If rockhounding has sparked or piqued your interest, you’ll find everything you need to know about getting started right here. Let’s dive right into the basic knowledge you’ll need to get started with rockhounding.
Rockhounding is exploring the great outdoors in search of and the collection of rocks, minerals, crystals, gemstones, and fossils. For some, it’s a pleasurable hobby; for others, it’s a way to make a bit of money.
Those that hunt for rocks while growing their collection are called rockhounds. They’re a rare bread of unique individuals that are passionate about finding, identifying, and collecting treasures from Mother Nature.
- Collecting rocks, gemstones, minerals, and/or fossils
- Collecting specimens of certain minerals
- Gathering samples of specific rock/crystal types
- Selecting and gathering natural stones
How To Get Started With Rock and Mineral Collecting
Let’s dig right in!
Rockhounding Maps Near Me
Before you head out on a hunt, it’s best to research the area you’ll be hunting in to know what types of minerals and rocks are available there. You wouldn’t want to spend hours looking for something that isn’t going to be there. A simple search using the term “rockhounding” and the location (city or state) to see what pops up.
You can typically find information about the top rockhounding sites in the region and the naturally present minerals. It’s also beneficial to search official websites and social media sites of the state’s rocks, gemstones, and minerals agency. If you’re not big on the internet, head to your local library with the same search query.
While you search through the results, I suggest paying attention to the sites where rockhounding can take place. Including the following:
- Public land where specimens can be collected
- Private land that is only accessible with the owner’s permission
- Paid dig sites and mines (these places are an excellent way for beginners to learn where to hunt for and find good specimens)
Decide What You Want To Collect
Find out what you would like to collect, whether it be gemstones, rocks, fossils, or unique minerals. Before you venture out on a hunt, study the specimens you want to collect and where they are typically found. Make a couple of mental notes about what they look like and their specific characteristics. This will make identifying stones when they’re covered in mud or matrix easier.
Once you know what it is you want to hunt and collect, research how to find and collect the specimens you are in search of.
While you may occasionally get lucky enough to find gemstones, rocks, or crystals laying on the ground, it’s not going to be that easy. Many will require a bit of skill and effort to harvest, which is why it’s essential that you’re equipped with the necessary knowledge before setting out and digging for rocks and minerals.
There is a wealth of tutorial videos, books, blogs, and interviews available from experienced rockhounds. Expand your knowledge as much as possible before heading into the great outdoors. Something even more important is to know your way around the site, so get directions or a map of the area you will be rockhounding in.
Rockhounding Tools for Beginners
Digging for rocks, minerals, and gems can be somewhat hazardous since it’s usually done in remote locations. Collecting rocks and minerals requires a handful of tools as well, so make your safety the main priority.
Good rockhounding tools will make collecting easier.
- Hand tools typically include colanders/sieves, a small knife or pick, and a trowel for precise work.
- Rock pick or rock hammers for chipping or prying away at the rocks.
- Chisels to help chisel rocks out.
- A pry bar helps move large rocks.
- A shovel may be needed to clear out any surface material.
- A mason’s hammer or sledgehammer for busting large rocks.
Familiarize yourself with potential hazards in the location you’re going to visit. Let’s go over the basic rockhounding gear.
- Hard Hats – A hat is necessary when rock hounding under cliffs and caves.
- Safety Goggles – Goggles will protect your eyes from rock chips or splinters, and dust.
- Heavy-Duty Gloves – Clean, heavy-duty gloves protect your hands from scrapes and cuts.
- Footwear – Boots with ankle support are best when hunting in rocky terrain, and waterproof boots if you’ll be in or around water.
- First Aid Kit – Any time we’re outdoors adventuring, it’s wise to have a first aid kit on hand. You’ll definitely want to have a kit with you while hunting stones because accidents happen.
Connect With A Local Rockhounding Club
Joining a local rock or mineral club is an excellent way to get firsthand information about the area and specimens in the area. It’s also an avenue for meeting people who share your interests.
Connecting with a rockhounding club paves the way for opportunities like organized trips. Others’ experience and knowledge will provide tips, strategies, and ways to most efficiently use your rockhounding equipment.
Rockhounding is an old hobby that’s resurfaced, even though it’s never actually gone out of style. It’s an excellent hobby and, for some, a way to make an extra buck every now and then.
Remember, find out what rocks and minerals spark your flame. Acquire the necessary tools and equipment, learn the area you’ll be hounding in, and have a good time. You may not find the exact stones you’re looking for every time, but you’ll leave with new experiences and memories. However, we know you’re hunting with a purpose, good luck!