Sunday, February 15, 2015
It should be safe to say that the gentleman pictured above has done more to enhance the science and hobby of mineralogy than anyone else in history. If you have enough interest in minerals to be reading this, you know that he is Jolyon Ralph, who 14 years ago founded Mindat.org, the world's largest and most complete public information database about minerals. The site makes it a no-brainer to access and cross-reference whatever you need to know about a mineral species, from pertinent facts to localities to hundreds of thousands of images.
The majority of collectors, dealers, academics, and others with an interest in minerals could not do what they do as well---if at all---without Mindat.org. Most important, access is free to everyone and will continue to be so.
With volunteer input from some of the best mineralogical minds on the planet, Jolyon created Mindat.org in his spare time as a hobby. Only in the last year did he quit his day job in London, England in order to fulfil the the demands on his time to run it.
As Mindat.org is based in Great Britain, Jolyon is moving forward to establish a nonprofit as a US-based 501(c)(3) organization that will make it feasible to secure funds to continue growing while keeping its database and website available at no cost. Until recently, this money came from Jolyon's pocket. To see how Mindat.org will spend the $250,000 it is seeking, follow this link.
One should consider it an honor to contribute to Mindat.org. To encourage early contributions, sponsorships are available at $50 a page for the vast majority of the approximately 4600 mineral species known to exist. This writer, as a Marylander, is flattered to have his name pop up whenever anyone accesses the page for chromite and williamsite. And for a donation of $1,000 or more you can become named as a Fellow of Mindat.org on the front page of the site.