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Mineral Collecting

Updated on December 17, 2016

Assorted rocks and minerals

A collection of different rocks and minerals
A collection of different rocks and minerals


A Herkimer Diamond crystal
A Herkimer Diamond crystal

Collecting rocks,minerals and crystals,tools you will need to go field collecting

Mineral collecting in the field is a great hobby for everyone.Adults and children can enjoy a day out in nature.Field collecting also can be a great way to get exercise,as it may include a hike to the collecting area.All in all it is wholesome hobby and one the entire family can enjoy.

In these times of economic hardships it is a inexpensive way to entertain children.It only takes a few tools to get started.First and foremost you will need safety glasses.A small digging claw like you use in the garden makes a great digging tool,or you can use a small garden shovel to dig with.These can be bought for a dollar at the dollar stores.A rock hammer or a masons hammer,a chisel and a container to carry your rocks in.A masons hammer can be found at a hardware store and a cold chisel also.Both the hammer and chisel can be bought for under 20 dollars.Never use a regular hammer to break rocks with.Regular hammers are not tempered and will chip when used to hit rocks.This is very dangerous and can cause eye injuries..Any old bucket can be used to carry rocks in.I have found old dry wall plaster buckets work great and can sometimes be gotten for free from construction workers.Some people use backpacks to carry their rocks in.Using a backpack works well as you can carry food and drink in the pack also.A good field collecting book is also needed to identify rocks and minerals.If you are going for gem minerals or crystals it is a good idea to carry newspaper or paper towels to wrap them in so they do not get damaged.So there you have it.A few tools and you are ready to go field collecting.

As you progress in the hobby you may want to include more tools,Pry bars,sledge hammers,hand truck or a wagon for long hauls over flat terrain.As I became interested in fluorescent minerals I found a mineral lamp for field collecting a valuable tool.Another little item is a jewelers loop.Micro crystals can be very beautiful and some collectors only collect micro mounts.Micro mounts are small crystals.Collecting is for myself and many a never ending form of enjoyment and learning.

Thumbnail Specimens

A collection of Herkimer Diamond crystals
A collection of Herkimer Diamond crystals

Quartz crystal collecting

Different Collecting Ideas

As a mineral collector you can become aware of different aspects of collecting.You can specialize in a certain mineral ,location,size and other qualities such as ore minerals,gemstones or precious metals.

Mineral specimen

Garnierite mineral specimen
Garnierite mineral specimen

Size Matters

Mineral collectors have separated groups of mineral sizes to categorize their collections .This way we all come together on the size by placing the minerals in each group.Here is the list of common mineral sizes.

Thumbnail(TN) 3/4"to 11/8" and any specimen that fits into a 1.25 inch square "Perky Box" .

Miniature(Min) 11/8"to 2"specimen larger than a thumbnail (TN), that can fit into a 2-inch square box.

Small Cabinet Specimen(SCab) 2"to 4" a specimen larger than a Miniature (Min) and smaller than a Cabinet (Cab).

Cabinet(Cab) Over 4"A specimen larger than 4 inches (10 cm ) in a dimension.

Museum Large specimens with exceptional qualities are called museum pieces.

It does pay to know the different sizes and the names when you talk with other collectors.This is especially true if you do trading or selling of the specimens.Most people collect only one size and want only that size for their collection.Many people do not get to strict and will vary a bit on the size,still someone who collects Thumbnails is not going to put a Cabinet piece into his collect usually.As I have said some collectors like my self are not to rigid and collect in different size specimens.The fact is being a field collector I have pieces from every size in my personal collection.

Collecting quartz crystals

Mineral Collecting


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    • profile image

      Leonardo 5 years ago

      I have a rock it's like 5'' x7'' garnierite nickel ore rock of the new caledonia mines of November 1967 does any one know how much $ is it worth ??

    • glowingrocks profile image

      glowingrocks 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks for stopping bye vocalcoach.Glad you liked this hub.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      I enjoyed this hub very much. Looking forward to reading more of your hubs. You are really an expert in this field. Rated up - :) vocalcoach

    • glowingrocks profile image

      glowingrocks 7 years ago from New York


      The search begins each spring.The mining gets expensive and the work is hard.You have to enjoy it or it is NO fun at all.Some collecting can be easy in old or working quarries for instance or along rivers and streams.Thanks for stopping in.

    • attemptedhumour profile image

      attemptedhumour 7 years ago from Australia

      hi glowing rocks, i haven't tried mineral collecting and being 59 i think that i may have left my run a little late. i've got a mate who lives in Coober Pede who used to dig for opals, but the fuel and dynamite is too expensive to warrant it. He owns two houses cut into a hill. He's finished one and is working on the other. It's a harsh environment, but he seems to like it. Cheers and good luck with your search.