Robert Kunze

Robert 350x200

Robert was born 1980 in Saxony/Germany, the cradle of mineralogy. He studied water science at the University of Techniques in Dresden and lived in Saxony until 2004, then moved to Linz - the capital city of Upper Austria. He met his wife and still works and lives in a small village near Linz. He is married since April 2012 and a proud father of one son and a cute girl.

Robert started collecting fairly late at the age of 19, when he did a field trip to the Evje pegmatite-district in Norway. This trip was the beginning of his career as collector and he fell in love with crystals. First his focus were only minerals from Saxony, later on he also collected specimens from Czech Republic and Slovakia. After he moved to Austria his priority changed and now minerals from Austria are an essential part of his collection.

When I met Robert in 2008 I learned very quickly that he is an expert for minerals from Saxony, Czech Republic and Slovakia, also he have a great knowledge about ore-minerals. It was a quite funny coincidence how we met: I was bidding on a one-euro sample (it was a Barite-thumbnail from Krupka/CZ) on ebay. When I received the invoice I recognized that we both live in the same city and contacted him. Since this first contact we developed a great friendship and became partners in mineral-business.

But Robert is not just a dealer - he has a lot of experience in field-collecting. During the last few years he visited several localities in Upper Austria - very successfully! At the well known Pyrite-locality St. Georgen a.d. Gusen - local collectors said it is defunct since decades - he discovered a new pyrite-cleft. Also we both worked on Weisseck Mountain (Salzburg / Austria), where he found some fine Fluorites and Calcites (in 2009). During his early years in Saxony he did a lot of field-collecting in Erzgebirge Mountains, Saxony. One of his best discoveries he did in Doerfel Quarry, Annaberg-Buchholz – he found fine Fluorites (cubic and octahedral habit) with Quartz. Further remarkable finds were well developed Pseudoapatite (Apatite after Pyromorphite), Quartz & Copper-minerals from Freiberg District in 2003 and 2005 and exceptional Lithiophorite – also from Saxony. Robert also worked at the “Bohemian Paradise” / Czech Republic discovering very nice agates and amethyst. One of his favourite locations in Krupka in the Czech part of the Erzgebirge mountains. He visited this area several times and found fine specimens e.g. crystallized Molybdanite or Fluorite.


Martin Gruell

Martin was born in 1973 in Linz / Austria. After he finished school he became an optican as well as a goldsmith & jeweler. In his freetime he was a successful swimmer and now he’s still a voluntary instructor of the Austrian Life-Guard.

Since 2002 he is living together with his girlfriend, their son, born in 2008 keeps them on their toes. Not long ago he moved to Friedburg, a small community near the border Upper Austria – Salzburg. But Linz is still part of his life, his office and mineral stock is here.

When I met him in 2008 I never thought that his mineral-carrer would grow so fast. Within the last 2-3 years he became very expirienced in making quality mineral-photos! But his passion for minerals started much earlier.

With the age of 8 he started his first collection, mainly alpine minerals. 4 years later he opened his first cleft with Rock-crystals in the well known Rausis area in Austria. Over the next 10 years he visited this area several weeks a year looking for fine minerals. But also the valleys around were not safe for his diggin’-activities, e.g. Habach-valley, Untersulzbach-valley or the valley of Gastein. He became a real “crystal-sniper” discovering many fine specimens. 

Upper Austria, international not known for many quality minerals, has some interesting locations Martin visited during the years (e.g. Luftenberg or Spital a. Pyhrn)… His collection consisted mainly of Austrian minerals, but he was also very interested in specimens from Italy, Greece, Mexico, Canada and copper-minerals.

Imagine where he would be now if he didn’t stop collecting for more than 10 years. His collection was closed – not existing anymore.

The 1st step for his mineralogic comeback were some field collecting in 2006. Finally he decided to restart again in 2008 buying mineral specimens and developing a new collection. He surprised himself because collecting minerals was no option anymore. But within 10 years many things had changed, now his collection consists mainly of very fine fluorites and excellent alpine specimens from Austria. I’ve never seen that a collection has become so attractive within only 2-3 years – amazing! He made many very successful field-trips – for example to the Weisseck mountain or the Gastein-valley – of course looking for fluorites!

Meanwhile Martin also became an expert for fluorites all over the world as well as alpine minerals. It’s a great fun working with him, he became a good friend!


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