What Is FMVA?
Friends of Mineralogy Virginia Chapter Inc.

What is FMVA?

Friends of Mineralogy Virginia Chapter Inc. (FMVA) is a new branch of the national non-profit organization, Friends of Mineralogy. FMVA’s non-profit mandate is to promote, support, protect, and expand the collecting of mineral specimens, while furthering the recognition of the scientific, economic, and aesthetic value of minerals in society. Membership includes collectors, museum curators, mineralogists, industry professionals and earth science educators from Virginia and across the United States. FMVA and our members are affiliated with many of the top mineral organizations including Mindat.org, the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA), the Young Mineral Collectors, etc.

Friends of Mineralogy - Virginia Chapter

Why should I join FMVA?

FMVA is a project-oriented organization dedicated to specific topics such as safety, education, historical preservation, and research. Our goal is to develop a state-wide network for mineral education by engaging in meaningful programs and partnerships with industry, museums, universities, and local mineral societies. Despite our state focus, we are dedicated to the broader field of mineralogy and provide many opportunities to enrich your knowledge on the global level. Our diversity of programs and projects allows everyone to find a home in FMVA. We encourage students, teachers, industry professionals, and traditional rockhounds and mineral collectors to join our organization. 

Our History

FMVA was established in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic after the popular response from the community under the Virginia Mineral Project. For two years, collectors and educators following the VMP wanted to create an organization that highlighted a new age of mineral and geoscience outreach and education. Although the COVID-19 pandemic shut down a majority of traditional networks in the mineral community, FMVA was able to rise to the occasion and has now become one of the most active mineral organizations in the state. The primary goal of FMVA was to not duplicate local mineral societies, rather create a state organization that could enhance the local experience and provide a space where students, academics, and industry professionals could engage and conduct projects that supported the community at large. 

Behind the Logo

It wasn’t easy choosing a mineral to be the face of the new Friends of Mineralogy Virginia Chapter. Of all the classic sites one could choose, we had to find something that matched the mission of our organization and embodied our focus on the scientific and educational aspects of mineral collecting. We needed a specimen that would create questions and allow for us to use the logo as a talking point rather than a meaningless image with no context. So why did we choose a pyrite from Barger’s Quarry? 

Our initial reasoning behind the choice was the distinctiveness of the pyrite. Pyrites from Barger’s Quarry have been described as one of the most unique and complex pyrite localities within the United States. There is no mistaking a Barger’s pyrite with any other pyrite across the world. The unique crystal structure of these specimens, with dominant octahedral faces in combination with other crystal forms create breathtaking and recognizable specimens. We also wanted to make sure that our logo was not an artistic idea, rather a digital recreation of a real specimen from the site! 

There are only a few minerals we come across in our lifetime that represent top quality and true potential of a given mineral locality. If years go by and we never see it, the moment we are reacquainted, we immediately remember its distinctive look. Therefore, we chose a very special pyrite from the collection of August Dietz. Not only does this specimen show the complexity of pyrites, it is perched atop a beautiful piece of the black limestone matrix from the location. Additionally, the specimen was previously owned by Buck Keller, one of Virginia’s most prolific collectors. 

From the history to the field, we realize that at the end of the day we are only the temporary caretakers of such natural treasures. Our goal as FMVA is to share such remarkable mineralogical discoveries with the world, share some stories along the way, and use minerals to educate and tell grand stories that future generations can remember. It is here where our logo and this specimen are forever preserved in Virginia’s rich and forever important mineral history.