Mineral specimens are our passion in life!
The Collector’s Edge team has a combined 200+ years of fine mineral collecting experience.
Knowledge is the key to success in any collecting endeavor. An informed mineral collector makes better specimen selections and is more at ease in making purchasing decisions. Developing strong relationships with experienced mineral dealers such as Collector’s Edge can be of enormous benefit to a collector. We would love to talk to you about your collection or about how to get started collecting fine mineral specimens.
Meet the Collector’s Edge Team
Bryan K. Lees
President & Founder
President & Founder
My passion for minerals started when I was a young boy growing up in Illinois and Michigan. Some of my earliest recollections are of picking up pebbles from the neighbor’s driveway. Years later, I became drawn to the form and color of crystals and would buy specimens as my paper route budget would allow. In 1969, I joined the Michigan Mineralogical Society and started going on field trips with the club. My parents also took me on many collecting excursions.
In 1972, our family moved to Colorado. Through the years, visiting every important collecting location I could, I grew to appreciate the rarity of great mineral specimens. In college I met my future wife, Kathryn, who supported and encouraged my mineral collecting obsession, allowing me to pursue a professional career in mineral specimen mining. Together, in 1984, we founded Collector’s Edge Minerals, which today continues to fascinate, challenge and excite us as we explore for minerals all around the world.
For me, the most exciting part of the mineral hobby is field collecting: being the first to see these natural treasures. Opening a pocket of crystals is like opening presents on Christmas Day.
Our favorite discoveries include rhodochrosite from the Sweet Home Mine, Park County, Colorado; amazonite from the Tree Root pocket near Lake George, Colorado; and the Dragon gold specimen from the Colorado Quartz Mine near Mariposa, California.
Retail Mineral Sales
Retail Mineral Sales
My fascination with minerals started later than most collectors. In my youth, I was heavily into salt water aquariums and orchid growing. My basement was full of fish tanks and grow lights. I had wandered into a couple local rock shops out of curiosity, wondering why people would buy rocks. Though I found them interesting, I did not catch the bug until I happened to walk into a shop with a beautiful Peruvian rhodochrosite specimen. Despite several attempts, they would not sell it to me. This deepened my resolve to find a specimen like this somewhere.
I started going to local shows in Denver in 1994 and in early 2005 I found myself in the offices of Collector’s Edge. I purchased a couple specimens from Bryan that day, which started a long friendship with the man who would someday become my boss. Who Knew! Every day is a new adventure here and I could not be happier working with my coworkers and customers who share the same passion as me.
Mineral Preparation Specialist
Mineral Prep Specialist
(303) 278-9724 Ext. 14
My indoctrination into the world of minerals actually came as a bit of an accident. I moved from Denver to Abilene, Texas in 2005 to attend college at Abilene Christian University. As an aspiring artist, I was eager to learn any artistic knowledge or techniques I could, and wanted to explore many areas of the arts. I filled my course load with as many different art classes as I could, including Sculpture, Painting, Drawing, Graphic Design, Illustration, and many more. Outside of classes, I delved into woodworking, carpentry, and even dabbled in tattoos for a short period.
While working to support myself through college as a key manager at Outback Steakhouse, I met Collector’s Edge Alumni, Jon Voelter, who inquired about my artistic abilities, and offered me part time work in his mineral preparation laboratory. After graduating with my Fine Arts Degree, I was offered full time employment at Voelter Minerals, where I began my training in mineral specimen preparation and cleaning. At the time, I had no geological background, and no exposure to the mineral community, so starting off, I had no idea what minerals I was looking at, I just knew that they looked amazing. It was my very first mineral show, however, that started my own personal mineral collecting, and further fueled my desire for knowledge in this field. It is amazing how much one can learn through traveling the country doing mineral shows, and seeing some of the world’s best mineral specimens, as well as learning cleaning, trimming and specimen preparation.
In 2015, I had the privilege of marrying my amazing wife Stephanie, and at the beginning of 2017 we decided to move back to Denver, to be closer to my family. Shortly thereafter, I began working with the Collector’s Edge, in their laboratory under the furthering instruction of Rob Lorda. As the newest addition to the impressive team here, I am incredibly excited to be working with some amazing individuals, as well as having the privilege to work with gorgeous minerals all day.
Outside of the realm of mineralogy, I enjoy hiking with my wife and our two dogs, snowboarding, playing paintball, drawing, painting, and I am an undercover comic book enthusiast (nerd).
