freestoneangler

Rockhounds

23 posts in this topic

How many on the forum are into rock, gem and fossil hunting? My wife and I love doing this hobby, but haven't had the time to try this in many areas. With 2016 being our retirement year, we plan to include places that offer opportunities to do so. I'd love to hear from others who like digging in the dirt or stream gravels. Maybe some of your favorite states and any special things you target.

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We like to rock hound and I dig fossils and enjoy teasing them out of the surrounding matrix. Green River fish are fun and trilobites from Black Cat Mountain in Oklahoma are a couple of good fossil sites. Nothing better than an afternoon rock hunting, prospecting or gem digging.

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Fishing and rock hounding do go together pretty well and I will often throw a pan in my backpack and do a little sluicing when the fishing gets slow. Riparian areas are typically rock havens and the challenge for us is knowing what to look for. We haven't done the moss agate hunts on the Yellowstone, but that is on the list... those things are cool.

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On the Rock Hounding side, it gets even better if you decide to polish some of your finds and make them into polished stones, etc. for sale or to give to folks as gifts. A whole new hobby.

 

Safe Travels!

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Another place to go is Rockhound State Park in Deming New Mexico. You can even stay at the SKP park in Deming and drive out to the park. In the state park you are allowed to carry out 5 lbs. of rock at no charge. Plus it is a beautiful area.

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This is one of the interests we want to look into. We will be on the road next year and would like to learn more about finding semi precious stones and fossils. We have always liked looking at turquoise artwork sold by Native Americans.. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Just keep in mind that you may suffer some body changes! Walking with your head down leads to neck and back pain!! The same is also true when you are down on your knees looking for rocks. Good luck!

 

Safe Travels!

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If you come west, along with the above-mentioned Rockhound State Park near Deming, New Mexico, you can stay at the Congress, Escapee park and do your hobby in the nearby hills of the Wickenburg area. You might even find gold there! Some folks in the park are gold panners. If that doesn't satisfy you, there's Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. There's lots of fun out there!

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There are several places on EBay that offer ore and stones for sale. I have bought AZ silver ore stone for the Grandkids. Also, remember It is fun to get outside for the adventure.

 

Safe Travels!

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Howdy!

 

My LW is a rock hound and I'm her assistant. We've been all over the country collecting rocks. Once your collected a few or want to meet other rockhounds the place to be is Quartzite, AZ. It is the place where they gather and peddle the wears. Also we take advantage of the Quartzite gem and mineral club. For a small fee you join the club and they have classes morning and evening that teach you on polishing and set stones, silversmithing, knaping, wire wrapping etc...

 

"Happy Trails"

Chiefneon

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Howdy!

 

My LW is a rock hound and I'm her assistant. We've been all over the country collecting rocks. Once your collected a few or want to meet other rockhounds the place to be is Quartzite, AZ. It is the place where they gather and peddle the wears. Also we take advantage of the Quartzite gem and mineral club. For a small fee you join the club and they have classes morning and evening that teach you on polishing and set stones, silversmithing, knaping, wire wrapping etc...

 

"Happy Trails"

Chiefneon

Thanks so much for sharing the information. I hope to get there again this year. Is there an Escapees Group?

 

Safe Travels!

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Thanks so much for sharing the information. I hope to get there again this year. Is there an Escapees Group?

 

Safe Travels!

Howdy!

 

There always seems to be several groups of Escapees gathering at Quartzite Boomer's, Class of Fulltimer's etc... Just ask on this forum and you will be able to locate them.

 

"Happy Trails"

Chiefneon

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We explore the back country with our RZR. This gets us into some pretty remote places and of course my wife has started dragging home rocks. The floor of the RZR is usually covered in rocks as well as her purple whisky bag for the smaller ones. Now she wants a polisher....think I will build her one. Its all fun....lol

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You can also make a rock tumbler for the smaller rocks. A while back Harbor Freight had a double one at a fair price. The polished rocks are fun to then share with the family and friends. Good hunting!

 

Safe Travels!

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Very true. However, most of the places we have stayed and used a rock tumbler--we had NO neighbor's. We have about 1200 watts solar. What a blessing that has been.

 

Safe Travels!

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Be sure to check out the Peace River for fossil hunting in Florida. It has the richest Pleistocene deposits on the world. Just be sure to check the water levels on the USGS site first - anything under 6 feet is great for fossil hunting. If you need more specific help, just let me know. I live in Tampa and fossil hunt regularly during the winter and spring. We have found mammoth, mastodon, megalodon, and lots of more obscure species. :)

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We love gem mining. Though we've been to Crater Of Diamonds twice we have been unsuccessful there, though a camping neighbor showed us a box with about a two dozen small uncut diamonds they found there from several prior trips.

 

We like to prospect in the Helen Georgia area and around Franklin, NC. There are several gem and gold mines that for either a per bucket or per day fee let you mine there. Though some days are better than others, you never know what you will find. They also have salted buckets full of trinket for the kiddies, but we stick to the native mine ore. Our last trip to Franklin was very productive. Our best find this trip being a nice 26 carat ruby we are having cut. We found bigger but more mineralized rubies, but with gems, bigger is not always better. Mining can be expensive if you want to get your gems cut. Right now we're having 2 emeralds faceted, 1 lg moonstone faceted, and 2 rubies cabbed, to the tune of about $700 (they charge based upon how many carrots they cut out to, not the start weight). The value of just one of the emeralds should exceed this investment after its cut though, depending on clarity, as the color is nice. Of course it cost a couple hundred bucks and 3 days of work to find those stones - and there's no guarantee you'll get much of anything - we've struck out before.

 

Here's a photo of one of our finds that cut out at 6.5 carats.

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It's not a very good shot, but you get the idea.

 

Here's a picture of my DW, son and a few of our one day finds in Helen, GA.

1z70lxs.jpg

 

And here's some finds from a previous trip.

9kast4.jpg

 

And some cut stones from our second to last trip.

2i11phk.jpg

It cost us about $300 to have all these cut by a trusted gemologist in Franklin.

 

Chip

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Here's my latest batch of stones from our last trip.

 

30vjfgj.jpg

 

The lighting is poor and I just took it with my phone so the image quality is lacking, but it's good enough to get the basic idea.

The center emerald and the star ruby (the nicest stone of the bunch) are much lighter and prettier in real life than in the photo.

The emerald on the far left paid for our trip and then some. All the rest is gravy. :D

 

I like this hobby better than playing golf. They both cost about the same to participate in, but when it's over you have something tangible to show for your effort and remember your trip by, whether you made money or not. It's like going to the casino, but the odds are a little better. ;) Of course there are golfers (and gamblers) who both enjoy their game and make money at it. I'm just not one of them. B)

 

Chip

Edited by sushidog

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It's usually not as strenuous as gold mining, though diamond mining is rough on the old bod, as the diamond mining area is an open field and there is no shade while you dig. Most of your time spent gem mining is at a sluice, sitting on a wooden bench with your hands in water. The screen sometimes rubs your hands a little raw, especially at mines where the gems are found in big clumps of clay, but you sit in the shade and its easy on the back and legs. You still get pretty dirty though - more so than you would think. Those mines, like Rose Creek, with heavy clay deposits offer a brush which helps, but you still need to dig through the clay imbedded in the brush to search for smaller gems. Usually the smaller stones turn out to be the clearer, more colorful ones. Besides, a little exercise is good for the body and the soul. And finding beautiful gems gives one motivation to continue. It's not a job, but a hobby, so multiple breaks are in order. If you had to do it for a living it would be a tough life though. We enjoy the comradery of other miners and enjoy seeing them find nice stones too. It's addictive.

 

Chip

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