Geodes are one of the, if not the number 1 rock collected by enthusiasts and die-hard rock hounds. You have to admit, it’s pretty cool to find or buy a geode nodule and then cut or crack it open to see what the inside looks like. Will you get one lined with amethyst or clear quartz? Does it have agate around the skin and druzy quartz in the middle? The possibilities are limitless and that is why everyone loves geodes.
Outwardly, Geodes are easily overlooked, but once cracked open, they display colorful crystals. It’s one of many gifts of Nature.
List of Ways To Open A Geode
There are several ways to open a geode. Of course, some methods are more practical, while others may risk damaging the specimen if not done with care. It would be a shame to take time trying to open these amazing balls of rock just to be left with something damaged.
- Breaking Method – uses blunt force to crack the geode open. Sledgehammers are the tool of choice for many.
- Chiseling – use a rock chisel to score the exterior of the geode, creating a line to split the specimen better.
- Striking Method – this method is best for smaller, golf-sized geodes.
- Cutting – There are a couple of ways to cut open a geode, and one of them requires a diamond blade saw or Dremel.
- Cracking – using a cast iron pipe snap cutter will literally crack a geode open like a nut, but in a neater and cleaner fashion.
- Microwaves – said to remove all of the moisture from the geode, making it easier to break into.
- Hot Water – this method utilizes hot water and rapid cooling to get a geode to crack on its own.
My favorite method for opening a geode would be with a diamond saw blade. It provides an extremely clean cut and allows you to easily polish the surface which makes for a great specimen to be added to anyone’s collection. If you need help with valuing your geode then use my free guide.
How To Cut Open A Geode
Using a traditional diamond saw for rocks is the best way to cut open a geode. Some rockhounds have outfitted a traditional bench mount saw with a diamond saw blade and that seems to be working well for enthusiasts. One thing you’ll need to solve is the water to keep the blade cool. An advantage to this method is that you end up with two perfect halves.
As with anything, there are always disadvantages. For instance, if you don’t already have the equipment, you’ll have to buy or rent it. Plus, the diamond blade size will need to be slightly larger than the geode you cut open. You don’t want the blade to be too big or too small.
A vise grip will be used to hold the geode in place which allows you to be hands-free while making your precise cut. Smaller trim saws don’t have this feature which means you’ll hold the smaller-sized geodes with your hands.
How To Break Open A Geode
Breaking a geode is a blunt force method and the results can be messy. Here’s a free tip, place the geode inside a sock or fabric bag to keep small shards of rock from flying all over the place. With your geode in the bag, gently strike it with a sledgehammer, rock hammer, or a rock that’s harder than the geode. The force should fracture the geode enough so you can further crack it open.
Using this method means you’re geode will most likely end up in a few pieces (maybe more.) With a bit of practice and a little luck, you might be able to split the specimen nicely in half. However, using blunt force to open a geode usually results in rough and uneven edges.
How To Open A Geode With Hot Water
Rocks can crack when they’re exposed to rapid heat, followed by rapid cooling. Many people use this method to open created or manufactured geodes instead of the natural varieties.
To open a geode using hot water, you’ll first have to boil some water before placing the specimen into it for several minutes. Some people boil water in the microwave with the geode included.
While it may be possible to open your geode using this method if the specimen is quickly cooled, it’s not a guarantee. After you apply this process you might need to tap on the geode with a hammer to assist with opening it. There is also the slight possibility that the mineral contents within the geode could be damaged.
How To Open A Geode With A Microwave
The best way to open a geode using the microwave method depends on the size and type of geode. However, as a general rule, it seems most efficient to microwave the specimen for about two minutes on medium heat.
Before you toss your geode into the microwave, it should be completely free and clean of any debris or dirt. You might also want to use a wire brush to remove any loose crystals from the geode’s surface. Once your geode is clean and ready, put it into the microwave on medium heat. Set the timer for two minutes or until the specimen has heated up sufficiently- it should be hot to the touch. Be mindful to avoid overheating the geode, as it can cause damage to the crystals within. Make sure you allow the geode to cool down before handling it.
Microwaving a geode causes the water inside to vaporize which builds pressure from the steam. The steam needs to be released and that is why the geode cracks open or in some cases explodes. If you feel this method is a little risky and not worth the effort then are plenty of other methods for cracking open a geode.
How To Open A Geode With A Chisel
For this task, you’ll need a rock or masonry flat chisel and a hammer. If you’re looking for a bit more precision to create a more iconic geode image that’s perfectly split into two relatively equal pieces, using the hammer and chisel method is an excellent option. A hammer and chisel combined with some patience and skill should crack open a geode quite nicely.
With your chisel, slowly tap around the circumference of the specimen. The goal is to slowly score the edge of the geode rather than cracking it open. Once the exterior of the geode has been scored around the entire circumference, you can use more forceful blows the second time around. This will eventually force the geode open along the scoreline made with the chisel.
How To Open A Small Geode
Using any of the methods listed above on small geodes can be challenging. One of the best ways to crack open a small geode is to strike it with another larger geode or a harder rock. However, this only works if you control the striking stone in the palm of your hand. This method is best for small, golf-ball-sized specimens.
How Much Does It Cost To Open A Geode?
The price to open a geode will vary. You could visit a lapidary shop and pay anywhere from $25 and up. Of course, the amount will differ depending on the size of the specimen and the type of geode. If you’re interested in buying the tools, you’ll still pay anywhere from $25 up to thousands of dollars if you go with the diamond saw option. A hammer and chisel seem to be the more affordable route.
Rockhounding Tip: If you don’t want to pay a rock shop to cut it open and you’re looking to get more involved with digging for rocks then you should join a rock and mineral club. I’m willing to be there’s a member with a nice diamond saw that would be willing to cut it open for you.