Rock Collection Appraisals

There are a few reasons someone may want to have their rock collection appraised. While some people simply want to know what their collection is worth for their personal records, others may want to sell their rock collection, purchase insurance, or donate them.

Aside from the “why,” another common question is where or who offers rock collection appraisals. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. That doesn’t mean we don’t have one for you, but let’s start with the basics.


Rock Collection Appraisal Basics

While there are several ways you can have your rock collection or specimens appraised, let’s go over some basic information you should know.

When Do You Need A Professional Appraisal of Your Rock Collection?

Simply put, when you want to donate, sell, or insure it. If you bought the collection or specimens within it, you know what you paid for it. However, this doesn’t mean that the cost to purchase it will be the same as its current value.

There are horror stories of people selling their collection for the price they paid, only to discover that the current value was much higher. Conversely, many collectors over-value their collection only to find out a dealer isn’t willing to buy it. That said, to sell your rock collection as a whole, you should know its real value.

Suppose you intend to donate your rock collection to a museum or an institution. In that case, it’s essential that you have a current, updated appraisal to reap any tax benefits. Even if you’re not worried about a deduction, the donee will want to know the collection’s actual value.

If you have a high-value collection, it’s wise to have insurance. Insurance agencies will require a professional appraisal, and you’ll want to have a detailed inventory, including photos, to assist the authorities in the event that your collection is stolen.

While you might find someone who can identify your specimen, there are so many variations of the materials based on their color, origin, or patterns that it can be challenging to find someone who can identify some rare varieties. Not to mention, the value can vary widely based on that info.


What Should An Appraisal Include?

A gemstone or rock collection appraisal should include much more than the current value of your collection. Professional assessments should consist of a detailed gemological description of each specimen along with photos and gemological certifications from one of the big three (GIA, IGI, EGL)

Appraisals also typically include a complete description of the weight, color, size, clarity, cut (if it applies), if it’s natural, and if it’s been enhanced. Some appraisals also include information about the location the specimens were mined, but this is based on their opinion.


How Much Does An Appraisal Cost?

This answer can vary greatly. While some appraisers charge an hourly rate, others have a flat fee per specimen or collection. Hourly rates can range from $50 to $150 an hour, depending on the complexity of the piece or pieces.

One thing is for sure; an appraisal fee should NEVER be based on the specimen’s value or collection. There’s a conflict of interest if the fee structure is based on the specimen’s value because a higher valuation results in higher rates. In turn, this can cause an unethical appraisal to inflate the value of your piece.

While an appraiser has the skill and required training to assess your collection and provide an accurate appraisal valuation, it’s good to do your part. Any information or documentation you have on your rock collection, the more smoothly the appraisal will go. Good luck, and happy hunting!


gemstone appraisal services


Finding Rock and Gem Appraisers

You’ll want to find a graduate gemologist or someone in the gem and mineral industry but it depends on what you have.  If your collection is full of rocks, minerals, and specimens then I would seek out a local rockhound enthusiast to get their opinion.  They should be able to help you with identification and valuations.

If your collection consists of gemstones, jewelry, and diamonds then you need to work with a graduate gemologist from GIA.  You can typically find them at the higher-end jewelry stores and if for some reason they don’t do appraisals they should be able to refer you.

Here’s some industry information you’ll need to know.  There is no governing body or certification for jewelry appraisers which means you need to find and interview the right person for the job.


Rock and Mineral Clubs or Societies

One of the first steps you can take is to look for a lapidary club or society in your area. These lapidary clubs are made up of enthusiasts that meet regularly to discuss, educate, and learn more about rocks, minerals, and the lapidary arts.

Rock and mineral clubs often include lapidary shops and hold classes for people who want to learn more about cutting stones. You’ll also find individuals willing to check out your specimens that will help you identify them (if need be) and refer you to a trusted appraiser. If you have a mineral collection needing an appraisal then I’d start here.


