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Tony  Jones
(1950-2015)

Anthony William "Tony" Jones was born in Los Angeles, California on November 17, 1950, the son of Delia Choza and William C. Jones, a career military man. He grew up in East Los Angeles and then in El Monte California. He lived for two years in Mexico City, then his family moved back to California, to San Gabriel and then El Monte again. Tony attended Rio Hondo Junior College, then attended Cal State Los Angeles (and joined the MSSC--Mineralogical Society of Southern California), where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Geology in 1973. Tony also attended graduate school at Cal State Los Angeles (working as a Teaching Assistant in Paleontology) and Cal State Northridge.

Tony's mineral collecting began as a result of geology courses at Hondo Junior College. On one occasion he accompanied the Geology professor to George Burnham's Burminco shop in Monrovia; it was there that Tony bought his first specimens. He went on class field trips, and began spending weekends on his own collecting minerals all over California, Arizona and New Mexico. In 1971, while still in school, he began making extra money by selling minerals.

Upon leaving college he worked as a laboratory technician for Interpace Corporation Research Center in Glendale, California. He eventually became field trip chairman for the MSSC for several years--taking the club to such places as San Benito County for artinite and demantoid garnets and the Thompson mine at the time when it was producing the very large colemanites. It was on one of those field trips that Tony met the Tucson Show chairpeople, Bill and Millie Schupp, who were very grateful for being allowed to come along; the Schupps later arranged a place for Tony in the wholesale section of the Tucson Show.

His job with Interpace Corporation ended in 1974, and he decided to become a full-time mineral dealer, under the name of "California Rock and Mineral Company." Some of his mentors back then were Dick Jones of Casa Grande, Arizona and John Whitmire of Yuma, Arizona. Tony also became friends with Thomas Gary Nagin, and they took a trip together to Peru and Bolivia in late 1974, spending three months there traveling all over buying specimens. They had great success and Tony continued to make regular buying trips to those two countries while still doing a fair amount of field collecting in Arizona, Utah and California.

He began advertising in Rocks & Minerals in September 1975, as a wholesale-only mineral company located at 6136 North Ivar Street in Temple City, California (where he had lived since 1971). From 1975 to 1979 he lived at 9447 East La Rosa Drive in Temple City, and from 1979 to 1982 he was at 1812 Evergreen Drive in Duarte, California.

In 1980 Tony and Gary Novak leased a variscite mine in Nevada from Jim Puckett and collected several tons of what turned out to be gem chalcosiderite. That same year Tony went to Peru with Ken Roberts and together they purchased the extraordinary rhodochrosite collection of the mining company's dentist at the Huallapon mine. Ken was less well-known at the time, so Tony let him take credit for the haul, and Ken sold all of the great specimens including the one that went to the Smithsonian and has been pictured so many times (including on the cover of the Mineralogical Record in September-October 1980).

Then, in November 1980, an unprecedented strike of pink octahedral fluorite took place at the Huanzala mine in Peru. Tony and Curt Van Scriver, who were touring Ecuador and Peru at the time, purchased many wonderful specimens from Huanzala miner Freddy Hermosilla, and one of Tony's appeared on the cover of the May-June 1981 Mineralogical Record. (Rock Currier and Dan Belsher also bought good lots at the same time, from Freddy's brothers Hector and Grover.)

In 1981 Tony began traveling to Europe and Morocco, where he picked up many specimens from old localities and arranged many exchanges with museums in Germany and France. He also traveled to many of the Eastern Block countries including Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany. He imported many minerals and fossils from Morocco, and spent much time each year in Europe as well as Mexico, where he mined sulfur in Baja California with John Whitmire. He was also involved in a large lot of Batopilas native silvers with John Whitmire and Curt Van Scriver. Tony and Curt traveled to Mexico together and found many fine minerals at Naica and Santa Eulalia, then traveled together to Europe where they picked up a great lot of erythrites and some very fine Moroccan specimens of azurite and malachite pseudomorphs. His long-time friends Stefan Stolte and Joaquim Karl provided Tony with assortments of minerals from Europe for many years.

