I started off as a child, and was quickly transformed into a rockhound. I've had a love of rocks for as far back as I can remember, which nowadays, isn't all that far. Time to upgrade the RAM? I guess 256K just doesn't cut it anymore.
I grew up in San Francisco as part of a close knit Russian community. Yes, I still speak, read and write Russian. Perhaps that skill will come in handy when I start traveling to Russia again someday, this time in search of mineral specimens. I've had the pleasure of traveling to Russia 10 times, while serving as the US Forest Services, Russia Program Coordinator. More on the Forest Service later.
I'm not sure what it was that got me into rock and now mineral collecting? Perhaps it was a trip to the Klamath River (in Northern California) with my friends the Turkulls. It was a wet dreary trip, many, many years ago, but we managed to find a number of nice pyrite specimens, which I still have to this day. Possibly the trip I took with my Mom and sister to the Grand Canyon (when I was twelve) where I got to see rocks of just about every color imaginable under the sun. I've still got the souvenir rock collection that I purchased there.
In any case, my tastes have changed over the years, as have my spending habits. I used to think that spending $100 on a rock to be quite an investment. Well, how times have changed! Allow me to expound. When I decided to begin my own mineral business, I had what you might call, a revelation. Listening to some sound business advice from a Weaverville friend who started me down this path, I decided that in fairness to my future customers, I'd have to focus my future collecting endeavors, so as not to unintentionally compete for mineral specimens with them. What do I mean by this? OK - I'm getting to my point. Bare with me as I ramble on from time to time.
I started off by saying that I was natural born rockhound. As I've increased my knowledge of mineralogy, my tastes and collecting habits have changed (for the better I hope). Up until a few years back, I was a general collector but have "refined" my tastes to focus specifically on one species - Rhodochrosite. My goal is to eventually have a pretty good collection of Rhodo specimens from all around this great world of ours. I admit it; I'm a Rhodo nutt and am proud of it.
Once I get better at presenting mineral specimens for your viewing pleasure, I thought I'd share some of favorites Rhodochrosite specimens with you. For now, I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to read about my business and myself.
By training and profession, I'm a forester. I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!) in 1980 and currently work for the US Forest Service in California's Regional Office, on Mare Island (Vallejo, CA). It's a great job - one that I love. As much as I love my day job, I love mineral collecting just as much.
In any case, to steal a line from one of my favorite San Francisco bands, "What A Long Strange Trip it's Been". I make this promise to you, my fellow rockhounds; is that I will do everything I can to bring you quality mineral specimens at affordable prices. I'm learning about the wonderful natural world of minerals and mineralogy every day, and plan to keep reading and absorbing as much knowledge as I can, to serve you better. The way I figure it, the more I learn, the better I'll be able to provide for you. At the moment, we try to travel to Tucson and Denver every year and hope to expand the number of our mineral purchasing trips, as our schedule permits.
For now, sit back, relax, and get that mouse movin' and clickn' and check out my site. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to getting to know a number of new rockhound friends. If you ever have any questions, feel free to drop me a note and don't be shy.
(All the Best)
Andrei V. Rykoff
January 24, 2005
Updated October 1, 2013
Updated January 3, 2014