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Rock hounds-Collecting Rocks as a Pastime

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.

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.

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.

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.

List of Rocks and Gems in the USA

Source list from USA.gov.com.

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

Quartz

A sample of cracked red quartz.

A sample of cracked red quartz.

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.

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

Comments

Sp Greaney from Ireland on October 08, 2020:

I don't know anyone that does this but you article really does provides a lot of useful information for a newbie who wants to pursue this as an interest.