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Currier, Rock (1940-2015 )

Rock Henry Currier, long-time proprietor of Jewel Tunnel Imports, was born (yes, with that name, a great one for a mineral dealer!) in Evanston, Illinois on August 25, 1940, the son of a physician. Around 1944 his family moved to sunny California, where he lived thereafter, except for four years he spent working for a chemical company and "chasing minerals" in New York.

Rock attended Pasadena City College for two years, earning an Associate of Arts degree in 1960, and then spent two more years studying chemistry at UCLA, but dropped out before receiving a degree. His first job was in the U.S. Borax chemical control laboratory at the borate deposit at Boron, California, working under Vince Morgan, whose office contained many shelves filled with well-crystallized examples of the various borate minerals that came from the deposit. After leaving Boron, Rock worked for companies that manufactured chemical reagents for hospital laboratories, until being laid off in 1972—the event which precipitated his entry into the mineral business.

Rock's first love was borate minerals, inspired by his six-month stint working for Vince Morgan. Asbestos, Quebec was his next stop, where he bought garnets and other minerals from the miners, building his collection as rapidly as possible. He purchased a fine lot of prehnite crystals from a geologist at the mine at Asbestos and made his first specimen sales to some of the large museums.

Following his layoff in 1972 he took a trip to India, Fiji, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Korea to look for minerals, and the Indian zeolites became a passion with him. There he collected in the quarries and imported tons of zeolites to sell through his new business, "Jewel Tunnel Imports" (the name borrowed from a legendary railway tunnel between Bombay and Poona that cut through fabulous pockets of crystallized zeolites). He shared a room with Gene Schlepp at his first Tucson Show in 1972, selling Indian minerals. Soon his friends were referring to him jokingly as the "Poona pimp." He sold minerals in New York for a short time thereafter, based in the Wildcliff Museum (he had an apartment in New Rochelle, New York), but after four years he left New York and moved back to California, where he ran the business from his mother's house in San Marino.
,br>Sometimes Rock's mineral-buying trips would last for almost two months and he would typically visit Peru first, where he knew he could get large quantities of specimens, then perhaps Chile, Bolivia and Brazil (where he mined quartz crystals with Ed Swoboda) before jumping across to Tsumeb, South-West Africa (until the dioptase ran out) and then up to India again via Nairobi before heading home, usually with a few days of rest and recuperation in Paris or London. Of course he had to be back in time for the Tucson Show!

Rock often went field collecting with some of his friends from the Mineralogical Society of Southern California, including Bob Bartsch, Bob Pedersen, Joe Siefke, Bruce Lee, Al Ordway and Jim Pucket. They dug meyerhofferite pseudomorphs after inyoite, great zeunerite, a pocket of cyanotrichite in the Grandview mine, and even collected underground in the Tri-State district. At the Brushy Creek mine in Missouri he saw acres of calcite and marcasite crystals that you could peel off the walls of the cave network, in many cases with only a screwdriver. One summer in Colorado he dug more than 1,000 pounds of amazonite crystal groups. He also collected atacamite at the Farola mine near Copiapo, Chile with Neil Pfaff. Recently he traveled regularly to China, and also to Ethiopia where he visited the area that produces amazonite, and brought back a couple of tons of that material. He also made a trip to Mali where he and Demetrius Pohl visited the Kays region and some of the localities that produce the specimens of prehnite, garnet and epidote that have recently been seen on the market.

Rock's business moved around over the years. He bought a property in Arcadia, California in 1977 and transferred his business there until the neighbors complained. In 1982 he moved his operations into some "incubator units" on Kruse Avenue in Monrovia, California, and later worked from a couple of other places. In 1995 he made his last move, into a 12,000-square-foot building in an industrial park at 12100 Spring Street in Baldwin Park, California.

Rock was an entertaining writer, and produced a number of articles, mostly for the Mineralogical Record, and gave many slide lectures on his travels, augmented by a large archive of mineral photos he took. Many of these photos he posted on Mindat. His little 1-inch brass scale bar was his trademark in every photo. He built a large personal collection of display-quality specimens, and recently become interested in rare minerals (building a systematic collection of about 3,200 species) and micromounts (about 5,000 mounts).

Label Addresses:
San Marino, California (1973-1977)
Arcadia, California (1977-1985)
Monrovia, California (1985-1992)
Baldwin Park, Calif. (1992-present)

Rock Currier passed away on September 25, 2015, a day after suffering a heart attack.
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Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. 2022
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at

Rock Currier

25 x 53 mm
(no address)

51 x 88 mm,
San Marino address (1973-1977), dated 1975.
A multiple-choice label to simplify the task of labeling Indian minerals

52 x 90 mm,
San Marino address (1973-1977).
Multiple-choice label to simplify the task of labeling California borate minerals

52 x 89 mm,
San Marino address (1973-1977).
Multiple-choice label to simplify the labeling of Southwest African specimens.

53 x 88 mm,
San Marino address (1973-1977).
Multiple-choice label to simplify the labeling of South African and Southwest African specimens.

55 x 90 mm,
San Marino address (1973-1977).
Multiple-choice label to simplify the labeling of Peruvian specimens.

51 x 88 mm,
San Marino address (1973-1977)