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Håkan the mineral collector

Deep inside the caves, he finds a world that always shimmers.

Even if it’s a relatively unknown world for some of us, our planet is full of beautiful minerals and passionate people who spend a lifetime collecting them. Håkan Hansson, a Getinge superstar operator, is one of them.

Håkan Hansson was born and raised in Småland, one of the largest provinces in Sweden dominated by a forested high plain.

“I spent most of the time in my childhood outside – running around in the woods and mountains or exploring deep caves. Inside, there where beautiful things that shimmered,” Håkan remembers.

His interests for minerals began already then, and even if it has gone up and down through the years it has always remained as one of his greatest passions in life.

Passionate people at Getinge Hakan

Minerals are often associated with rocks due to the presence of minerals within rocks, but it’s not the same thing. Minerals are naturally occurring, inorganic solids with a definite chemical composition and a crystal lattice structure.

As a mineral collector you collect, identify and display mineral specimens. And the world is definitely full of people doing this: dealers, investors and some who just do it for the beauty and the challenge.

Before information got digitalized and easier accessible thanks to the World Wide Web, Håkan looked for minerals on a free-basis. Today, there are much better opportunities with global online communities for mineral collectors, showing maps of all known caves in the world.

“Earlier, I mainly used a book called Minerals in Sweden, a real bible for someone like me. Today we can all contribute to and use maps online where mineral hot spots are marked out. Sometimes you find the minerals easily, but sometimes you need to look for months before finding the exact spot.”

Håkan is ready to travel great distances to find the right specimen, but most commonly he doesn’t have to go far since Swedish caves are very rich in minerals compared to many other parts of the world. This gives Håkan the opportunity to sell or trade minerals with others.

“Most of my ‘customers’ live in the US where they don’t have some of the rare minerals that we are lucky enough to have here in Sweden. A few of them are extremely valuable and it’s common for people to make jewelry out of them. Some people even believe the minerals have healing effects.”

His most strikingly beautiful minerals, Håkan keeps for himself in a collection at home. Some of his favorites are Swedish sphalerites, fluorites, garnet, amazonites and chlorites.

Håkan thinks it is the love for the nature; the woods, the mountains and the caves that still makes him go out and collect minerals. It is also a passion he shares together with his wife.

“We love putting on the boots and head torches and climb into new caves. Sometimes we look for hours, and all of a sudden you come to a bright cave room where everything shimmers in a magical light. It’s amazing.”

When he is not collecting minerals Håkan works at Getinge’s factory in the village of Getinge, building autoclaves for life science customers worldwide.

“I really like my work and the people around me. We are all very dedicated to our work and the atmosphere in the factory is great. It’s a good contrast to my mineral collecting journeys during weekends.”

Håkan has many places left to explore, but one place he loves going back to is the deep forest in Småland where he once grew up.

“I have returned several times and found some truly rare specimens. There are many places I want to go in the future but it’s very convenient to have some of the world’s most stunning samples just a few hours’ drive away from home.”