Mineral expert and collector Marc Weill on why nature's gems are the new art
When it comes to decorating our homes, we often look for statement pieces that inspire dinner party conversation. Many of us also search for investment pieces, such as artwork, that not only bring enjoyment but also increase in value over time.
Marc Weill knows a thing or two about collecting investment pieces and personalizing home décor — but his expertise is not in painting or sculpture. The New York resident has made nature’s masterpieces his life’s work — those created from geological processes taking place thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface.
The mineral expert has loaned pieces from his collection to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science’s Lyda Hill Gems and Minerals Hall — including a silver specimen from Germany, aquamarine from Pakistan and tourmaline from Brazil. He and his partner, Richard Baquero, also create bespoke furniture and décor using nature’s most beautiful specimens.
“Even a set of one-of-a-kind agate coasters or crystal doorknobs can transform an everyday activity into a special experience,” Weill says. “It creates that ‘wow’ factor that simply cannot be reproduced.”
Weill recently was in Dallas for the June 2 Nature & Science Signature Auction at Heritage, in which this rose quartz went for more than $650,000. We chatted with him to learn more about minerals — and why they can be as collectible and precious as fine art.
“I’ve traveled across the globe to obtain the most beautiful, unique pieces that speak to me, and each specially curated specimen has an incredible story behind it,” Weill says.
“Lately we’re seeing a resurgence of minerals in interior design, but minerals have been used in the home for centuries. There are many believers out there who think that minerals have healing powers and, for one reason or another, have kept minerals in their home for beauty, energy and general aesthetics.”
Weill’s design collaboration with Baquero focuses on introducing people to minerals in the raw form as well as custom decor and furnishings. He can procure any mineral and find the best value, while his partner turns it into a piece of artful decor.
“There’s nothing more bespoke than a custom table built out of petrified wood specifically for your own home, or a lustrous crystal lamp [as a base or a sconce] to make a room pop with color and personality that reflects its inhabitants,” Weill says.
“Even a set of one-of-a-kind agate coasters or crystal doorknobs can transform an everyday activity into a special experience. It creates that ‘wow’ factor that simply cannot be reproduced.”
Custom decor like this can come at a price, however. The value of a mineral is determined by its beauty, origin and rarity. “Long, thin tourmaline crystals piercing out of a matrix, for example, is an incredibly rare and difficult piece to obtain,” Weill says. “It’s a one-in-a-million occurrence that the right materials came together at the right time and were actually found and procured with incredible care.”
The most perfect specimens are valued in the millions. The top 1 percent can double value over the course of a decade, making nature’s artwork a beautiful — and worthwhile — investment.
Weill and Boquero are in the process of building their website. If you are interested in a custom piece or collectible, inquiries can be directed to Elena Gaudino at 212-843-9280.