I began collecting minerals in the fifth grade, something not easy to do when you live in Florida, but I did. In high school, I was winning State Science Fair awards in Geology and field collecting wherever summer travel allowed.
I decided to major in chemistry at Florida State University rather than geology since it is closer to mineralogy than traditional geology. Upon earning my BS, I began a thirty-year career as a high school chemistry teacher, a job I loved.
As I taught, though, I learned that I needed to supplement my income, so I learned to find and dig specimens during the summer and wholesale them to rock shops. I still have a collection of field-collected minerals, my only personal collection. In my early days, though, I purchased and showed thumbnail and miniature minerals in competition.
My summer collecting sales led me to start a formal mineral business, Minerals America, in 1973, and I was soon retailing at local shows on weekends and at shows from coast to coast in the summer.
In 1980, I took a sabbatical and earned my Master’s degree, studying mineralogy at the University of South Florida. After retiring, I earned a PhD at the University of Northern Colorado and moved my business to Colorado
In 2010, I sold Minerals America and now I attend a reduced number of shows, either under my own name or as Graeber & Himes.
Besides selling fine mineral specimens in a wide range of prices, I also maintain a professional specimen preparation lab and provide appraisal and consulting services.