The Redesigned Minerals.net Website
This past week we launched the biggest website update since 2009, with many new features and design elements. The last design was first initiated in 2007, and since then design standards have changed. Please make sure to visit the new site and share your thoughts!
Specifics of the new website include:
- A new, Fresh Minerals.net Logo
We are still keeping the name “The Mineral & Gemstone Kingdom”, but this will be more of a slogan rather then our name. In the last several years we have rebranded ourselves as “Minerals.net”
- Cleaner, Neater Header
The new header design is much cleaner and less cluttered than the old one. The search, which is a very important component of the site, is very prominent, with the social media links and Facebook “like” button prominently featured.
- New Background
We added a tapered gradient background for color aesthetics and page blending.
- New Font Style
We updated the font style to the easier-to-read and more trendy Tahoma font style.
- New Navigation Controls
We added a new detailed menu with rich flyout menus that allow the user to quickly and easily find the content they are looking for. Some flyout menus also contain embedded image thumbnails. The birthstone in the gemstone menu changes automatically every month.
- Most Popular Minerals and Gemstones
We added direct links in the flyout menus to our ten most popular (i.e. most visited) minerals and ten most popular gemstones. It is surprising to see which are the most popular, and these do change from time to time.
- New Mineral Listing Page with Thumbnails
We added a new way of listing minerals by an alphabetical order list. The new format provides thumbnails photos for each mineral listed.
- New Footer Design
The newly designed footer provides quick text links to all important areas of the site, and also has a fixed email sign up form.
- Mineral Detail and Gemstone Detail Pages Redesign
We redesigned the layout of both the mineral and gemstone detail pages with wider tables and a new content format that is cleaner and easier to read. The new format also stretches the text wider across the page for better text layout.
The mineral and gem shows are going on in Tucson now! Hershel Friedman is in Tucson this week and will be visiting the major mineral shows. He hopes to make new advertising contacts, take photos of exceptional minerals for the site, and meet up with friends. Hershel will be at the InnSuites on Tuesday, the shows along the I-10 Corridor on Wednesday (such as the Pueblo and 22nd St. Shows), and will be at the main TGMS show on Thursday. If you would like to meet Hershel in Tucson, please use the contact form to make arrangements. Hershel will be posting comprehensive updates and photos after he returns from the show.
Book Review: Rockhounding Pennsylvania and New Jersey
By Robert Beard
I recently purchased Rockhounding Pennsylvania and New Jersey, By Robert Beard. This book describes many of the localities in these two states with the status and ability to collect there. Overall this is a great book, and is highly recommended. Although I am familiar with a lot of the locations described in the book, there were some that were new to me, and it also provided details on some of the localities that I was not aware of.
This book is an essential resource for any field collector in the area, since it is an excellent resource. I like the fact that the book lists a lot of localties, including non-collectible but import geologocial features to observe. There are good details on every locality, with very specific instructions on finding the locations. The book is well-organized in a very neat and clean format, and also provides good pictures of the localities described. It also says which locations are kid friendly, which I think is an extra step of usefulness.
The book describes both mineral and fossil localities. Though I am strictly a mineral collector, and the fossil localites are not as interesting to me, it is still nice to see these localities listed in the book for those who are interested in fossils. I don’t know why the author chose to describe New Jersey and Pennsylvania in one book. Granted these states are geographically next to each other, but they are quite different in many ways, including geologically and culturally. I would have separated this book into two books, one for each state, and provide a more extensive background on the geology and history of mining in each state.
I think that this book is a great resource for both expert collectors and novices alike. The experts can gain some additional localities and information that they would otherwise not have found, and the novices can gain a list of collectible localities which can be a learning experience for them. For the novices, more collecting information such as collecting behavior should have been included. Also, all the local clubs in each state should have been mentioned with contact information so that someone interested in this hobby can join one a club for additional level of enrichment in this hobby.
One of my biggest criticisms of the books is that it should not have provided the details on some of the classic locations that are meant only for the expert collectors.For example, I have heard that a classic locality mentioned in the book, which was well-know to local collectors, has now experienced an explosion of new visitors there, including out-of-area collectors. While the collecting status at this locality is definitely questionable and not publicly sanctioned, the owner has been tolerating an occasional collector here and there. But now with the location “discovered” and becoming quite busy, especially on weekends, it is doubtful that this status quo will remain. The last thing any serious collector wants is to have a classic locality closed down due to an excessive amount of collectors or irresponsible rockhounds. One last criticism I have for the book is the cover photo, showing a nice piece of Kyanite from the Wissahickon formation in Pennsylvania. The picture itself is a good picture, but the outlines are clearly outlined and poorly shadowed with a Photoshop job.
Despite the above criticism, overall the author has done a great job, and I really enjoyed learning new things from this book. The author is planning on launching a book on Rockhounding in New York this coming year as well, and I look forward to the new book when it comes out!