Gem, Rock, and Mineral Shows

Next on the list is to check out some rock and mineral shows in your area. There are thousands of shows that take place across the country every year. More often than not, these shows are a great place to find someone to tell you about your rock collection value. If there isn’t an appraiser at the show, someone can tell you where you can find a trusted source.


Rock Shops and Gemstone Dealers

Rock shops could be a great resource to sell your collection to if it has minerals and specimens only.  If you have colored stones and diamonds then I’d recommend working with an actual gem dealer.  You should be able to speak with someone on-site when dealing with the rock shop or the gemstone dealer.


Rock and Gemstone Appraisal Services

Of course, your best bet is to check online, attend a gem and mineral show, and always get a second opinion. Once again, if you’re dealing with a rock and mineral collection then interact with enthusiasts to determine what you have.  If you have valuable gemstones then go with a graduate gemologist or gemstone professional because they’ll be able to tell you everything you need to know about the current price of your collection.

If you’ve made it this far then you’re well-educated on what activities you need to perform and who you need to seek out for additional knowledge. Just so you know, I’d be happy to help with valuing your gem collection as well as provide an education on what you have.  Contact me directly and we can set up a call.

Jerred Morris
Latest posts by Jerred Morris (see all)

Pick & Shovel Newsletter

Free rock identification and appraisals when you sign up today. Plus up-to-date with the latest rockhound locations, news, trends, and events.

94 Responses

      1. Hi, I have some large quartz mineral specimens with nice crystals embedded in them. I have left them in the rare state and would like to no if they have a value

      2. Hi Jerred I do believe we metro rock and another vaulable rock. I would appreciate if you could email me so i could send you pictures and let me know.

  1. i have a collection of gems, minerals, fossil’s and petrified would that I am interested in an appraisal for. I am in Maryland.

  2. Dear Sir
    I have a very interesting stone, I could use some advice on where to get an appraisal it’s not a gem but it’s truly unique it’s about 22 pounds and I believe it’s some kind of chirt or churt I don’t know the correct spelling I have some pics if you wouldnt mind looking at them and giving me your opinion on how I would go forward with it. The color changed very drastically since I first dug it up I’m pretty sure it came to my area by a ice glacier thousands or even millions of years ago. Please reply if you have the time to assist me. Thank you
    Tracy Forbes

  3. I found a weird Rock here in New Mexico on my property, it looks looks like it has fossil teeth inside

  4. I have inherited my father’s extensive rock collection. Who can I contact in the Houston, Texas area to sell the collection?

  5. Good afternoon

    I have an extensive collection of rocks. (+/- 35 years of collecting) Mainly from the Tsumeb mine, Namibia, The Kalahari Manganese Fields in South Africa (N’Chwaning and Wesselsmine) and rare minerals from the Messina area in South Africa (Shaft 5 and Artonvilla).

    I am based in South Africa and thinking of selling my entire collection

    Your help would be much appreciated

      1. Hi Jerred. I just discovered your site today. I am so happy that somebody finally got it right. Good job! I live in Nevada and I found a silver crystal specimen that is 99 grams. I’ve been told that is a rather large example of this type of thing. It also contains some gold and even a little copper. Is this something that would be easy to sell? I can send photos. Thank you for any info you can give and I really love your site.

  6. I have an Awesome Old Stock Orbicular Ocean Jasper boulder, full of or orbs,should be In a museum,wondering what it’s worth?

    1. Oscar – Thanks for reaching out. It will depend on what the slabs look like when cut. Due to it being a boulder, it might be worth more cut than its current state. Most of the time, cabochon material is worth more in finished form.

    2. I have a couple stones. One may be a Meteorite and the other one might be a raw diamond. I want to seek a professional opinion to know If I should get An appraisal.

  7. Hello, I have some gemstones I have recently bought and need to get appraised. Could you suggest the best way to do this?

    1. Caroline – It depends on what you have. If the gemstones are semi-precious then you might not need an appraisal. However, if the gemstones have value and you want to insure them then an appraisal would make sense. I’d be happy to take a look at them and provide some guidance. I’ll email you directly.

