"Mineral Classics" - Dealing in fine minerals and gems for over 45 years! Online since 2002!


*** Welcome to Mineral Classics! Friday, September 18, 2020... Our database contains 2670 specimens, encompassing 182 species... Please be sure to check out our new fully searchable database feature (click on the Search Site button on the left side of the screen)

About Mineral Classics

"Mineral Classics", established in 1970, and located near Black Hawk, Colorado, is a leading company dedicated to supplying excellent quality mineral specimens to collectors, museums and anyone interested in the science and hobby of mineralogy. The company owner, Richard A. Kosnar, is a world renowned mineral collector and dealer. In 1993, a new mineral species, KOSNARITE, from Mt. Mica, Auburn, Maine was named in his honor for his contribution to the mineralogical community. He is extremely proud to have a pegmatite species, Potassium Zirconium Phosphate, from Maine bearing his name. (Ref: American Mineralogist, Vol. 78, No. 5 & 6, pgs. 653-656, May/June 1993). Kosnar is listed in The International Directory of Distinguished Leadership published by the American Biographical Institute, 1992.

Kosnar was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1946, and began collecting minerals and fossils as a youngster in June 1957. On May 5, 1963, he made his first trip to a Trap Rock quarry to collect Zeolites and associated species at the Upper New Street Quarry in Paterson, New Jersey (now extinct and built over). Kosnar developed a love for Trap Rock minerals and collected at various quarries in New Jersey from 1963 through 1971, including hundreds of trips to the Summit Quarry (also now extinct and built over) and the world famous Prospect Park Quarry. In November of 1963, he discovered the first Greenockite crystal ever found from the Summit Quarry. He also worked as the project engineer of the Route I-80 Roadcut, West Paterson Section, from August 1969 through February 1970, where Trap Rock specimens were recovered during the excavation for the new highway. Over the past 40 years Kosnar has continued to collect New Jersey Trap Rock minerals and has assembled and maintains one of the finest comprehensive collections of these minerals in private hands. While in New Jersey he also assembled a collection of fine, old, rare Franklin and Sterling Hill minerals.

In the summer of 1967, Kosnar collected purple Fluorapatite and various colored Tourmaline crystals at Mt. Apatite, Auburn, Maine. While there, he acquired what some consider to be the finest purple Fluorapatite crystal on matrix in the world. In 1968, he spent time collecting Tourmaline and Fluorapatite and associated species at the Pulsifer Quarry, Paris, Maine. He mined for gem Tourmaline crystals at the Gillette Quarry, Haddam Neck, Connecticut in 1968, as well as the Strickland Quarry, Portland Township, Connecticut for lilac colored Fluorapatite and Tourmaline crystals. Also in 1968, Kosnar mined the Slocum Quarry in East Hampton, Connecticut for gem Heliodor (golden Beryl) crystals and gem rough with the owner of the quarry, Al Slater.

Kosnar arrived in Colorado on May 5, 1970, where he met Clarence Coil and his son, David, who were longtime Colorado field collectors experienced in mining Amazonite from the Crystal Peak area. In July of 1970, Kosnar formed a partnership with the Coils to begin a very exciting Amazonite mining venture. Their first collecting trip together to the old Reeser claim resulted in a spectacular find of the darkest blue-green color Amazonite found at that time. After this great find, Kosnar decided to permanently move to Colorado in October 1971. Together, Kosnar and the Coils mined Amazonite every year from 1970 through 1986. During this period of time they discovered some of the finest color and quality Amazonite crystal groups ever found, in addition to Albite, Smoky Quartz, Goethite, Fluorite, and many rare species all of which were commercially mined at C. G. Coil Micro I Claim (1972), C. G. Coil Micro II Claim (1974), R. A. Kosnar Yucca Hill Claim (1975-1977), R. A. Kosnar Aspenwood Prospect (1985) and R. A. Kosnar Raspberry Hill Prospect (1986).

