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David Eidahl

David Duane Eidahl was born in Los Angeles, California on January 27, 1956, the son of Charlotte and Duane W. Eidahl. He first became interested in minerals when he was in the Boy Scouts. David and his father would go on hiking trips in the Santa Monica Mountains, near where the Getty Museum is now located, and Dave would find interesting rocks to carry back. Later, when he was in his ‘teens, he displayed his collection at the "Red Carpet Shows" in Santa Monica. Mineral dealers Jean Hamel and David Wilber took an encouraging interest in his collection, and showed him their collections. Wilber's superb taste in specimens was an important influence, and attending the annual Tucson Show also proved highly educational.

After graduating from Pacific Palisades High School in 1974, Dave enrolled at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California and worked part-time for William Larson at the Pala International mineral and gem dealership in Fallbrook, California. Bill became Dave's chief mentor, and Cal Graeber and Curt Van Scriver helped him as well. Leaving college after two years, he became a full-time employee at Pala in 1976, and in 1977 wrote a guest editorial for The Mineralogical Record entitled "Helping the new collectors." By 1982 had been promoted to Director of Mineral Sales and Purchases for Pala and their Fallbrook store, "The Collector."

In a short span of years David Eidahl assembled a truly world-class collection of 32 "miniature" (2 x 2 inches or less) mineral specimens, acquired mostly through his position at Pala, particularly through exchanges Pala made with Paul Desautels at the Smithsonian Institution. Paul favored young collectors, and probably traded things to Dave that he would not otherwise have let go. Dave's collection won the prestigious McDole Trophy at the 1980 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, as well as the Lidstrom Award for the best single specimen. (He remains the youngest recipient ever to win those two awards.) Each of his specimens is of incredibly high quality, and four have appeared on covers of The Mineralogical Record. One specimen, a California gold, is one of the "Famous 25" originally in the renowned collection of William S. Vaux (1811-1882).

David married Karen D. Wieveg in 1978. He died suddenly on May 31, 1982, at the age of 26, from a congenital cerebral aneurism while unloading specimens at The Collector shop. In 2007 his parents donated a portion of his collection to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and placed the remainder there on loan, with the intention of donating additional portions periodically in the future.

KAMPF, A. (2007) The David Eidahl mineral collection. Mineralogical Record, 38 (4), 303-312.
California Death Index.
William F. Larson, personal communication (2007).
California Marriage Index.
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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - David Eidahl Dave Eidahl assembling his showcase at the 1979 Tucson Show.
The Mineralogical Record - David Eidahl Dave Eidahl with his McDole and Lidstrom trophies at the 1980 Tucson Show.
The Mineralogical Record - David Eidahl Gold, 4 cm, from the Massachusetts Lode, Grass Valley, California. One of the "Famous 25" specimens from the collection of William S. Vaux (1811-1882), acquired by Eidahl.
The Mineralogical Record - David Eidahl Metatorbernite, 7 cm, from the Musonoi mine, Katanga, Congo. Eidahl collection.
The Mineralogical Record - David Eidahl Silver crystal cluster, 4.5 cm, from Kongsberg, Norway. Eidahl collection.
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