  8. Hello! I am from the Pennsylvania area. Looking to have about 100-150 rocks/minerals appraised. I have sent you a email regarding these. These specimens are of all different sorts of sizes/colors/weights. I am looking to find out what they all are specifically and quiet possibly what they may be worth. I believe most are quartz but there are many that i am unable to find and/or attempt to identify. I appreciate all and any help that can be provided! Thanks so much!

  9. I have probably close to a ton of petrified wood of all kinds that I have picked the last 3 or 4 years that I would like to sell. What’s my best Avenue to take to get the most for it. I live in the bastrop/smithville TX area.

    1. James – It will depend on the quality and what you can do with it. Is it good enough for cabbing? Good enough for furniture? What color is it? How rare is it?

      You’ll have to sell it piece by piece online and in person (rock and mineral shows).

  10. I have a decent collection of what I believe are rocks minerals an maybe some fossils. I live in Alabama in a deep wooded area on a bluff side. There is a spring that runs through an I always find the most interesting objects.

  11. I have a huge rock that I believe is a fossil but it also appears to have some opal, labradorite, and other minerals. I was wondering if I sent a pic of it, if you could help me identify what it is?? It has many different types of colors and hardness in it. Like God threw all these different rocks and minerals together.

  12. Hi,
    first off, I just want to say that is incredibly kind and selfless of you to answer peoples questions and offered to help them appraise or direct them in whatever they need to go. You’re a wonderful man and I have a beautiful piece of boleite and several other beautiful pieces in my collection that I have questions about. Thank you for your help.

  13. We have a piece of petrified wood in our yard that is used as a decorative art addition. It is approximate 3ft tall by 2 feet wide otherwise surface it was present when we bought the home. I would like guidance to a local appraisal company or approximate process thank you for your information

    1. Penny – It would depend on the color and quality. More than likely, it’s best used for landscape purposes.

      I’ll email you directly and you can send me some pics

  14. Hi Jerred! I love your site. Very informative. Quick question: are the prices listed for Spinel Retail (market) prices or Wholesale prices? I am a gemstone Wholesaler and am needing current accurate pricing for the Spinels I am going to list to the site. I do have a GIA lab account and am trying to make sure that any Spinel I have that is valued over $1,000+ is certified. I appreciate your time! Thank you in advance.

    1. Linda – The prices are a guideline because precious and semi-precious gemstone pricing is all over the place compared to diamonds. It will come down to how motivated the seller is and who is the end user. Most dealers mark the finished stones up 3x – 5x their cost because they have to have a deep inventory (which ties up money) and they don’t know when the stone will sell.

      I like to focus on high quality stones with low supply. Sure, you pay more but the rarity and quality factor helps when you want to sell it.

  15. Looking for an appraisal for a specimen piece of quarts. My aunt said a appraiser valued it at over 35000 over 40 yrs ago. Just looking to find out so she can know for sure.

  16. Hey I’m looking for an Appraisal for a Large Enhydro Amethyst out of South Carolina. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  17. I have a big heavy rock and crystal like thing, I’m not entirely sure what it is or how it formed. I just want to know what it is and what its worth, how it formed all of that

  18. Hello, I have the same questions about my collection my friend, I have both raw and cut precious gems, along with semi precious cut and uncut stones, I have small and large, and a lot of different types and colors, from all around the globe. I would really like to know what they are and a round about value of them, any help is much appreciated in advance, thanks, Steve h

  19. Hello Mr Jarred,
    I have a couple interesting stones one is a half red emerald or big spite with green emerald on the other half from the Wawa mountains of Utah and then I have a gemstone that’s been around the world during covid that nobody can identify and the last time I sent something to the Gia to get identified they pretty much kept it ..while they asked me if they can have it for teaching because it was they’ve never seen it before I don’t want to lose this piece it’s the only one I have own several gold mines and the only platinum mine in N America besides the state of Montana n district of B C Canada and a couple of Silver Mines in North Idaho and I don’t want to lose anymore i have a very huge collection of one of a kind gems n Rocks from many yrs of mining and trading..these are for my grandchildren’s inheritance but I was wondering if you would know somebody around this area that would have a reflactor to tell me what stone I have or maybe it’s a new stone. Thank you so much and I can’t wait to hear from you. Charle P North Idaho

    1. Charles – I don’t know of anyone in your neck of the woods. However, it’s not difficult to find someone with a RI tool. Go online and find a higher end jeweler that does appraisals. Call the store and ask to speak with the graduate gemologist on staff.

