John Betts - Fine Minerals, dealer of fine minerals and specimens for mineral collectors.

       Mail-Internet sales only -  No showroom open to public.            

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#64547, Rhodochrosite, Dshairem Mine, Kara Oba, Kazakhstan (SOLD)

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News and Comments

When buying minerals via the Internet, there are many dealers out there ranging from poor to excellent. A customer asked me about another dealer and it started me thinking about the attributes you should look for when buying from an online mineral dealer. Here is a list of considerations:

  1. Look for unequivocal statement of condition or damage. Do not ASSUME anything regarding to damage. Just because a site doesn't say anything about a chipped crystal, you cannot assume the crystal is not chipped. If is is undamaged, the description on the site should say so. If it is damaged it should say so too.

  2. Avoid buying specimens with damage visible to the naked eye. Of course pristine mineral specimens are much more expensive. So there is a trade-off . You should assess how visible the damage is versus a discounted price.

  3. Do not buy at mineral auctions. Online auctions are watched by too many smart collectors, so there is little chance of sneaking away with a bargain. The real reason I don't advise auctions is that the price is set by you (and other bidders) based solely on the photograph - which can be misleading. You are better off buying from a web site where the mineral dealer sets the price, while holding the specimen in his hand and inspecting closely, then setting a fair price based on years of experience. The prices realized by one of the biggest Ebay dealers selling via auction are MUCH HIGHER than the prices I charge for equivalent specimens.

  4. Before you order a specimen, try to visualized the actual size of the specimen. Get out a ruler and sketch out the dimensions listed on the mineral specimen's description. See how big  it is compared to other specimens in your collection.

  5. Adjust the brightness and contrast of your computer monitor so you are not mislead about the specimen's color. I have a test image that I will send you with instructions if you are interested. Don't assume that because your monitor was set at the factory that it has been optimally calibrated.

  6. Look for a No-Questions-Asked return policy. This is a black and white issue, there is no middle ground. Either the dealer will accept any return or he will not. Avoid any that do not readily accept returns.

  7. Look for signs the dealer knows what he is talking about. I have seen other mineral dealers out there that don't know the difference between transparent and translucent. Needless to say his descriptions were poor and essentially worthless.

I hope these guidelines help you avoid costly mistakes..

John H. Betts, 4/28/2015

Click here to read past news and commentaries...


Click here to see other comments about this site by customers. Also add your feedback...

Customer Comments:

"While the dealer was traveling, he kept me informed about when he expected to ship the entire time. Item was VERY well packed, and as far as as TN'S go, it's a FINE one...exceptional quality and service." M.W.

"Good Afternoon Mr. Betts, This morning I while I was walking my dog I was pleased to find that the mineral specimen arrived! I must say that I was extremely pleased with how fast it showed up, as well as the quality of packaging and care taken to ensure the mineral remained safe. Everything arrived as intended, and I cannot thank you enough for the lovely mineral; it's even more splendid in person and I am eager to display it. I also enjoyed the mineral's tag that provides all the information about it! Once again, thank you for everything, I can see myself buying more minerals from you in the future. Sincerely, " Ryan Z.

"John, the specimen arrived today and is gorgeous. Your photos were good, but they did not do it justice. I simply cannot fathom how you manage to run such a high quality business. Your specimens are always excellent, exactly as advertised, your prices are very reasonable, you get the specimens out to the buyers very quickly, and you do all the photography, finance, and warehouse and delivery stuff yourself. In addition, you have many other activities, as indicated by your website. Amazing." Bob

"Dear Mr. Betts, Thank you once again! I am probably not the greatest buyer you have. I am on a limited budget and shop only every now and then. But the thing is you have such an amazing inventory even in the lowest price range that i cannot find any thing better in terms of value for the quality of the samples, the accuracy of the item's description to the highest level of service you provide. It is a great pleasure each time and a long lasting satisfaction with each purchase. Thank you!" Jean L., Québec, Canada

"I am very happy with the delivery and packaging of my order. The detailed descriptions almost din't do justice to the specimens but were a great aid in selection. I am searching for a few things that used to feature in my previous collections perhaps I may send a list." J. Hhall

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About the Owner

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See me next at:
April 23-26, 2015, Rochester Mineralogical Symposium

Pledge to My Customers:

Customer satisfaction is my primary goal. I pledge:

  1. New minerals will be added to this site every week.
  2. All minerals offered will be naturally crystallized specimens - no fakes, no dyes,  no irradiation, no crystals glued on matrix.
  3. Only the exact item pictured on the site will be shipped - no substitutes.
  4. Photographs will accurately represent each item - no exaggeration, enhancement or retouching flaws.
  5. Mineral species and localities will be accurately listed on labels with each specimen.
  6. All items will be shipped via US Postal Service, usually the next business day after the order is finalized.
  7. Each mineral will be individually wrapped and carefully packaged to prevent damage during shipping.
  8. All historic labeling, if available, will be included with each mineral.
  9. Returns are gladly accepted. No questions asked, no explanation necessary.
  10. All customer information will be kept confidential and never shared or sold.
  11. I will continue to freely share my knowledge with others and contribute to the study and appreciation of minerals.
  12. All mineral specimens have a lifetime guarantee: if the mineral specimen is ever tested, and I incorrectly identified the mineral species, I will refund the cost of the original purchase & shipping, the cost return shipping and the cost of the test.

 John H. Betts, owner
Mineral dealer since 1989


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564,233 mineral specimens sold, shipped in 19,422 packages to 41 countries.


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John Betts - Fine Minerals, New York, NY
a division of allminerals.com, dealer of Fine Minerals and Natural Crystal Clusters since 1989.

Internet sales only - No showroom

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