Rockhounding in North America

We simply love getting outside and rockhounding. The adventure of finding a treasure is adrenaline pumping and great exercise. Some of our favorite rockhounding sites are in the Tri-State area. Read our rockhounding stories from Green's Garnet Farm in Connecticut, a Quartz and Pyrite Quarry in Ellenville NY, Herkimer Diamonds in upstate NY, and the mystical Grossular Orange Garnet deposit.

The Essential Guide to Rockhounding Part I

How to assemble your Rockhound Preparedness Kit From rockhounding well publicized and private locales in New York, Texas, Arizona, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Indiana, we consider ourselves rockhound aficionados. So whether you are hunting a site that you found on our blog, or you are a veteran rockhounder, this checklist discussing preparing for rockhounding in the outdoors will prove to be a valuable resource to make your experience more efficient, safe, and fun. First, we normally suggest researching the exploratory site, day, and time well in advance. But what if a fellow rockhound from your gem and mineral club calls you to join him or her, and you have less than 48 hours to prepare? What if your gem and mineral club is hosting a field trip, and at the last minute your plans change, and you are able to join them? What do you do?

You grab your Rockhound Preparedness kit and get ready for an adventure of course! Protect yourself from the elements, reduce frustration and anxiety, and enable yourself to get out and rockhound.

Rockhound Gear - Be Prepared!

  1. A cheap dop-kit or toiletry kit is a great idea. Why? Because often times they are waterproof, and have zippers. You can wash them off too. Places like Target, Marshall's, K-Mart, or Sears will carry inexpensive options.
  2. Mosquito coils and matches are necessary, and we suggest having a minimum of 7 with you at all times. The bugs can be fierce no matter where you are. Mosquito coils last for hours and will burn away into ash.
  3. Sunscreen is essential even in the outdoors. Bring the SPF Protection most suitable to how fair or how dark you are.
  4. Rockhounding can get very dirty, so bring Wet-naps as they are very handy to clean off your hands quickly. They come in small travel packs. For some rockhounds they are too astringent to apply to one's face, but personally I find it very refreshing. If you wear glasses these are very good for keeping your lenses clean, too.
  5. Energy bars, candy bars, bananas, oranges, apples, and nuts are great for keeping up your energy and last the entire day. The wrappers are minimal waste to carry back, and the nut-shells, orange peels, and apple cores can disposed of by Mother Nature.
  6. Small notepad and pen or pencil for keeping notes. Date, time, location, and details of your gemstone finds quickly fade the mind due to excitement. This information is essential for gemstone and mineral finds, since provenance is paramount to us and to our clients, and should be for you as well.
  7. Cell-phone or mobile device charger – while you are driving to the locale, or the night before, making sure your devices are fully charged. You should place a call to family and loved ones before heading out and if you are running late. It is highly advised to put these items in protective zip lock bags to PROTECT from dirt and mud. Additionally, filming your finds can be a great way to record you adventure. The camera and video on your phone are perfect for preserving the wonder and amazement of finding a perfect gemstone.

This article is devoted to what you should have ready in a kit, for that last minute, spur of the moment, rockhound adventure. Please refer to our other articles on packing rockhound gear, outerwear, tools of the trade including styles, types, and weights of hammers, chisels, and crowbars, and articles on where and when to rockhound.

If you have other suggestions and tips for rockhounding, please click the “Contact Us” button on the left navigation bar. Be sure to continue checking our Events page for rockhound announcements along with breaking news in geology, paleontology, and natural history. #GetOutandRockhound

The Essential Guide to Rockhounding Part II – Planning where to rockhound

First, we suggest planning the mining site, day, and time well in advance. Listed below are some of our important rockhounding planning tips.
  1. Be Creative - We have a friend of a friend who drives a truck for UPS on the weekends. When the UPS driver passes by a construction site, he calls his buddy, who drives by on a Sunday with his gear to see if it is worth his time to crack some rocks in the rubble. So the place to go rockhounding may be closer to you than you think. We know some rockhounds who spend Thanksgiving and Christmas at construction sites cracking open rocks because they know everyone else is home. They are “True Gentlemen” and “True Ladies” of rockhounding because they leave no mess or evidence that they were ever on the property. So be careful, and do not trespass when the site is clearly marked “No trespassing,” but otherwise use your own discretion.
  2. New Places, New Faces - There are other websites run by gem, mineral, and rockhound professionals who have been in the business much longer than us who offer maps and directions to very accessible sites, but we are determined to help you find a new site, and a new local for gems and minerals.
  3. Phone a Friend - Do you have any friends who own private property? Perhaps a cabin or a summer house or a shack out in the woods? Have you ever asked them if they have unusual stone or rock structures on their property? Our entire geode business began because a close friend of ours had acres of land full of geodes, and he was unaware of it, and unaware of their rarity!
  4. Sharing is Caring - Splitting up your loot at the end of the day can be tricky. Here's how we do it: As we rockhound, we collectively assemble all the minerals. We literally set them in one pile. Then at the end of the day, over a cold refreshing beer, we determine whose fundamental expenses were the most, either because they supplied the generator and jackhammer, or maybe they drove 700 miles, whatever, but we split the booty via a round-robin method. The person who incurred the highest costs picks their favorite rockhounding gem first, and then we go around in a circle. We have not found a more fair or democratic way to split our rockhound finds.
  5. Freeze Frame - Take pictures of all your minerals and detailed information at the mine site from a distance to the “in situ” gemstone itself. Remember, and we really stress this all the time, the importance of gemstone provenance.
  6. Stay Connected - While you are driving to the locale, or the night before, making sure your cell phones, video recording/mobile devices are fully charged is essential. You will need to place a call to family and loved ones if you are running late in addition to filming your prized minerals and finds while being discovered. The camera and video on your phone are perfect for preserving the wonder and amazement of discovering a perfect gemstone.
This article is devoted to the logistics of rockhounding. Please refer to our other articles on rockhound gear and outerwear, tools of the trade including styles, types, and weights of hammers, chisels, and crowbars, and articles on how and when rockhounding is most fun and productive.