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Chris Wright

Chris Anthony Wright, long-time proprietor of Wright's Rock Shop in Hot Springs, Arkansas, was born April 25, 1946 in Lubbock, Texas, the son of Clark "Buster" Wright, a construction worker, and L. B. Dickey. Chris and his family moved frequently, to be near various construction sites in Colorado Springs, Denver, Lubbock, Hot Springs and other places while he was growing up; they settling in Hot Springs in 1967, where he graduated from high school. Chris claimed to have started collecting minerals at the tender age of nine months! His godfather-uncle was a pit supervisor at the Clifton/Morenci mines in Arizona, and when Chris and his family visited there in 1947, Chris was given a piece of chrysocolla—which he retained for the rest of his life! Early influences on his collecting were Harvey Kendrick; a mineral dealer named Lister in Manitou Springs; the Denver dealer Dr. Heinz Eckert; a dealer named Brown in Woodland Park, Colorado; and Ocus Stanley in Arkansas. Jeff Sparks (Chris's brother-in-law) and his parents went to great efforts to find mineral specimens for him when he was young.

Chris attended a number of different colleges, in particular Texas Technological University (1964-1967), and Little Rock University (1968, BS in Geology, Ecology, Biology, History). He earned his Masters Degree from the University of Arkansas in 1969 (Botany, Zoology, Geology), and did subsequent work in Ecology at the University of Arkansas (1970-1971).

From a very early age Chris wanted to be a mineral dealer, and when he was only 14 he purchased the entire stock of a local rock shop. He had also purchased large lots of minerals before that period as well, and when he would travel on vacations with his family he took along part of his stock to sell. He rented a building to house his collection and was selling specimens by mail-order beginning in 1967. In 1970 Wright's Rock Shop in Hot Springs officially opened, specializing in fluorite (Elmwood and Illinois), smithsonite, worldwide minerals, new finds, Arkansas minerals, etc. That was also the year he attended his first show as a dealer. During the 1970s he sometimes purchased a mineral collection or a rock shop every week, and over the years he handled too many collections to recount, the most significant recent examples being the collections of Rev. Carl Yagley and Bob Clearwater. He was also involved in commercial specimen mining projects at the White Phantom Crystal mine and several othe quartz and wavellite localities in Arkansas.

Chris wrote many articles on mineral localities for Gems and Minerals magazine, and wrote an article on "Rockhounding In Arkansas" for Lapidary Journal. He also wrote books on "Crystal Knowledge" and on the "Flora of Pea Ridge Military Park." Over the years he gave too many lectures to count at shows and club meetings (usually on collecting sites) and was frequently a guest on the "Good Morning Arkansas" television program.

The Wright family has always been involved in the business. Chris's parents often ran the shop for him while he was traveling and at shows, and his wife Linda (now deceased) often traveled with him; his daughter Shara Renee (Wright) Jones, his nephew Mark Sparks, and his sister LeNoira Sparks have all been involved in the business, as has Chris Hughes. Chris (Wright) collected tourmaline, smithsonite, fluorite, and world-wide minerals, and field-collected at important localities in Colorado, California, and Arkansas. On the side, he also enjoyed collecting New Mexican Indian Pottery (from 1960 forward), art glass, and coins. At the time of his death on January 8, 2014, he no longer had a substantial personal collection of minerals.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Chris Wright Chris Wright
(Tucson Show, 1987)
The Mineralogical Record - Chris Wright 39 x 76 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Chris Wright 38 x 77 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Chris Wright 39 x 76 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Chris Wright 38 x 76 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Chris Wright 38 x 77 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Chris Wright 38 x 77 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Chris Wright 38 x 75 mm
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