Keeping track of your collection is important for so many different reasons like insurance purposes, remembering species, locations, and stories, and just knowing what you have. It also helps when you’re shopping and you’re not sure if you want to upgrade or don’t remember if you have a sample of that species yet – I don’t know how many times I ended up with doubles of minerals because I forgot what I had!
So what is the best way to catalog? It really depends on you! Each collector has their own preferences and there are a myriad of ways to catalog. Some people record dimensions and weights of every single specimen, some only record weights of gem quality minerals or meteorites, some start out simply like I did, with two columns and four rows for each mineral in Excel – Picture, Species, Location, Information, Amount Paid. I quickly ran into a problem though, I had so many pieces to log that the file got very large very quickly and began to slow down with all of the pictures and information I had in it.
I began exploring other ways of keeping a catalog, there are many different websites, programs, apps, and other services that allow you to keep records. I was a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of “starting over” but in the long run I found a service that I believe makes it worth it.
Please note, this is not an ad or promotion, just my (Chantel’s) personal opinion and there may be some services that better fit your personal needs.
That said, I ended up settling on www.geology365.com! It’s a free to use (up to 500 minerals, subscription offers more) website with customizable fields, sorting options, display, and labels. It even allows you to share your collection with everyone or just your friends by sending a link and setting a simple password! Another option I love is being able to add a QR code to my labels which goes directly to the mineral and has plenty of details that I chose not to add to my smaller labels.
My point is, there is no wrong way to catalog your collection – you do you! Just take it from someone who’s been collecting since childhood, it’s so worth it to log them somewhere, even if it’s just written in a notebook. You’ll thank yourself later!