A collector from the age of 12, Dr. Robert Lavinsky first started participating in mineral shows at the age of 14. He initially planned a career in molecular genetics and received his doctoral degree from UC-San Diego, but his passion for minerals led to a career change. Rob realized the potential to move the mineral world online and www.iRocks.com became one of the first comprehensive fine mineral websites, going online in 1994. Since then, he has been a full-time dedicated mineral dealer and educator; and recently had a new mineral, Lavinskyite, named in his honor.
By loaning specimens, consulting on displays, and curating, he has collaborated with a variety of museums including the Yale University Peabody Museum, Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, Dallas' Perot Museum, Midland Petroleum Museum, Cranbrook Institute of Science, and several prominent museums in China. He has been a long-time supporter of the UofA’s big data RRUFF Project, the Mineralogical Record, and other mineral publications.
His sponsorship of several film projects (Mineral Explorers, & The World’s Most Precious Treasures), books (The Lindsay Greenbank Collection of Classic Minerals of Northern England, The Miguel Romero Collection of Mexican Minerals, China Crystalline Treasures: The Mineral Heritage of China) have helped expand mineral awareness and popularity, and each August, Dr. Lavinsky and other co-sponsors host the Dallas Mineral Collecting Symposium (www.DallasSymposium.org) featuring world-famous mineral experts and engaging social events.
Rob has been active in helping with Government-associated mineral shows in China, and has a gallery in Shanghai. He is also particularly active in helping young collectors become more interested in both the hobby of collecting, and the science of understanding, minerals. He recently opened a 20,000 sg. ft. gallery in Dallas, Texas.
Rob was appointed to the Board in 2017.