Early in my fetish collecting, I became enamored of Chinese turquoise, specifically the green stone with heavy black-to-gold matrix from the Hubei province. The carvings were pricey, so I didn't acquire many. Following that, I learned about native-to-Zuni stones, and religiously collected those. Beautiful, but mostly brown. So, I moved on to Royston seam turquoise, and boulder opal, and mother-of-pearl. I do have favorites, but I don't collect purely to have an example of every stone. It was years before I saw the beauty of ocean jasper, and it was almost gone before I got a couple of pieces. Same with Sonoran sunrise. And every week we get carvings in stones I've never seen before. There are people who collect strictly as an example of the material. The carving is secondary, and just a nice way to display their rock collection. Some of those collectors eventually appreciate the carvings as sculptural art, and others focus strictly on the mineral values. The reason is important only to the collector.
What do you collect?
I collect Zuni fetish carvings, Cochiti carvings, Pueblo pottery, baskets, sculpture, paintings, Japanese tea bowls, porcelain by my potter friend and her students, shoes.
My largest collection by number is Zuni fetishes. My first carving was a gift. I was attracted by a small glowing turquoise object in a case of pottery and asked what it was. I meant what is the object, what is the material, and what is it doing in the pottery case? It was a fluorite bear carved by Abby Quam, and the shop owner gave it to me. After that, during my frequent visits to the southwest, I always purchased an Abby Quam bear for my collection. The style was easy to spot even though Abby did not always sign her work. And she used many different stones, so I could usually find something new for my collection.
Ah, but that was early days.