Dr. Lavinsky has an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Rice University and earned his doctoral degree from the University of California-San Diego in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics in 2000. However, his passion for mineral specimens led him to focus on building his company, The Arkenstone, into one of the world’s premier sources for world-class, museum to collector-quality mineral specimens. Since 1984, he has purchased many significant private mineral collections, and has donated important mineral specimens to the Smithsonian Institution, Harvard University, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Arizona, as well as other significant institutions. To honor his contributions to mineral research and museum curation, a recently discovered new mineral species was named Lavinskyite.
The Arkenstone currently maintains a main 20,000 square foot private sales office and gallery in Dallas, Texas as well as an office and private gallery in Shanghai, in addition to its large online reach through the website www.irocks.com.
Dr. Lavinsky serves as chief foreign editor and adviser to the Hunan Museum of Geology and also sits on the boards of the systematic mineralogy project at University of Arizona (RRUFF PROJECT) and the new Tucson Gem and Mineral Museum, as well as the advisory boards of the American Museum of Natural History Mineral Hall Project and the Rice Museum. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Mineralogical Record.
Rob has built a personal collection of Chinese mineral specimens used for outreach and teaching. In addition, he organized and planned the Chinese Crystalline Treasures exhibition at the University of Arizona in 2013 (www.chinacrystallinetreasures.com). The book on the exhibit was a short introduction and primer to collecting fine minerals that was translated and published in Chinese by the Hunan Provincial Government (the first officially authorized and translated U.S. mineral magazine of any kind in China). He takes his mineralogical educational mission in China very seriously.
Amongst some of Dr. Lavinsky’s additional projects was to be a sponsor of The World’s Most Precious Treasures, a reality television show following gem tanzanite from the mine to the market in Tucson; which was made by French National Television in association with the gem company Cartier of Paris.