How’s your rock collection coming along?

Start your own rock collection, just like this.

Start your own rock collection, just like this.

Doug Williams

So, you went to Tucson and visited the 65th Annual Tucson Rock & Gem Show and now you’re ready to become a “rock hound” and start your own rock collection. Well, here’s the information you’ve been waiting for…

How to Start: A “rock hound” is an amateur collector of rocks and minerals. It’s not too difficult to become one – just pick up a rock!

Which Rocks to Collect: Most rock hounds spend their spare time looking for unusual rocks. Arizona is actually one of the best places in the world to find interesting rocks. And then later, these “rock hounds” end up collecting all the related rocks from the area where they live. The stuff is actually laying all over the ground, and you don’t even have to dig holes to find them.

Where to Find Rocks: While you can start your collection in your own backyard, the best results are usually found in dry stream beds or areas where erosion has revealed unusual rocks. Attractive stones, rocks and gems can be found anywhere cuts have been made in the earth, i.e., construction sites, quarries and ditches. We have a wealth of a rock hound’s paradise right here in our Arizona desert and mountain spaces.

Realize It’s a Unique Collectible: Rocks are earth’s “one of a kind” natural sculptures and treasures formed in the rough over thousands of years in a combination of fluid, heat and pressure. The best part is that YOU get to choose which ones to pick up and put in your personal collection.

Rock Collecting Tools: A geologist’s hammer, a pair of gloves, a plastic bucket and a magnifying glass are the basic tools needed. The hammer has two sides, a blunt end and a pick end. It can be used to break off rock specimens and trim them to display size. It’s best to wear safety glasses when hammering rocks to protect your eyes.

Collecting and Displaying Rocks: When you have your favorites sorted out, it’s a good idea to keep a record of when and where you found them. Rocks don’t require any special treatment. You can wash them in cold water and clean them with an old toothbrush. Even an egg carton can be used to display your collection.

How to Find More Information: Sun Lakes has one of the oldest and largest clubs (nearly 200 members). It’s called the Rock, Gem & Silver Club. We started 47 years ago, back in 1972, meeting at 10:00 a.m. every third Monday of each month in the Navajo Room of the Sun Lakes Country Club (October through May). And since we are always seeking new members, your first meeting is FREE! Then it’s only $25 for the whole year’s membership. Lots of pictures and details are available at our website,

C U @ our next Rock Club meeting at 10:00 a.m. on March 18.