In the early 1980’s, it was already becoming apparent that Bruce was becoming too proficient at collecting rocks, for the size of the small family home in Reno, Nevada. Noting that some of these rocks were both interesting and attractive, Bruce decided to start a small business selling mineral specimens by mail, to fund future field trips. The business met with some success, but trying to turn around mail orders while working full-time as a mining geologist prevented the business from growing past the hobby stage. However, the addition of new specimens continued, and upon settling down in a job with less travel in 1986, Bruce decided to make another attempt to reduce the inventory and derive a little extra income in the process.
Beginning in 1987, Bruce began selling mostly self-
collected mineral specimens at mineral shows close to Las Vegas, the new family hometown, doing business as High Desert Minerals for the first time. Within several years, both his daughters began to help him at shows, now not only in Las Vegas but also in Arizona and Southern California. The number of shows was still limited by the time commitments of a full-time job, but the business slowly grew and provided both “money to fund the next trip” and some very nice additions to the family collection, along the way. At the suggestion
of the girls, colorful minerals from localities not available
for self-collecting were added to the inventory. A few
fossils also crept in along the way, as a product successful
collecting trips to classic fossils sites in Utah and Nevada,
and the tonnage therein obtained.
By 2004, both girls were off to college, and Jan decided that High Desert Minerals needed some new blood, so she began doing the show circuit with Bruce. With more exposure to Tucson and other gem shows, Jan’s interest grew quickly, and she began to add mineral jewelry and lapidary items, along with larger and more varied fossils, to the show stock. Business continued to do well, even through the first year of the “Great Recession,” but more changes were soon to come to
High Desert Minerals.
With both daughters now living far from Las Vegas, Jan’s
mother in Spokane, Washington, and Bruce nearing retirement age, Bruce and Jan decided to build a home on family property near Spokane, enabling them to return to a slower-paced life style than offered by Las Vegas. Thus began a year of reduced commitment to High Desert Minerals, replaced by hard work by both Bruce and Jan to get a home built from 1,175 miles away. By early 2010, packing and discarding of both personal and business materials was non-stop, culminating with a move north to Nine Mile Falls, Washington, in June. By October 2010, enough unpacking and house arrangement was completed to begin resurrecting High Desert Minerals, this time as both a show dealer and an Internet business. With Bruce now fully dedicated to the business, we hope to make this a website that customers will enjoy visiting, with quality specimens of minerals, fossils, and other items at very reasonable prices.