Wholesale Mineral & Specimen Mining Mgr
Whse Sales & Spec Mining
My path to joining Collector’s Edge started in Ouray, Colorado when I was on a family vacation and we stopped in the Columbine Mineral Shop, owned by a longtime friend of the Company, Ben Kueling. My Mom & Dad bought a geode from Mexico for me and the mineral collecting seed was planted when it was opened. Several years later, my first collecting experience was at the Red Cloud Mine in 1983 with Ray Grant and other students from Mesa Community College where I was a student. Upon finding my first 1” red wulfenite specimen, I was hooked. I went to Red Cloud thereafter every chance available where I was encouraged to find more specimens from selling the pieces I collected. After a few trips to the mine, I concluded I needed better tools and subsequently purchased a cobra drill and some explosives. The mineral collecting passion was ignited and my mechanized mining experience blossomed.
I spent the next 15 years field collecting all over the southwestern United States and in northern Mexico, living the field collecting “dream”. Every time I visit a show and see the minerals I collected on display, I think back to that first wulfenite crystal that stared it all.
In 1998 I was offered the job as Mine Manager of the Sweet Home Mine. Most mineral collectors know the story of the Sweet Home, so what field collector could say no to that offer?! Since joining Collector’s Edge, I have traveled the world digging and buying mineral specimens. The last 12 years have predominately been in China, where I have visited dozens of mines and nearly every province in the country. This has been an incredible experience and an opportunity few collectors ever have, and I get paid to do it! I estimate I have personally collected as many as 300,000 individual specimens with a cumulative estimated value in excess of $50 million dollars. The experience and opportunities I have found with Collector’s Edge, combined with the friendship of my like minded colleagues, makes it even better.
Mineral Laboratory Manager
Mineral Lab Mgr
My first exposure to minerals began when I was three years old and Mom was cleaning the neighbor’s decorative rock with the washing machine. As I got older, I had a curiosity for those strange and fascinating crystals. Grandma would bring me rocks from the gift shops that she visited in her travels. Years later, Grandma gave me a rhodochrosite specimen that her Mom had collected from the Silverton, Colorado area.
During my high school years, my friend Phil and I would prospect for gold on the American River above Auburn, California, where we would find gold flour, flakes and a few nuggets. But my prospecting really took off when I found the “digging club” when I was at the Colorado School of Mines. There I met many likeminded prospectors. If we had an extra $15 for fuel, we went out digging somewhere, rain, snow or sun, the weather didn’t matter.
One summer, Ryan Bowling and I were prospecting when we met Paul Gefner and Byron Weege, during the time of their great discoveries on The Rocket claim. Also that summer, I had the excellent opportunity to learn from Dave Wilber and his selective eye for display. I was also influenced by Bill Hawes. Bill had just finished working on the Alma King and the Alma Rose, and introduced me to Bryan Lees. I began to work part time for Bryan, who imparted his knowledge into the mix. By the end of that first summer, I took a break from school and started to learn full time.
The small mountains of beautiful minerals that move through the lab each year are a great treat to study but the real excitement are those special projects, such as helping design the “Rhodo Stope” at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I have had the honor of working on such famous specimens as the 44 pound leaf gold that is on display at Ironstone Vineyards in California; the “Gold Dragon” from the Colorado Quartz Mine; and the “Gold Pocket” from Colorado Quartz Mine. One special project that really pushed me to improve my skills were the emeralds from Zambia which required careful extrication from the quartz.
It has been my pleasure to work with and learn from the crew at the Collector’s Edge, both past and present. Simply put, there are so many that I have learned from and worked with over the years and I am thankful for the knowledge I gained from them. The satisfaction and the experience I have enjoyed here at Collector’s Edge would not have been possible without the people I have met and worked with over the years.
Whse Warehouse Mgr
Craig can usually be found in our wholesale department or warehouse, receiving shipments of rocks, opening them, cleaning them, inventorying them, then selling them to our many customers. He also handles one of our two wholesale rooms during the Tucson show. Craig is one of the most senior employees at Collector’s Edge, having joined the team 17 years ago! He enjoys hiking, riding dirt-bikes, snow skiing, and working out, but he’s also a collector with specimens from around the world. His favorite specimens are rhodochrosite and fluorite.
- Has worked for Collector’s Edge for 17 years
- Collects worldwide crystals, favorites are rhodochrosite and fluorite
- Hobbies are hiking, riding dirt bikes, snow skiing, and working out at the gym
- In the warehouse, he handles mineral cleaning, receiving, and selling to customers with our vast worldwide inventory!
(303) 278-9724 Ext 15
I started working here at CEMI part-time in 2004, first helping Steve with paperwork so he could dedicate more time to selling minerals, amongst other various duties. It was fun to unwrap minerals which we received from different parts of the world. I worked my way up to full-time employment in 2010, where I began doing the company’s Accounts Payable and numerous other office duties. It is so nice to be able to see such pretty mineral specimens daily and to work with such a great group of people.
Retail Sales Specialist
Retail Sales Spec.
Phone: (303) 278-9724