Through the course of rockhounding, I’ve learned a few things about rocks. I went from total novice to now having a decent understanding at least of some of the rocks that surround me.
These are some of the observations I’ve made as a beginner rockhounder:
1. Learning how to identify rocks takes time. You just need to constantly research, spend time in the field and find opinions from knowledgable rock people. I found that in the course of identifying what’s around me, I’m constantly wrong and improving my understanding.
2. Above all, go for rocks you personally like. What makes the best rock, no matter if it is called agate or jasper or Spectacular Stone, is what pleases the eye (and in terms of lapidary, workable, but that confuses my point). For new people asking “What rocks should I look for?” I simply say the best looking ones you can find. This works better on beaches, where the water has worn the rocks to show how they might look polished, whereas rocks on land are often dirty or have exteriors that obscure their appearance.
3. Look near your bucket. I almost always find a nice rock near where I’ve put my rock bucket. I theorize this is because your eyes naturally cover that area more often so you are more likely to cue in on a good rock.
4. You will always walk past or miss the best rock. Accept it. I consciously accept that fact every time I go out. Just do the best you can.
5. Rocks are great for collector personalities. I’ve always been a collector, from Warhammer to magazines and beyond. Rocks are a great natural collector’s item, as no two are alike and there are so many amazing looks and patterns and types. Like the surprise of finding a special card in a new booster deck you bought, amazing rocks are waiting for you in your neighbourhood. And they’ve been waiting for millions of years.
6. For every seemingly super rare and high-priced stone you see in a rock and gem store, someone out there has a backyard full of it. Rocks are plentiful, even the special ones. Their locations can be rare, but rock deposits are often large.
7. Follow your hunches. Go where your gut tells you. This is true for finding a general location, such as having a feeling those mountains look extra special, or where specifically to examine or dig. A lot of the time I just “know” I’m narrowing in on a great rock. Go where you feel like there’s a good rock, your intuition knows more than you think.
I’ll likely have more some day. Thanks for reading!