Lighting mineral collections using LED fixtures may not seem like the obvious first choice, but diode technology is quickly outpacing other fixtures in several ways. Traditionally, halogen fixtures are used to display geological samples, as incandescent and fluorescent fixtures aren’t ideal for the point illumination that these subjects require. However, halogen fixtures lag behind diode fixtures in a couple ways, specifically in terms of efficiency and flexibility. And modern diode models rival halogen illumination in power, so they can serve as the lynchpin in a variety of displays.
What are the principles behind lighting mineral collections using LED?
Collectors of geological samples take their subjects seriously, and every collector has their own way of storing samples. Some are fine with storing away everything in labeled cardboard boxes, while others want to present their collections for the enjoyment of others. And nothing shines like a geology collection when it is illuminated properly. The problem is, it can be tough setting up fixtures for a display.
Distribution and arrangement of illumination is priority one when working with geology. That’s because every sample features interesting patches of color, reflective surfaces and dramatic angles. If a collector settles for a large fluorescent or incandescent fixture, these defining characteristics will be lost, leaving the sample appearing lifeless. It’s the same reason why jewelry shops expend so much effort when setting up fixtures for their displays. Inside the glass cabinet, a gem appears brilliant when bathed in focused illumination. Take it outside in the sun, though, and it looks flat. The same concept applies when showing off a collection of geological samples.
That’s why most experts encourage the use of low voltage track or strip fixtures in these displays. Both are capable of producing localized areas of high intensity illumination, while remaining flexible and easy to install. As a person’s collection grows, additional fixtures will be required and they will need to match existing fixtures in appearance. Low voltage track and strip diodes are easy to add or remove from a display, and they consist of less wiring, so they are easier to handle.
However, though it’s not the most important factor, color temperature is something to keep in mind when lighting mineral collections using LED fixtures. Some samples will look better under warmer yellow-orange tones, while others need cooler hues to reach their full display potential. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to set up a system where every sample is placed under optimal illumination, but diodes do allow for a range of customization options. With an expert’s help, a collector can get a uniform look that does a fine job in general. What can also help is keeping the fixtures concealed and set at an appropriate output level. Because geological samples have a tendency to reflect a lot of light, removing glare and exposed fixtures will prevent observers from feeling overwhelmed.
Collectors can spend thousands of dollars on their prized samples, and a cheap set of fixtures won’t get the job done. Instead, investing in a set of sophisticated diode fixtures, and the expert help required to set them up, will pay off major dividends, especially if a collector plans on sharing their collection with others.