Rock Collecting for Kids

by Jessy Chekal, a 13 year old Kid who owns her own Rock and Mineral Company


Rock collecting is a popular and rewarding pastime. It was started by amateur geologists in the 19th century. I started rock collecting as a school project and found out how cool it is. I've even started a company to show other kids how fun it can be. I've even considered becoming a geologist when I grow up. Making collections is a good way to learn about geology and have fun at the same time.

Plan ahead when going to do field work. Use geological books and maps to find your location. Because most collecting sites are on private property , make sure to tell the owners ahead of time, so they don't stick their guard dogs on you! When collecting specimens in the field, there are certain rules to follow. Make sure you disturb the environment as little as possible, leave enough specimens for other collectors, and since most collecting involves digging and excavating, remember to fill your holes when you're done.

A photograph or sketch of a specimen before collecting provides a permanent field record. If you want, you can also use a compass to write down the bearings when you find a specimen. It's a good idea to record the location and details of a specimen. A hammer and chisel are used to separate the specimen from the other rocks and to trim the sharp edges. You also need protective clothing like goggles, gloves, and a helmet in case of flying rock or metal shards. To bring your specimens home safely, wrap them in bubble wrap or tissue paper. Once home, try to identify the specimen if you don't already know what it is. A magnifing glass and a good book about rocks and minerals are very important for identifying your specimens. A bead organizer or embroidery thread box are wonderful places to store and display your specimens.

There are other ways of getting specimens besides finding them in nature. Some times, craft stores carry specimens but they're usually expensive. Rock shops are scattered all over the U.S., so check online to see if there's one near you. The internet is a good source of specimens, some rock shops are online so they can serve a wider range of customers. Ebay is a wonderful place because you can get specimens from places you can't travel to; some times, people who have given up rock collecting, will sell their old collections and is wonderful way to start yours.

In the present time, there are more then 2,000 mineral species known to us. They are broken up into nine classes. The specimen's class is determined by it's structure and chemical composition. Some people like to sort their collections by the nine classes. The nine classes and some of their common minerals are as follows:

Native elements: gold, silver, copper, mercury, sulfur, and diamond.

Sulfides: pyrite, galena, chalcopyrite, bornita, sphalerite, and cinnabar.

Halides: halite, flurite, and atacamite.

Oxides and Hydroxides: quartz, cuprite, anatase, magnetite, hematite, and cassiterite.


Nitrates,carbonates, and Borates: aragonite, calcite, azurite, malachite, and dolomite.


Sulphates, Molybdates, and Chromates: celestine, crocoite, gypsum, and wulfenite.


Phosphates, Arsenates, and Vanadates: vivianite, apatite, adamite, and turquoise.


Sillicates: garnet, topaz, beryl, mica, and talc.

Organic Minerals: amber, coral




All rights reserved by the author - © March 2004

Permission to reprint is possible, please contact the author for consideration.