James Sampson’s collection of fossils on Thursday, Jan. 26, at his store on 155 Front St. in downtown Farmington. Sampson has been building this collection for years, with fossils coming from all over the world. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

FARMINGTON — James Sampson, a newly minted resident of Strong, has opened a new shop at 155 Front St. in downtown Farmington, and his specialty is crystals, minerals, and fossils.

Open since October of 2022, Nature Boy Jim’s Crystal Emporium offers Franklin County a glimpse of his collection of rare crystals, ultraviolet reactive minerals, and fossils that he has purchased from all over the world.

Originally from Massachusetts, Sampson had a shop opened just before the pandemic that he was only able to keep open for a year.

“I had a store for a year that I couldn’t even let anybody in,” he said on Thursday, Jan. 26, at his shop. “It was bad timing. Literally 30 days after I signed the lease down. I didn’t even finish setting up.”

The name of Sampson’s establishment derives itself from a nickname he got from his youth.

“The kids in my neighborhood called me Nature Boy Jim,” he said. “It was meant to be derogatory because I was always off in the woods, catching salamanders and stuff while they were playing kickball or whatever. So, I was dubbed a Nature Boy and [the name] kind of stuck.


“I embraced that later in life. And I was like, ‘Yeah, I am Nature Boy’,” he added. “I love that song by Nat King Cole.”

James Sampson, owner of Nature Boy Jim’s Crystal Emporium, shows off one of his favorite pieces on Thursday, Jan. 26. In his hand is black tourmaline, which is believed by some to absorb negative energy. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

Sampson’s interest in crystals and fossils is based in science, as well as the striking beauty of some pieces in his collection.

“I like the science of it,” he stated. “A lot of people are into the metaphysical aspects of it more than the science aspects of it. You know, like their healing qualities and stuff. I respect that. I just like the beauty.”

Sampson spent years building his collection, buying from sellers in Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, China, Namibia, and Colombia. Sampson will often go straight to the source, contacting mines and buying in bulk. Over time, Sampson has developed a keen eye for spotting fakes.

“I’ve been fooled before,” he said. “Like some amber is fake. You got to watch out for that. Sometimes the dinosaur teeth are fake. It’s a risk, especially more so in fossils.”

Some of Sampson’s favorite pieces are UV reactive minerals, which change color when put under ultraviolet light. Sampson hopes to have a room dedicated to UV minerals someday, where guests can switch on the UV light and observe the change in color some minerals will display.

Sampson stays active on Instagram and Facebook, taking pictures and livestreaming pieces that are available for sale. For more information on Sampson and his business, call 774-292-0220 or email him at nbjcrystals@gmail.com. His Facebook page, facebook.com/Natureboyjim/ and Instagram Natureboyjim’s_crystal_emporium also include purchasing information.

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