There are many reasons people are drawn to rock collecting. One of the big reasons is the fact that it takes you outside. Just getting out into mother nature with friends and family is a good enough reason to take up this exciting hobby.
Becoming a rockhound can take you many places you might not ordinarily go. You might find yourself exploring riverbeds for perfectly round stones and awesome skipping rocks. Or you might find yourself walking through ancient petrified forests and fossil beds.
Regardless of what kind of rockhound you are, or want to be, finding and reading a good book on the subject is an excellent source of knowledge. Whether you're just getting started or you're a seasoned rockhound, there is always new information to learn and explore.
Below I have an updated list of the best rockhounding books for 2017. It's important that you use current books as many of them contain maps and other resources that tend to change with time.
The Best Rockhounding Books For Rock and Mineral Identification
Below is a closer look at the rockhounding books that I recommend. Click on any of the links to learn more about any of them.
1. Modern Rockhounding and Prospecting Handbook
This is an excellent resource for beginners as well as experienced rockhounds. This has been my reference book for quite some time. It is 264 pages of quality first hand information from a very experienced Rockhound, Garret Romaine. For 35 years, Garret Romaine has been an avid rockhound, fossil hunter and gold prospector. He is also a journalist, columnist and technical writer. Garret Romaine also teaches technical writing at Portland State University and holds a degree in geology.
What Other Readers Say About The Modern Rockhounding and Prospecting Handbook
"I really enjoyed the book. As an enthusiastic amateur, it's suggestions were very helpful."
"Good book very informative lots of great and useful information. Just a wealth of useful info."
"This guide is for rock hounds and prospectors of all kinds. It has updated information and sources for the novice and experienced. I found it invaluable in my pursuit of finding and polishing rocks of all types."
"Writes so inexperienced beginners can understand. Actually kind of "fun" to read!!"
2. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: North America
This is another great resource for rockhounds who are into rock and mineral collecting. In my experience it's the best book for identifying rocks and minerals as it contains nearly 800 full color photographs which is extremely helpful in identifying rock and mineral specimens. This rockhounding book is an excellent companion for beginners and experienced rockhounds. The book can easily be taken out into the field as a portable guide to help you identify your rocks, gems and minerals making it the best rock and mineral field guide in my opinion.
Perfect for mountain climbers, hikers, and geology enthusiasts, this valuable reference covers more rocks and minerals in North America than any other available guide.
One of the best things about this rock and mineral field guide, and why it makes it onto the best rockhounding book list, is because it describes all of the rocks in gems in many different variations, colors and crystal forms, making it very useful for identifying rocks and minerals. Also in its descriptions it goes into detail regarding the natural environments where the rocks are formed as well as written descriptions of field marks, similar rocks and minerals, environment as well as where the rocks can be found.
What Other Readers Say About The National Audubon Society Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: North America
"...a simple, straightforward guide to mineral identification, based on color and structure. Well over half the book consists of really excellent color plates that are particularly helpful to a beginner who doesn't know the detailed terminology of geology...strongly recommended."
"...the vinyl cover makes this book a superior field guide because it can actually survive the field environment, unlike many others."
"The quality of the photos is incredible."
"Good, detailed information, and a section of each book is dedicated to high quality color photos to supplement the drawings."
3. Rockhounding Arizona: A Guide To 75 of The State's Best Rockhounding Sites
Whether you want to search for gold in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, dig for turquoise in Nevada or hunt for agates and jasper on the beaches of Oregon, this rockhounding book will be an excellent resource for you and your journey. Both beginners and experts will find this resource book very useful. In addition to listing the better known, commercial dig sites, this book takes time to share some of the lesser known rock collecting sites that are accessible on public lands.
The Author, Gary Blair has nearly 75 years of experience roaming the wilderness of Arizona. Much of that time he spent rockhounding. Gary Blair is considered one of the most experienced and knowledgeable rockhounding experts in Arizona.
Not planning on Rockhounding in Arizona any time soon? Then check out these other rockhounding books that cover rockhounding in other States.
Looking For More?...
If you'd like to read more information on any of these rock books, then just click on any of the books listed below.