Earning a living collecting minerals is a dream upon which you don't have a monopoly! Few people can succeed at it, and those that do usually live on the edge of poverty. Consequently they are unable to retain the exceptional specimens they find. Take it from one whose hobby has become his profession: let minerals remain a hobby and they will remain a joy. If you depend on them for your livelihood, you will have to look elsewhere for relaxation, diversion, pleasure.

Carl A Francis, Harvard University Mineralogical Museum, April 26th 1982.

Welcome to Campylite.com!

The idea of this website came to me over a period of weeks. The knowledge and experience to do it - many years. I spent my early collecting years in the north of England during the 1970's, and was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in many of the now defunct classic British localities - the Caldbeck Fells, Weardale, Alston Moor, Cornwall to name but a few.

I almost lived in Drygill. I had dozens of trays full of campylite and plumbogummite sitting in rooms all over the house. I still do. Campylite was such a fun part of my life, that it's become the name of the site. The Alston Moor was my other home - Smallclough, Brownley Hill, Gudhamgill, Rampgill, Nentsberry Haggs - all evocative names for those who collect northern English material. In the Yorkshire Dales, we collected at Wetgroves in the 1970's and still have many of those pieces of barite - and Brandy Bottle - I'll never forget the feeling when about 50 kilos of cerussite crystals pour out of a hole and flatten you! I have a soft spot for Florence Ullcoats mine too - in West Cumberland - last of the great iron mines... have a look at the Florence pages on the site - we often work there, helping with preservation and maintenance, and have nice pieces for anyone wanting haematite or kidney ore.. Such a pity it is now flooded and unlikely to re-open.

I spent most of my working life in the mining industry - running gold mines in Australia, and starting my mining and exploration software company which eventually had offices in almost every country in the world. I spent three years living with the Cossacks in the remote Altai Mountains, on the northwestern frontier of China and Mongolia, when we mined gems and dug gold out of the rivers. I returned to England a couple of years ago, and now have a beautiful base from which to operate - a little building company, and a self-contained apartment in my house, which overseas visitors can use as a base whilst collecting and visiting dealers over here.

My 'Collecting History' page is really a blog - a look back at my life, and how lucky I've been. It'll take a lot of writing, but enjoy what's there... I'll keep adding to it as time allows.

The site is designed to show you both classic specimens which can, or could be found until recently, give some background to the localities from a personal perspective, and provide a sales / exchange forum for selected specimens. Hopefully you will start to gain an understanding of the sort of material these places produced, and how common or rare it really is.

I hope that by browsing these pages, you'll get a feel for British material, and what it really is worth. Please keep visiting the site - it will grow over time, but there's only me to keep it running, and I dont always have the time to add pages! I keep tapping away about Australia..

Finally - some of acknowledgements. A few special people who shaped my collecting and professional life, encouraging me from a very early age to stick with the mining game: Dick Barstow was my mentor - he taught me just about everything I know about collecting, Ike Wilson, Peter Embrey, John Fuller, Ralph Sutcliffe, Carl Francis, Mitch Gunnell, Julius Weber, Andy Dietz, George Godas, Dick Hauk and many others, quite a few unfortunately no longer with us.. a sad farewell to Jim Knight, who died last year.

Valete - Byron Weege

We are all shocked to hear that Byron died suddenly whilst working on the 2010 summer season at Rogerley Mine in the Weardale. Byron was a one-off - funny, witty, with a sense of humour that few can compare with. We were lucky enough to have spent a fantastic evening in the Bluebell Inn, whilst the USA was playing in the World Cup - I never knew Byron could sink SO many beers and still stay apparently sober, and still retain that sparkling wit that was his trademark. We've grown to love Byron, and his tales of Tourmaline (his favourite mineral)

Saturday evenings in the Bluebell, during the Rogerley digging season will never be the same.




Latest finds and aquisitions...


Fluorite epimorphs, Alston Moor

This is what it's all about.. finding an untouched cavity, packed with pieces like this which just lift out. Beautiful, light, incredibly bright, lustrous, the most amazing honey coloured ankerite, and cubes to over 3 cm on edge - specimen is approx 13cm across

These are truly world class epimorphs, and the best I've ever seen from the Alston block, although the Philadelphia collection had a couple - but not this good...

Field of view is approx 12 cm

This is the best sphalerite I've ever seen from the area. Brilliant, shining sphalerite crystals, intergrown with bright, lustrous silvery galena, on a matrix of microcrystalline quartz . From an as yet undisclosed new area.

And this is why its so good - totally gemmy, dark ruby red in colour. Not much available, but if you want Nentheads finest, feel free to ask us..!

Collections wanted..

I buy and sell specimens - mainly to build my collection. I'm happy to exchange any of the material on this site if it helps grow my collection - and for good Northern English material, I'll probably pay more than a dealer - I don't have to make a living, can't be bothered with mark-ups and profit - that's not what this is all about...

If you have, or know of, a collection or single specimens for sale, we will appraise and purchase - we can finance purchases from £100 to whatever takes your fancy. If you are interested, please feel free to call, and we will be happy to discuss a strategy. We also undertake commercial specimen recovery on behalf of mines, quarries and private estates.