Ultimate Rock Collecting Resources Directory
Welcome to our rock collecting site. We have gathered some information and resources for beginner rock collectors. Listed are some frequently asked questions many of you have about rock collecting. We hope to help you gain more knowledge and encourage you to learn more about it. Here is a sample of the kind of information we offer on this site.
Starting and Managing a Rock Collection
A good rock collection consists of selected, representative, properly labeled rocks. The collection can be as large or as small as its owner wishes. An active collection constantly improves as specimens are added or as poor specimens are replaced by better ones. A rock collection might begin with stone picked up from the ground near your home. These stones may have limited variety and can be replaced later by better specimens. Nevertheless, this first step is helpful in training the eye to see diagnostic features of rocks, features by which rocks can be differentiated. As you become more familiar with collecting methods and with geology, the collection will probably take one of two directions. You may try either to collect as many different types of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks as possible or to collect all the related kinds of rocks from your own particular area. This method is more for people who are serious about their rock collection.
For the people who are not as serious about their rock collecting and just want to do something with their spare time, here are some tips on how you can start your collection. You can start collecting rocks by just one day waking up and gathering rocks out of know where. You can start by collecting rocks in your driveway, the
side of the streets, or streams. You can join rock clubs and join a bunch of people who collect rocks as a hobby and go rock hunting with a lot of people.
Many people start collecting rocks because they start getting interested in the shapes, sizes, and colors of the rocks there are. All of the rocks
are hard rocks that can't be broken when the just get dropped unless you purposely drop them and want to break them. You can even separate your
collection. You can get all the big solid color rocks in one are and the colorful different shaped rocks in a different area. It all depends on how you decide
to collect them and how.
If you are really a rock collector and not just and accumulator, eventually you will have to decide what to do with all the things you have acquired. Even if you know where the mineral was collected, how can others guess what it is or where it came from? One very important thing about a good collection, private, public, scientific, or for fun, is that each piece should be labeled. The label should say what type of rock it is and where it came from. If you don't know the name of the rock and would like to get it identified, the location of the rock can be a very important clue in determining what kind of rock or mineral it really is. In addition to the name and location of the rock, you can also put other information like who it is collected by, the date, and even notes like "my grandfather took me on this trip.
Now that we've talked about labeling the specimen, lets talk about size. Do you have room to collect and keep those boulders? There are several sizes recognized for collectable specimens. Size counts when you are deciding what and how to collect. If you have unlimited space, you can collect any size you want. Some people have limited space and must seriously consider the size of what we collect. In the space that you can keep and display 50 hand specimens, you would be able to keep and display 1000 thumbnail specimens. Lets go deeper into this subject.
- Thumbnail specimens:
If you can't keep
the big pieces, a
is to go for the
smaller sizes. A thumbnail
specimen will fit
inside a 1 1/4" cube plastic box. If it won't fit, it's not considered a thumbnail. Those little plastic boxes are called "perky boxes" and
are great for keeping
your pieces clean
and neat looking.
The next step up
is a miniature. This
size fits in a 2 1/2" cube
- Hand Specimen:
The next larger size
is a hand specimen
. If it's too big
to fit in the 2 1/2" plastic
box, but not as large
as a grapefruit,
then it is a hand
- Cabinet Specimen: Then come the big ones. If it's bigger than the grapefruit and you can still pick it up and put it on a shelf, it's a cabinet specimen. Larger than that is too big to easily put in your house.
Getting rid of extra matrix, or removing unattractive parts of the rock can enhance your pieces, sometimes turning an ordinary piece into a real show piece. It takes study and courage, but the rewards are worth it. There are many tool that can be used to trim specimens. You are only limited by your pocketbook. Simple hammers, chisels, and tile trimmers may be supplemented by screw type pressure trimmers, hydraulic pressure trimmers, and/or diamond saws. Never trim a rock just to make it set up nicely. You can always get a stand to accomplish that goal. Now you ask.. "what is the purpose of trimming?" The purpose of trimming is to remove excess material to improve the overall quality and to remove damaged areas detracting from the overall esthetics of the piece improving the value of the rock.
Cleaning a mineral is a very important part in managing a rock collection. Tools that can be used are toothbrushes, soap and water, dental pick, ultrasonic cleaner, garden hose, pressure sprayer, high pressure needle sprayer, certain chemicals, and a screen table for washing. Below are the tools broken down into a more detailed explanation.
- High pressure needle sprayer: This kind of spray gun produces a needle-fine stream of water at about 1000 pounds of pressure. The Krebs cleaning gun normally would have a pint container on the bottom, but for cleaning large numbers of samples, you can modify the water feed via a piece of aquarium hose which is cemented into the bottom of a 5-gallon plastic bucket.
- Screen Washing Table: A homemade screen table using 1/4 inch hardware cloth. It is handy for rinsing the buld of dried clay and dirt off specimens with a garden hose or pressure sprayer.
When you put up the display, you don't want it to distract from your proud collected works. There have been displays where the owners of them went to a lot of trouble to make the display ugly. The focus of mineral displays should be the minerals. A simple stand, if the piece won't stand uip by itself, is much preferred over an elaborate decorative support, which competes for the attention with the mineral. Contrast your light-colored minerals against a dark background when you can and vice versa. Clear quartz is beautiful against the dark jewel colors deep blue, purple, and burgundy. But washed out when displayed on a white or neutral gray background. Mirrors behind the specimens are nice, but therein lies a secret danger. Besides the minerals, and your faces, what else does the mirror reflect? If you have an enormous stack of weathered cardboard flats across the room , do you really want to double the appearance fo them?
Lighting also makes a big difference. If your display is tastefully done, but in the dark, you have a problem. To fully appreciate what you're showing off, lighting is the difference between an OK display and one that is a prize winner. If your collection is on a shelf in your room, or in a bookcase, under-the-cabinet fluorescent light may be a very good choice for you. If you have a place you can mount a swing arm lamp or two, being able to move the light around might be an alternate choice.
As you read more into the website, you will be able to learn about the different types of rocks there are and how they are classified. You will be able to read about where you can find certain types of rocks. Information about the type of tools and equipment a rock collector needs will be provided. If you are interested in buying rocks, minerals, or other rock related materials online, the site will explain to you how to do that. Also, information defining a rock is provided to help you understand the science behind it. If you are interested in rocks and would like to know more about it, this website is the perfect guide for you. Just scroll down and click on the links to view more information.
To view some more of your frequently asked questions and answers, click here.
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Best Places to Find Rocks
Different Types of Rocks
Type of Equipment a Rock Collector Needs
How to Buy Rocks, Minerals, & More Online
Classic Scientific Definition of a Rock