Kosnar began other mining projects in Colorado as well. From April 1, 1976 through August 1976, he mined at the Dixie mine in Idaho Springs for specimens of leaf and crystallized Gold on matrix. In 1977, Kosnar reopened the Sweet Home mine in Alma to mine specimen Rhodochrosite. During that summer he encountered Rhodochrosite, Hbnerite, Fluorite, Svanbergite, and the worlds best Goyazite and Stromeyerite crystals. Some of the other localities in Colorado where Kosnar has mined include the Calumet Iron mine for Epidote, Quartz, and Uralite crystals; Italian Mt. for Andradite variety, Topazolite, Vesuvianite, Clinozoisite, and Diopside crystals; and Mt. Antero for Aquamarine, Phenakite, Feldspar and Topaz crystals.

Living in Colorado sparked Kosnars interest in Colorado minerals. His exceptional private collection from Colorado localities includes a fantastic suite of leaf and crystallized Golds, Fluorites, and Rhodochrosites, as well as suites of minerals from Mt. Antero, the ore mines of the San Juan Mts. and the Leadville area, Amazonite and associated species from the Crystal Peak area, and many antique and rare specimens.

In 1976, Richard Kosnar and Harold Miller authored an article for the Mineralogical Record (The Colorado Mineral Belt, Vol. 7, No. 6, pgs. 278-307). It was the first colour photography issue ever published by the magazine, and over the years the sold out issue has often demanded record prices at auctions. In the mid 1990s, Kosnar also authored a series of articles about Colorado Gold and localities for the Italian mineral magazine, Rivista Mineralogica Italiana. The series of articles includes the histories of the areas with old photographs, as well as the mineralogy of the mining districts with many interesting illustrations of Gold specimens.

While hurricane, Ginger, flooded much of the southeast in September 1970, Kosnar mined in localities in North Carolina for Emerald, Rutile, Kyanite, and Rhodolite Garnet. He mined Sapphire, Ruby, and Garnet gem rough in Montana during the 70s and 80s, and many exceptional and commercial gemstones were cut from this material. In July 1979, several years before anything was available to the public from the Aquamarine deposits of the Sawtooth Mts. in Idaho, Kosnar organized a mining expedition there for some of the worlds finest colour gem Aquamarine crystals, as well as crystallized Topaz, Helvite, Spessartine, Smoky Quartz, and Feldspar.

Kosnar was in partnership with the late dealer, Walt Lidstrom, from 1972-1976 when Walt passed away. He has also had limited partnerships over the years with Dean McCrillis, Charlie Key, Clarence and David Coil, and Intercontinental Mining Corp. with John Saul of Paris, France.

During the 1970s, Kosnar made many trips to Brazil and imported several thousand mineral specimens, including three new species which were later named Whiteite, Mn-Whiteite and Zanazziite. In 1972, he also made a trip to the ore mines of Peru where he acquired and imported some of the very first specimens of octahedral Pyrite, Hbnerite, Enargite, Fluorite, and Orpiment to be brought into this country.

Beginning in 1976 and continuing to the present, Kosnar has imported many thousands of mineral specimens from Bolivia including the worlds finest plates of Venetian blue Vauxite crystals from Huanuni; some of the finest Bolivian Cassiterites from Viloco and Huanuni; incredible Paravauxite specimens from Llallagua; the worlds best Franckeite crystals groups and Andorite crystal specimens from the San Jose mine in Oruro; world-class Vivianite crystal groups from Morococala, Huanuni, Llallagua, and Chicote Grande; as well as the beautiful Japan -Law Twin Quartz crystals groups from Chicote Grande; and Ferberite specimens from both Chicote Grande and Tasna. From the world famous locality Cerro Rico in Potosí, Kosnar was able to acquire a spectacular 6 twinned Phosphophyllite crystal on matrix which is considered by some to be the finest mineral specimen in existence. Some of these specimens can be viewed in our Hall of Fame section of this website. Along with the world class specimens from Bolivia, Kosnar also discovered two new species there. Aheyllite, named in honor of Allen Heyl of the U.S.G.S., plus a new Silver Lead Sulfide in the process of being described.

