit with extremely bright and hot lamps 24 hours a day. Not all rocks lend themselves to a display, usually displays are filled with museum quality pieces, something collectors spend years finding in exotic locales such as India, Burma or a museum rummage sale.

When arranging your specimens, do so carefully, knowing that once you have everything exactly the way you want it you can never change it. A display is meant to be seen, not touched, as oils from your hands or moisture will make subtle changes to the minerals that other display curators will note and secretly mock you.


This is the dirty little secret few talk about, but must be done two times a week. Dust if left will slowly make tiny little scratches in your rocks and crystals and will drive you mad. Use canned air carefully to move dust and cat hair or if you have used museum putty on all your minerals use a gas powered leaf blower. If you have rather large specimens make sure you place them high, this makes them more impressive and adds a level of fear to the viewer.

If you currently are considering using cement blocks and IKEA furniture of any type, it would be best just to keep your minerals in sealed boxes until you can afford a real display. If one cuts out at least two meals a day for a year, a dedicated rock hound can buy that display.


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