AUSSIE MINERAL HUB – HOW IT STARTED, WHERE I’M GOING
When I was a little kid, my grandma gave me a ‘rock’. I had been spending a lot of time in hospital during that time, having operations on my legs, so this gift was a bright moment during a rough time. I thought this rock was the best thing ever. My grandma told me it was Fool’s Gold, and I conveniently dropped the ‘Fools’ part of the title and kept this rock as a real treasure. It immediately captured my imagination, my wonder.
That small act of sharing and kindness turned me onto a lifelong journey of learning and asking questions to feed my curious mind.
LEARNING TO NEVER GIVE UP
Like I said earlier, I spent a lot of time in hospital. When you’re a young kid you don’t quite think about it, but reflecting on it now, I’m grateful I had my grandparents around me during that time. Spending 8 to 10 weeks at a time in casts was discouraging, not just physically, but mentally. I would get so frustrated with myself because I was trying to do something I was capable of mentally, but in that moment, my body just wasn’t allowing me to do it.
So, I became stubborn. I wouldn’t let others help me because I was so set on wanting to do things myself. In fact, I thought others would see me asking for help and view it as a sign of weakness. It took a long time for my parents and grandparents to change my mindset so that I could realise there are certain things or certain times in our lives that we need help with and it’s totally ok to ask for that help!
But they still encouraged me to be determined, and there were certain things they pushed me to do by myself. If I was unable to something the first time, I quickly learnt that I would have to be patient and keep trying until I could do it. In my mind, I wanted to do it but my body was saying no. Because of my own stubbornness, wanting to do everything myself, my attitude shifted. I trained my body to do what my mind was telling it to do.
It’s amazing how much perspective you get on the things you take for granted in life when they’re no longer easily accessible. It took every bit of my mental and physical energy to put one foot in front of the other, just to walk after the operations. Now, each day I wake up and I can walk is a day I am grateful for.
That’s where my ‘never give up’ attitude comes from. I’ve already gone through so much that I once thought I wasn’t capable of getting through, so anything I face now, I know if I focus and put in the work then I can achieve pretty much anything I want. Those experiences changed the way I look at life.
And in retrospect, I’m pretty sure my parents and grandparents bribed me into being good, because if I was a ‘good boy’ I would get a new rock. Since I was already hooked by then, I tried to be as good as I possibly could, because I wanted a new rock! (didn’t always work out that way).
BUILDING A GEM & MINERAL COLLECTION
Before I knew it, I was building a collection and people who knew me were even gifting pieces to me, for which I remain incredibly grateful.
I got to a state where the collection became more than just a few rocks in a box. Soon, I needed a place to properly store and display the collection. I was fortunate to be surrounded by talented and inventive family members, who were more than happy to help me out.
It started with Poppa. He hand-made me a small, felt-lined wooden box to display my most prized pieces. I soon filled that one, so David (my grandma’s sister’s husband…it’s a mouthful) built me a bigger box, felt-lined again but this time with a glass lid. The gems could still be viewed in all their magnificent detail, while still being protected.
After filling that box, David built me a wall display. At the time I remember thinking, “I will never fill this up!” Well, I filled it up a few years later, and since that time – moving out of home, starting my working life and everything else that life throws at you – I’ve had to keep most of my collection organized in containers.
Fast forward 20+ years to 2017: the collection is strong and I am constantly learning everything I can about the huge variety of minerals that surround us. I now have a focus on Australian mineralogy and learning as much as I can about minerals and crystals found in Australia, whilst adding top-class specimens to the collection. While I love everything minerals, I am dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Australian mineralogical history.
Being a web designer, I’m constantly learning new things and wanted to create a test bed to be able to implement all the ideas running through my mind. I always had this idea of creating a dedicated website for minerals and crystals. Without an exact vision of how I wanted it to work, I decided to start.
I spent 8 months quietly chipping away on the idea, which I chose to call Aussie Mineral Hub. Part of wanting to create this project was so that I could have an online reference to keep track of all the different specimens in the collection, and for others to use as a resource when learning about Australian minerals and crystals. It has already, and will always, evolve as I learn and try new technologies in the digital space.
I now have a MVP (minimum viable product) online with a handful of specimens listed, each with a 360-degree photo (click and drag on the image to interact with it). It will continually grow as I add more specimens each week and introduce new features. I have a lot of ideas to execute and I’m excited about where this project and brand will take me in the future.
LATEST ADDITIONS TO THE COLLECTION
THE FUTURE FOR AUSSIE MINERAL HUB
People ask me what my plans are for Aussie Mineral Hub and for me it’s quite simple. I currently have 2 goals, 1 short term and 1 long term.
- My first short term goal is to purchase glass display cabinets to display the current collection. This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time, so I’m saving up to buy them.
- My long term goal is to continue learning about and curating world class specimens from Australia and around the world over the next 20 to 30 years, with the dream of opening a public gallery for everyone to enjoy and learn the beauty of what our earth has to offer.
Here’s what I am currently doing to raise funds to make these goals happen:
- Crystal inspired art sales through my new online crystal art shop
- Artwork sales via my RedBubble page
- Website design and development freelance projects through my company Griggworks
- Generally awesome people who believe in me and have given a donation for which I am super thankful.
All proceeds from these sales are going directly into savings to purchase my first short term goal of the glass display cabinets for the collection.
People think I’m crazy when I tell them that’s my plan for 20 to 30 years time, but what I want them to understand is that opening a gallery is not the end game. It’s about the pursuit of that goal and everything that comes with it!
It’s the challenges, the struggles, the building process, the curation of museum-quality specimens for the next 20 to 30 years trying to make that happen. That’s the real goal for me, that’s what excites me. If, for whatever reason, I am unable to achieve that goal, it’s not a failure, because starting something is never a failure. It’s a success in itself. I had an idea, I executed that idea, I created something from nothing and I’m going to constantly move forward in that direction of opening the gallery, enjoying the pursuit while surrounding myself with and helping the people that I’ve built relationships with over the years.
I’m super thankful for you taking the time to read this and I’m excited to share my journey with you. If you like what I’m doing, please share with your friends and spread the love. I am always keen for a chat so if you’ve got any questions or there is anything I can help you with, it’s super easy to get in touch with me via instagram, facebook or snapchat.