Should you ever get invited to a party at my house in Padova, you will discover something that I otherwise do not publicize much - I am an avid mineral collector. I started as a child, fascinated by the colours and shapes that those shiny crystals could take - a rare instance of Nature betraying its inner secrets, for those shapes, easy to make out by sight or touch, faithfully reproduce the organization of their atomic lattice. 
I never had a real chance to go dig out specimens myself, or maybe I never really went for it, as I do not fancy the hard digging in unhospitable places such as mines, steep slopes, etcetera. But my collection has kept growing because of occasional purchases at street markets, shops, and open fairs. Nowadays I own over 250 pieces of various size, plus a few precious and semi-precious stones cut in various shapes.

So nowadays my living room has become little short of a geology showroom. But I like it that way!

The pictures below give an idea of some parts of my collection. In the first is the section of "loose crystals", which includes floaters and also a few cabochon pieces. From left to right, among other pieces, you should be able to identify several kunzite crystals, tourmalines, and beryls.

In the second picture there are some of the mid-size pieces I like the most. I especially like the galena cube with a yellow anglesite crystal at the center, which comes from Sardinia. Also nice is the aquamarine cluster from the Erongo mine on the right. How many other minerals can you identify?

The last addition to the collection comes from a trip I made to Mauritius a couple of weeks ago. At the local market of Port Louis I found a small shop with several nice pieces of celestite, and I settled on a not-so-big specimen that would not create problems to my carry-on bag (I never check in luggage pieces!).

I will leave to another post some pictures of larger specimens. Instead, here is a picture of a tray I assembled with a mirror bottom, where I keep my precious and semi-precious stones.  Can you spot blue and yellow topaz, aquamarine, kunzite, alexandrite, spinel, rubellite, diamond stones?