Recently, Mineral Classics has again imported superb Bolivian specimens. These include great new Ludlamite crystals on matrix and gem Vivianite crystals from Huanuni; beautiful Valentinite crystals on matrix from Colavi; the world's absolute finest Andorite and Potosíite specimens from the San Jose mine; killer specimens Stannite (large sharp floater twins); bright, sharp Bournonite crystals on Quartz and Pyrite matrix from Machacamarca; Augelite crystals on Pyrite, Quartz and Siderite crystals from Tasna and Machacamarca; gem quality, twinned Phosphophyllites from the famous Unificada mine in Potosí; classic floater pseudomorphs of Copper after Aragonite from Corocoro; some of the finest twinned a{100} Ferberite specimens extant from Tasna; outstanding Vauxite, Paravauxite and Metavauxite specimens from the historic Siglo XX mine; Fine quality Native Silver specimens (crystals and wires) plus silver sulfides from the Potosí Mining District; and spectacular sharp, bright Magnetite crystals on Feldspar matrix from Cerro Huañaquino. These are the finest Magnetite specimens to be available on the market since the famous Swiss Alpine crystals. Many specimens from this new find are now available on our site.

Also during the 70s, Kosnar traveled to Europe with many extended stays in the Italian Alps. His first trip in 1971, initiated his love of Alpine minerals (as well as many coveted European friendships), and he began collecting classic European Alpine specimens from Italy, France, Austria, and Switzerland. Kosnar has assembled and is currently maintaining a high quality, world-class, Alpine collection which includes the worlds finest red octahedral Fluorites and Smoky, Gwindel, and Faden Quartz specimens from France; a magnificent twinned Hematite crystal on Quartz and a classic, twinned, pink Fluorite octahedron on water-clear Quartz crystals from Switzerland; beautiful, classic Alpine, twinned Titanite crystals on matrix from the Südtirol and world-class Hessonite Garnet specimens from the famous locality of Val d'Aosta in Italy; and from Austria the finest Epidote specimens from the famous Knappenwand locality and a very beautiful and rare 2 lavender color Apatite crystal from Morknekar; as well as the worlds finest Hyalophane crystal group from Zagradski Potok in Yugoslavia and an old, classic Wulfenite specimen from Mezica, also in Yugoslavia. As well as Kosnar's collection of classic European Alpine minerals, he collects minerals from Alpine-type localities around the world. He has one of the finest collections of Russian Alpine-type minerals in the U.S. which includes the worlds best Russian Hematite, Prehnite, Diopside, Brookite, Axinite and Uvarovite specimens. He also has exceptional suites of specimens from other Alpine-type localities such as Asbestos, Canada; Vermont; Pakistan; Colorado; Pennsylvania; etc.

All in all, Kosnar has traveled throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Morocco including 18 countries and 47 states here in the U.S. in pursuit of fine mineral specimens. He has procured thousands and thousands of the worlds finest mineral specimens for museums and collectors in the U.S. and Europe.

Sadly, in 1986, Kosnar became seriously and chronically ill and his traveling days ended.   In December of 2006 he suffered an aneurysm in his brain and passed away on January 15, 2007.  He was incredibly strong, both mentally and physically and fought for many years with his health issues.  He was in tremendous pain and essentially bedridden for the final 5 years of his life, but his love for minerals was never compromised.   Even in the days leading to his death, Richard continued to expand his mineral collection, and studied the minerals that had composed his life's work.

Today, Mineral Classics is continuing in the procuring, mining, importing, and sale of fine quality mineral specimens, gemstones, and jewelry. Richard Kosnar's son, Brian Kosnar, is now managing the company and is already following in his fathers footsteps traveling to mineral localities in pursuit of specimens. Many specimens which Brian acquired while at the mines in Bolivia are available on the Bolivian Minerals page.  Brian's email address is brian@minclassics.com

During the Summer of 2002, Richard's other son Brett Kosnar discovered and mined a new Amethyst locality here in Gilpin County, Colorado.  Brett has since taken an interest in gems and jewelry and at the age of 18 began faceting gemstones in 2001 and creating custom jewelry in 2003.  You can see many of Brett's gems on our own website, and various other websites.  Brett also displays his gems and jewelry at various shows during the year.   Brett's email address is brett@minclassics.com

We hope you enjoy our website and we look forward to serving your mineral, gem and jewelry interests.  Please feel free to email us.  We will be happy to provide any information we can about our business, our family, and our love for minerals and gems.

Thank you,
Mineral Classics
(Brian, Angela, Brett, Allyce and Tresa)