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A.B. Crim

Albert Bernard Crim, the earliest major dealer in "Herkimer diamond" quartz crystals, was born in Winfield, Herkimer County, New York in 1853, the son of Bernard Crim and Ruth Townsend, farmers. He married Francis "Fannie" Rix in Newport in 1879, and they had two children, Bernard and Lamott. He began collecting Herkimer quartz in 1876 (according to an ad in 1890 claiming 14 years collecting experience), and began selling specimens in 1878. Albert must have had a decent education, because in 1880, at the age of 27, he was employed as a schoolteacher in Newport, and by 1889 was Principal of the school in Middleville (Newport and Middleville are about 5 miles apart; Crim probably lived somewhere in between). He was, by then, known as "Professor"; a January 1890 announcement in the Herkimer Democrat read: "Prof. and Mrs. A. B. Crim attended the 40th wedding anniversary of Mr. Crim's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Crim, of Cedarville, the 27th." By 1910, however, he was retired from teaching and making his living as a farmer.

Advertising under the name of A.B. Crim, his offers of Herkimer quartz crystals for sale first appeared in The Exchangers' Monthly in August 1887. He spent much of his life collecting Herkimer quartz and was an acknowledged local expert. By 1893 he had accumulated some 4,000 specimens including twinned crystals, crystals with carbon inclusions and liquid inclusions, smoky crystals, crystal clusters and matrix specimens, all of which he exhibited at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago--winning the highest award. According to Arthur Chamberlain (in an 1895 ad), over 30,000 Herkimer quartz crystals were sold at the Exposition. He had countless tiny crystals so small that 20,000 of them weighed only an ounce. Ultimately Crim sold his fabulous collection, as announced in the July 1895 issue of The Mineral Collector. However, he kept on collecting, and in 1901 exhibited another large collection of crystals at the Panamerican Exposition in Buffalo, and again was awarded the highest medal. He died February 3, 1916.

ANON (1893) A notable exhibit. Minerals, 3, 11-12, 174-176.
KEESLER, M.P. (2004) Discovering the Valley of the Crystals.
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The Mineralogical Record - A.B. Crim A.B. Crim ad for Herkimer quartz crystals in the August 1890 issue of The Exchangers' Monthly.
The Mineralogical Record - A.B. Crim A.B. Crim's award-winning exhibit of self-collected Herkimer quartz crystals at the Columbian Exposition (World's Fair) in Chicago in 1893.
The Mineralogical Record - A.B. Crim
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