Getting Started with Rockhounding

by Absolute Clarity

Are you looking for a new hobby? Amateur geology – also called rockhounding – is a great way to learn more about rocks, minerals, gems, fossils and other items found buried in the earth by collecting and studying them. Rockhounding can be a great way to learn about the history of your town or city, and it can also teach you a lot about the many rocks and minerals that make up our planet. But before you decide to start rockhounding, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the basics and the tools of the trade so you can make the most of it.

Before you step outsid e and start searching around for rocks and minerals, you should take the time to educate yourself about them by reading books about amateur geology. There are plenty of resources available out there, and they will help paint a clearer picture about what rockhounding is and how it works. AmateurGeologist offers a wealth of information for those just getting started, including gear guides, book resources and maps. Another site, Beyond 4Cs, maintains an extensive list of free gemology courses and resources as well.

Depending on your location, you may also want to look at joining or attending a meeting of one of the more than 900 rock and mineral clubs. Those in charge of running these clubs can show you the ropes and teach you about the differences between rocks and minerals so that you know what to look for when you’re out hunting for them. offers a registry online to help you find a club near you.

The great part about rockhounding, thou gh, is that you don’t necessarily have to have a great deal of knowledge or experience to get started. While it will certainly help to read about rocks and minerals and to talk to those who know more about them than you do, rockhounding is a very accessible hobby for people of all ages and all walks of life. You can simply visit a local park or beach, or just stroll through your backyard, and start looking around for rocks and minerals on your own. You never know what you will find, and if you suspect that something that turns up on your hunt is worth investigating further, you can research it more later.

Using a stereo microscope allows you to take a closer look at your samples, providing a clearer picture in 3-D. This allows you to study the unique features or rocks, minerals and crystals that you uncover and identify the distinctive features and striations that make each sample unique. You can compare and contrast the different rocks and minerals that you find, looking at the similarities between your different finds or identifying unusual or distinctive aspects that make them stand out.

If you decide that you want to invest in a stereo microscope for your rockhounding expeditions, Absolute Clarity & Calibration is your one-stop-shop for all things related to microscopes. We carry a large selection of stereo microscopes and can show you exactly how to use them for rockhounding purposes. Call us at 860-583-0502 today for more information on stereo microscopes or to schedule an appointment to stop in and see us.


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