How to Break Open A Geode
Whether you found a whole, unopened geode, or purchased an intact geode from from a retailer; the real fun of geodes comes in the initial opening of the geode.
While museum grade geodes are cut with a high speed water-cooled diamond saw, most amateur rock collectors probably don’t have access to this type of equipment. Though this method of opening geodes can lead to beautifully presentable, precisely cut geodes or geode slices.
So what do we do? Well, for the average rockhound like you and I, opening a geode may be a more forceful and less precise process. However, there are a few commonly used methods that people use to open geodes that I’ll cover here. And I’ll do my best to help you carefully open your geodes without inflicting more damage to them then necessary.
Method #1: The Blunt Force Method
First up is the blunt force method.
A very simple way to crack a geode is simply to place the geode inside of a sock or fabric bag to contain the soon to be broken pieces.
With the geode in a bag, gently striking the geode with a rock-hammer, sledgehammer, or even a harder rock should facture the geode just enough to crack it open.
With this method, your geode will most likely end up in a few different pieces. With a little practice and some luck, you might be able to split a geode in half. But keep in mind that cracking open a geode like this will always result in edges that are rough and uneven.
Method #2: Score With A Hammer And Chisel
If you want a little more precision to produce a more iconic image of a perfectly split geode into two fairly equal pieces, the hammer and chisel method is the way to go.
A hammer and chisel accompanied with a little patience and skill should do the trick in cracking open a geode.
With the chisel, slowly tap your way around the circumference of the rock. The idea here is to only score the edge and not crack it open just yet.
Once the outside of the geode is scored around the entire circumference, more forceful blows on a second go around should eventually open the geode around the score line that you made with the chisel.
What Are Geodes?
Chances are if you’re reading this, you already know what a geode is. But just in case, here’s a quick description of what geodes are.
Simply speaking, geodes are hollow rocks that contain an insanely beautiful array of crystal formations inside. And depending on the minerals that make up the geode, different geodes will contain different kinds of crystals, such as amethyst, agate and quartz.
Geodes may not always be dry inside. Since the seeping of mineral laced water forms geodes, opening a younger geode may reveal water inside it as well. As a matter of fact, here’s a video of a man drinking the water inside a geode!
Commercially sold geodes can be dyed colors. Particularly those thin geode slices that are sold in a dazzling array of colors. Not all geodes on the market are natural representations of the minerals.
The World’s Largest Geode is claimed to be in the state of Ohio. Crystal Cave was discovered in 1887 as workers for the winery were digging a well. The crystal-laden cave is located about 40 feet below the surface. The crystals have a blueish color and are made of strontium sulfate. The massive geode is 35 feet in diameter at its widest point. What’s incredible is that some of the crystals inside the world record geode measure as wide as 18 inches across and weigh up to a staggering 300 pounds. Believe it or not, but the geode, as it sits today, is somewhat smaller than it was when it was originally discovered. This is because some of the crystals inside of it have been harvested by collectors and even sold.