      Tell the GG (graduate gemologist) what you have and if they will test the RI for you. Most GGs will be more than happy to help you out.

      If they don’t have a GG on staff or a RI tool then call another store.

  20. I recently came into a collection I got out of a storage unit ! It’s a quite a large collection ! I’m in Chattanooga tn looking for an appraiser !

  21. I’m looking for an appraiser to do an appraisal of a 3000+ piece collection in the area of southwest WI.
    I’ve been told of a gentleman by the name of Sammy Ludlum (sp?) from Ohio who is supposedly renowned in the appraisal field but have not been able to locate him. Is that a name you’re familiar with?
    Also, there was an appraisal done in Feb of 2019 by Nevin Franke of Burnie’s Rock Shop in Madison, WI.
    We have, however, been advised we should have another appraisal done to reflect current market pricing. The collection will be placed up for sale within the next three to six months.

    Thank you for your assistance.

      1. I have found some large natural dug out of ground stones. I AM looking for more info on them please contact me

  22. I want to Thank you for your website! Ive been searching for years on a million site and you have helped more than any site I’ve been on with what you said!! Thank you!!! I have collected rocks, minerals for many years with my daughter, we have found many types & would like to put our minds at ease and find out if any of them are of any value or if we should just put them back into the ground! 🙂 I have some that almost look as beautiful, clear, very brilliant as diamonds but don’t want to embarrass myself by taken them somewhere. Would you be able to assist me by photos of them?

  23. I have been collecting crystals, geodes and stones since I was little. I would love to have some of them appraised. I’m in Alabama. Can you help me?

      1. Jerred, I apologize for just jumping in the thread but I have been looking for someone to check out this rock I have. It was found in Colorado where I was born and raised. I have some really good pictures and video of it. Please let me know if you have the time to conversate about it. Thank you have a good day.

  24. I inherited the old stock from a rock shop my great grandparents ran through the 50-70s. From my own research I’ve identified a number of specimens from a rare depleted local that I’d love to get an idea of their value.

  25. I have a rock that I found in my backyard taking the trash out one day and it’s different I’m just curious of what it is ????

  26. I have a collection of agate and other stones. Few of them are very unique to me. I would love to find out what they are or if any are worth anything.

  27. Hello Mr. Morris,
    I really appreciate your time and information about gemstones. You’ve obviously put in much time and effort into your site. Thank you so much.
    I have about 5 cut gemstones that I would like to get a value on. Could you help me with this?
    I have a emerald cut Fluorite, Apatite which I think is Brazil blue or neon blue, two very nicely cut Green Sapphires, etc.

    E. Neale SSGT. Disabled Veteran

  28. Hello, I’m looking to sell a 5
    -lb malachite egg with ivory base that came out of Africa more than 40 years ago. It does have dark contrast and some minor flaws, but it looks great. I do not even know where to start selling it.

  29. Hi,
    My husband and I are interested in having a few rocks looked at for appraisal or selling purposes. Would love to find someone in the area or if you can help. A few we would not want to sell. We have several pieces of black Jade, Green Jade, and Lapis. We have two other pieces but don’t think they are of any value. One looks like a Beef Roast and the other has multiple colors.

  30. I need a piece of Amber jewelry appraised and to make sure it’s real. I live in Houston Heights, Houston

  31. I have a specimen that is either a druzy quarts or sparalite with calcite that I think it is but can’t he sure can I get you to look at it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About The Author