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How to Start a Rock Collection: A Guide For Newbie Rock Hounds

How to start a rock collection. How to collect rocks. how to display a rock collection

So you’re interested in collecting rocks? Maybe you’ve also thought about collecting minerals and fossils or even Indian arrowheads?  Or has gold prospecting been on your to do list?   If you’re just getting started in this hobby, you may be wondering just how to get started.   

First of all, let me just say congratulations to showing interest in starting a great new hobby. I’m confident you’ll enjoy rock collecting for years to come.


In this post, I’ll share with you what it takes to start a rock collection.  Sure, it can be as simple as stepping outside.  But there are many layers to rock collecting that you can learn about.  

We’ll go through some of the things you can do to start your rock collection, as well as learn about some of the tools you’ll need if you want to elevate your rock collecting hobby to the next level.  Finally, we’ll get to talk about some of the things you can do with your rock collection…did you know you can make money from rock collecting?  

Want to know how?  Keep reading!

Things To Get You Started!

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How To Start a Rock Collection

It’s not difficult at all to start a rock collection. At the most basic level, all you really have to do to start is walk outside your house. Take a walk around your neighborhood and see what you can find.  See if you can find any rocks that are attractive to you. Try to find rocks that are different and unique in some way.

rock collection

Where to Find Rocks

Whether you are walking around your neighborhood, or hiking through the woods, always be on the look out for spots that may reveal special kinds of rocks.  These areas might be riverbeds, streams and other areas where erosion has occurred.

Taking a walk along the beach can also yield many interesting and unique rocks. Be sure to look near where the waves have recently been. The sand has been moved in this area and could possibly reveal new stones and agates.

Other places that might offer up good rocks for your collection are areas where people are turning up the ground, such as quarries, construction sites and ditches. All of these places that I’ve mentioned have yielded excellent finds for myself and my kids for our own rock collection. Our own driveway has yielded awesome finds for my kids!

Rock Collecting Tools

There are lotstools out there that are available to rock collectors.  Below are some of the most common tools you might want to consider in starting your rock collection. For more detailed information on rock collecting tools, read my post, The Ultimate Guide To Rockhounding Tools.

Here is a list of the tools you might want to consider having in your rock collecting kit. You won’t regret having these items!

The Geologist’s Hammer

A geologist’s Hammer or a geologist’s pick, is a great tool that has two sides, a blunt end and a sharper pick end. This tool is used mostly for prying off pieces of rock, but can also be used to break off pieces of rock. Keep in mind that the geologists hammer typically breaks rocks into smaller sized pieces.

If you want larger size rocks, you might want to consider investing in a crack hammer. Remember to always use safety goggles when hammering at rock. Small pieces of rock will fly all around you, including possibly hitting your face. Protect your eyes!


Rock Collecting Bag

A rock collection bag will also be something you want to carry with you.  It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but you will need something to put your newly found rocks into while out and about.  A backpack is my favorite rock carrying device.  Backpacks are great for rock collecting because they can double as a lunch box!

Some other things you might want to consider bringing with you while finding rocks are a pair of gloves. Some rocks tend to be very sharp.  A good pair of gloves will protect your hands from cuts and scrapes.

A Field Guide To Rocks And Minerals

A field guide to rocks and minerals is always an excellent resource to have with you when hunting for rocks. Having the correct field guide on hand will allow you to quickly identify your rock specimens while out in the field.  Remember to bring tape and a marker to write with so you can label your identified rocks on the go.

What To Do With All Your Rocks

Chances are once you start a rock collection, you will end up with too many rocks! Now that you’ve gathered all these rocks, what exactly are you supposed to do with them?  If you’re like most rock seekers, you want to display them for all the world to see!


Wash Your Rock Collection

Start by cleaning your rocks. Wash your rocks in plain water with a bit of laundry detergent or dish soap. Then if you want, you can submerge them in water with just a little ordinary household bleach for two days. This will take off most of the heavier grit.  

Then take a toothbrush and denture cleaner and gently brush away the remaining dirt and grime. Finally, wash your rocks with warm water to remove the remaining bleach solution and allow the rocks to air dry.


Organize Your Rock Collection

You can organize your rock collection any way that you decide.  But organization is a very important part of learning how to start a rock collection.  Many people will categorize their rocks by type or color.  Some will group together their favorites while others might organize by size.  Most likely, if you’re like me, you will find a combination of ways to organize your rock collection.  I tend to organize by rock type and within that type I arrange by size.  But I always put my favorite rocks, regardless the size, at front and center.

 Once your rocks are organized, then you can label them.  You can label each rock individually or you might just want to label the box or container they are in.  I like to label my rocks by type, date found and location that I found it.

Display Your Rock Collection

Finally, take your most prized rocks of your collection and show them off!  Place them on a shelf where everyone can see them.  Or perhaps you have a display case you can put them in. Either way, position them so everyone else can enjoy them also.

I have favorite rocks displayed in many places.  I have rocks displayed at home as well as on my shelf at work.  You will be surprised by how many questions you get regarding your rocks, and you will never get tired of telling the stories behind them.

Final Thoughts!

Now that you know the basics of how to start a rock collection, get out there and start looking!  An entire new world of interest and beauty is waiting for you.

I am excited to hear about your rock collecting experiences, whether you are a seasoned rock collector or just getting into the game.  Please share your stories with all of us by leaving a comment below!

Happy Rock Seeking!

Related Posts:

1. Gifts For Rock Collectors And Mineral Lovers: The Ultimate Guide

2. The Ultimate Guide to Rockhounding Tools

3. The Best Rock Hammer: Plus 17 Pro Rock Hammer Tips

4. The Best Rockhounding Books

5. Ultimate Guide To Black Light Flashlights: Plus 7 Reasons To Own One

6. The Best Rock Collecting Box

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