Cal Graeber and Leonard Himes have worked together
for decades but started mineral businesses quite
Cal grew up in southern California near the gem pegmatites
which led him to interest in geology as a profession. He earned
a BS in Geological Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines
and collected frequently in Colorado and the Southwest.
His first job was with a mining company in Canada for several
years, but he couldn't kick his love of specimens and joined
Pala Properties International as their specimen specialist. There
he learned the business, met major collectors and traveled
to mines in many countries. Cal built a fine collection of
California specimens in the process.
Leonard has collected minerals since grade school, despite
growing up in Florida. His first field collected specimen was a
Calcite replaced clam, dredged from the St. Johns River.
With encouragement by family, teachers, and the Ward's
Natural Science's catalog, his collection grew until his college
years. Leonard earned a BS in chemistry and a Teaching
Certificate at Florida State University, and began his teaching
career using summer breaks to travel the US and collect.
He discovered that rock shops would buy his finds and fund
his trips! He competed at shows and quickly found himself
retailing in a friend's booth. In 1973 he started Minerals
America and expanded sales throughout the southeastern US
Leonard bought specimens from Pala for years and when Cal
left to start his own business, he was invited to join Leonard
at the AFMS show in San Diego. It worked so well that they
continued their relationship at shows nationwide until today.
Leonard was impressed with Cal's ability to prepare specimens
and began working with Cal in the lab. After retiring from
teaching and moving to Colorado, he built his own state-ofthe
art lab and stays busy there between shows. He still enjoys
field collecting and his only personal collection consist of finds
from coast to coast, England and Italy.
Cal and Leonard now have fewer shows, but concentrate on a
wide variety of higher quality minerals. Both maintain home
showrooms for visitors and are in demand for lab, appraisal
and consulting work.