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Rock hounds-Collecting Rocks as a Pastime

Updated on April 11, 2020
Tricia Deed profile image

Met with some friends who enjoy the hobby of rock collecting. We talked about the different types of rocks they collected and I took notes.

Rocks - Nature's Creation

Gray and blue rocks.
Gray and blue rocks. | Source

Who Collects Rocks?

Why would anyone want to collect rocks?

It is an exciting and rewarding hobby of fun, adventure, and exploring for anyone who enjoys collecting common, unusual, luxury, and rare rocks on our planet.

The most common rock is sedimentary rocks, which include limestone, shale, and sandstone. These sediments originate from deposits in rivers, lakes, and oceans. Sediments dehydrate and harden into rock.

They use limestone in construction, water treatment, making gravel, landscaping, roofing, filler in plastic, paper, and paints. It will treat soil, purify water, and smelt copper. The purest limestone is marble. They use marble in works of art, interior and exterior decorating, and practical products.

We find natural gas and oil in shale. It is used to make building products of brick and tile. They may also use it in pottery manufacturing.

Commercial and residential buildings use sandstone. Stones are excellent for interior and exterior walls, household décor, counter tops, and tiles. Sandstone is a natural water aquifer. Kitchen counter of granite are very popular.

Sedimentary rocks also help us understand our existence of life on earth.

Color Patterns Effects

A simple brown rock with many color variations and patterns.
A simple brown rock with many color variations and patterns. | Source

What Rocks Interest Hobbyists?

People interested in collecting rocks see wonderment, and beauty in nature’s creation. There are various markings, colors, and designs on the exterior and interior portions of rocks.

We want to know how, when, where, and what are creating these interests. We find our journey for research, and knowledge in articles, books, magazines, and visual aids. Teachers and research personnel are excellent for acquiring knowledge to narrow our search and become more specialized.

We need not collect every rock, just those that capture our interest.

Reasons for Collecting

  1. Education
  2. Science
  3. History and culture
  4. Nature excursions
  5. Outdoor or indoor exercising
  6. Personal spiritual reasons
  7. Money and other financial purposes
  8. Treasure hunting fun
  9. Meeting people who share the same interests
  10. Arts and Crafts projects
  11. Vacationing rock locations

Small Rock Collection

Assorted color stones in a simple display.
Assorted color stones in a simple display. | Source

Where Do You Find Rocks?

Nature has an abundance of rocks anywhere and everywhere. Rocks are found at mountains, sea shore, rivers, lakes, mines, and loosely lying about anywhere.

Research and education about rocks will limit the collection. It is to our benefit to narrow our selection to one or two variations. A selection may be modest or elaborate.

Rocks are also available online, at specialty stores, auctions, estates, or private collectors.

Rock hounding is like bird watching. Birds and rocks are everywhere. That’s the predicament. There are so many categories it is troublesome to decide where to begin.

Where do you start?

  1. Visit local libraries, colleges and museums
  2. Join local rock club meetings
  3. Attend rock, gem, and mineral shows
  4. Talk to rock hounds for their interests, opinions, and experiences.
  5. Purchase a rock identification kit and guide book
  6. Invest in reference books to enlighten self of rocks, minerals, crystals, and gems.
  7. Contact a local Bureau of Land Management.
  8. Determine which rocks are available in your local area
  9. Gather essential tools for your rock interest.
  10. Catalog your collection.
  11. Provide displays and storage needs.

Purple Crystal

A purple jeode crystal.
A purple jeode crystal. | Source

List of Rocks and Gems in the USA

 
 
 
State
Rock or Stone
Gemstone
Alabama
Marble
Star blue Quartz
Alaska
 
Nephrite Jade
Arizona
 
Turquoise
Arkansas
Bauxite
Diamond
California
Serpentine
Benitoite
Colorado
Yale Marble
Aquamarine
Florida
Agatized Coral
Moonstone
Georgia
 
Quartz
Hawaii
 
Black Coral
Idaho
 
Star Garnet
Indiana
Salem limestone
 
Iowa
Keokuk geode
 
Kansas
Greenhourn limestone
Jelenite, a form of amber
Kentucky
Kentucky agate
Freshwater pearls
Maine
 
Tourmaline
Maryland
 
Patuxent River Stone Agate
Montana
Roxbury Puddingstone
Rhodonite
Michigan
Petosky stone fossilized oral
Chlorastrolite aka as Isle Royale
Missouri
 
Greenstone
Missippi
Petrified wood
Lake Superior Agate
Missouri
Mozarkite
 
Montana
 
Montana Sapphire
 
 
Montana Agate
Nebraska
 
Blue Agate
Neveda
Sandstone
Prarie agate
 
 
Black Fire Opal
New Hampshire
Granite
Turquoise
 
 
Smoky Quartz
New Mexico
 
Turquoise
New York
 
Garnet
North Carolina
Granite
Emerald
Ohio
 
Ohio Flint
Oklahoma
Rose Rock (Barite)
 
Oregon
 
Oregon Sunstone labradorite
Rhode Island
Cumberlandite
Labradorite
 
Blue Granite
 
South Carolina
Blue granite
Ameythyst
South Dakota
 
Fairburn agate
Tennessee
 
Tennessee River Pearls
 
 
Tennessee River Agate
Texas
Oligocene palmwood
Texas Blue Topaz
Utah
Coal
Topaz
Vermont
Granite
Grossular garnet
 
Marble
 
 
Slate
 
Washington
 
Petrified wood
West Virgina
Bituminous Coal
Missippian (Lithostrotionella fossil coral)
Wisconsis
Red granite
 
Wyoming
 
Wyoming Neophrite Jade
Source list from USA.gov.com.

Quartz

A sample of cracked red quartz.
A sample of cracked red quartz. | Source

Equipment for Collecting Specimens

Climbing mountains, walking river beds, and other rock collecting sites will require comfortable clothing and tools for collecting. Tools will also be needed to break and open rocks.

Tools and Supplies

  • Safety glasses or goggles

  • Shovels, picks, hammers, chisels specifically designed for collecting rocks.

  • Geologist kit

  • Protective gloves, safety shoes or boots, and appropriate clothing.

  • Hard hats are required in some locations.

  • Assorted brushes

  • Rock screen or strainer

  • Collection containers

  • Rock guide book and notebook

  • Specialty tools for advanced rock hounds

Collection and Cataloging

Cardboard boxes are excellent for storing rocks. Label the rocks with permanent ink or paint on the corner of the stone.

  • Record these numbers in a notebook with the specimen’s number, name, type of rock, date acquired, description of location site.
  • Describe its physical characteristics-mineral, crystal, or gemstone.
  • Record geologic information if available.
  • Other contributing information..

Labeling these rocks is as important as notebook recording. The history of the specimen may be one-of-a-kind and add value.

Blue and Grey Stone

A blue and grey stone on a white background.
A blue and grey stone on a white background. | Source

Rules and Regulations

There are laws governing rock collecting. Ask for permission if you wish to search an area on private property. Contact your local Land Management department, division of forestry, and wildlife department in your state or with the federal government for their list of rules.

Federal Listings

USA.gov https://www.usa.gov/laws-and-regs

USDA Forest Service https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/ethics/permit.shtml

USDA Bureau of Land Management https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies/bureau-of-land-management

Bureau of Land Management has no charge or permit to rock hound on public lands. However, there is no collecting in National Monuments.

It is best to check government rules and regulations before searching for rocks. The above three mentioned government organizations have maps, exploring lists, locations, and suggestions for rock hounding.

Opening and Identifying a Rock Collection

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