In 1984, when Beth Gordon died, Tony and Cal Graeber purchased her thumbnail collection from her husband, Gordy, and dispersed it. Tony traveled to Papua, New Guinea for gold crysrals in 1989, and to Venezuela for gold crystals and diamonds, scoring (with Stefan Stolte) some incredible crystals which were sold to a private collector.

Tony had a shop at 2559 Pomona Blvd. in Brea in 1983, then moved the shop acrosss the street to 2587 Pomona Blvd., where it stayed from 1984-1986. From 1986 to 1988 the shop was back at 2559 Pomona Blvd. (he was living in nearby Brea at the time). He then moved to Fallbrook, California where he lived from 1988 to 1993. Before moving to Fallbrook, he took a trip to Australia, where he purchased a collection of crocoites and other Australian minerals, and made many contacts for Australian minerals and fossils. In 1992 Tony visited the amethyst district in Guerrero, Mexico (with Achim Karl and Gary Lass), and purchased one of the largest and best lots of Ametitlan amethyst ever to come out--600 to 700 specimens, including beautiful, perfect, deep purple clusters up to 18 inches tall.

In 1993 He moved to Royal, Arkansas, where he lived until 2001. Meanwhile he made more buying trips to Peru and Bolivia, where he acquired some of the finest vivianites and ludlamites ever found. He also imported literally a ton of "ametrine" (amethyst and citrine) crystals from Bolivia. While in Arkansas he traveled to China and spenty six weeks there, purchasing some great stibnites for the time, as well as scheelites and cassiterites and other assorted minerals. While in Arkansas he also had the oppertunity to buy probably the finest wavellites ever to come out of that state.

In 2001 Tony settled in Santa Rosa, California, but still used his Glen Ellen address, since he was so close to that post office. He sold his personal collection many years ago, so as not to be in competition with his customers. He used to do many shows (usually in the wholesale section), but his diabetes and kidney problems in recent years restricted his travel. He kept active by selling to various shops in southern California, and by selling on eBay (seller's name = calroqaw). He enjoyed gardening and cooking, and took many courses from cooking schools in northern and southern California. He also did some nature photography. In 2007 Tony relocated to Sahuarita, Arizona, near Tucson, and occasionally gave talks to the META group (Mineral Enthusiasts of the Tucson Area).

Tony was married several times during his long career in minerals (though none of his wives ever became involved in the business), and has two daughters: Wendy Biebesheimer and Erica Mullins. He passed away on November 7, 2015.

Addresses on labels can be dated as follows:
6136 N. Ivar St. (1971-1975)
9447 E. La Rosa Dr. (1975-1979)
1812 Evergreen Dr. (1979-1982)
2559 Pomona Blvd. (1983)
2587 Pomona Blvd. (1984-1986)
2559 Pomona Blvd. (1986-1988)
Fallbrook (1988-1993)
Royal, Arkansas (1983-2001)
Santa Rosa/Glen Ellen (2001-2007) Sahuarita, Arizona (2007- )
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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The Mineralogical Record - Tony  Jones Tony Jones (at the Tucson Show in 1979)
The Mineralogical Record - Tony  Jones 52 x 74 mm,
Ivar Street address, 1971-1975.
The Mineralogical Record - Tony  Jones 39 x 56 mm,
Ivar Street address, 1971-1975.
The Mineralogical Record - Tony  Jones 39 x 59 mm,
La Rosa address, 1975-1979.
The Mineralogical Record - Tony  Jones 40 x 62 mm,
2587 Pomona Boulevard address, 1984-1986.
The Mineralogical Record - Tony  Jones 40 x 59 mm,
2559 Pomona Boulevard address, 1983 or 1986-1988.
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