Everybody has, at one point, had a fascination with the earth beneath us. There’s an undying interest in the mineral and the forms that make up this Earth. Some of us even went to museums as a kid and stared at all the cool thunder eggs, pyrite, and pink quartz formations. These, and all the other cool rocks, were a product of patience, a keen eye, and solid rockhounding tools. What’s rockhounding? Simply put, rockhounding is searching for that perfect mineral sample or composite. It’s elevated rock collecting! The question is, “does one really need tools and such to go look for rocks?” First off, it’s not just about walking around and finding things on the floor.
To really get down to the nitty gritty, one needs a whole set of instruments and knowledge to get the job done. Here are some of the best tools and how to use them.
A hammer is your primary and most important friend in all of rockhounding. The function of each kind varies with the design, but the overall purpose of each is to break away bits of solid earth from either a singularly focused area or chunk of deposit. For instance, if you’re out rockhounding in Arizona, looking for a beautiful Chrysocolla, you’ll most likely find it embedded in the side of a mountain attached to quartz. You’ll need to get it out of the mountain, right? That’s where a crack hammer comes in. Want to separate it from the quartz? For the larger chunks, you can use your trusty geologist’s hammer. There are a million ways to get the job done, all with some choice hammers.
Chisels are the best for precision breaking and chipping. If you’re trying to crack open a rock to reveal the cool crystal formations inside, you’re not going to just smash it on the floor, right? You need to find different points and grooves to get your chisel into so you can pick at it slowly. There are also instances in which you’ll see glimpses of a mineral buried in a much larger rock. You don’t know what kind of size or shape you’re dealing with. So instead of using me blunt force, little bits of the exterior layer can be chipped away to reveal the hidden stone in its natural shape.
Search and transport
Aside from the chipping and breaking tools themselves, you’ll also need a handy set of search and transportation implements. In the search department, you’re looking at a handy guide with all the images clearly laid out, as well as a metal detector. The metal detector is for both iron-containing rocks as well as finding stones that are associated with iron. With both of those at your disposal, you’ll be able to find anything and everything beneath your feet. As far as transport goes, there are bags that are extremely thick. We’re talking a whole 2mm thickness in a ziplock. Those are the absolute best to separate each stone without having to open a canvas satchel every two seconds.
With the original tool kits and search gear, you’ll be able to spot, chisel, and store your finds from all over the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first or your 50th rockhounding. These are the same handy implements you’ll need and use over and over again. Happy hounding!