Top 10 rockhounding FAQs

Below I have listed a quick glance guide for the most asked questions from beginner rockhounds. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us and we will be sure to get back with you.

1.What is lapidary?

Lapidary is the complex work of engraving, cutting, or polishing stones or gems. A Lapidarist is someone who specializes in these complex workings.

2. How can I polish my own rocks?

You can use a heavy fabric such a denim, to polish the rocks until they begin to shine or show luster. You can also use a technique that involves sanding the rock with sandpaper, while slowly introducing higher grit levels. The starting level of your grit  will vary depending on what type of rock you are working on. For a cut slab of rock you would start with 180 grit and move up to 320, then 400, and finish at 600. As for rough stone you would begin with a grit of 120, and cycle through the same grit levels listed above. You can continue polishing the rocks with a cloth or coat them with mineral oil or commercial rock polish. These polishes can be purchased online for a low cost.

3. What is the difference between a rock and mineral?

A mineral is a dense formation that occurs naturally in the earth. Minerals have a unique chemical configuration. A rock is a solid combination of more than one mineral formation and is classified based on its formation process. They too occur naturally.

4. What rocks are the rarest?

Painite is the world’s rarest gemstone mineral.There are fewer than 25 specimens found. Black Opal is only found in ancient hot springs. It is so scarce it runs for $20,000 per carat. Musgravite is found in Australia, and falls at an 8-8.5 on the Mohs Scale. There are only 8 specimens ever to be identified. Alexandrite is a gemstone that exhibits an array of colors dependent on the nature of the lighting. The color change shifts when you pivot the gemstone in your hand. Alexandrite is known for shifting colors separately from the viewing angle, when viewed under an artificial light source. It runs for $100,000 per carat and emits a greenish to reddish color transition.

5. What is the purest gemstone?

Jadeite is the purest, rarest, and most brilliant gemstone in  the Jade family. While it comes in colors such as red, yellow, and black, green is the most common. It presents a unique shade of translucent emerald green (known as Imperial Jade). It is the most sought after Gemstone in the world. It runs for 3 million per carat.

6. What is a semi-precious gemstone?

These are Gemstones that are derived from Agate, Jasper, Amber, Jade, Chryscolla, Lapis Lazuli amongst hundreds of others. Semi-precious categorizes other stones that are not considered precious.

7. What makes a rock valuable?

Determining if you have a valuable rock is different for each piece. Here are some basic examinations you can do to determine if you have a valuable piece. Inspect the rock for its color, clarity, bizarre optical development. If the rock does not have any blemishes, you will have more market worth. Value of a rock also depends on where it falls on the Mohs scale (1 to 10 regarding hardness). The harder a rock, the more valuable.

8. What is the Mohs Scale?

The Mohs scale is the scale of hardness utilized to classify materials. It ranges from 1 to 10 applying a sequence of minerals to use as reference. The position on the scale depends on the ability to scratch the mineral.

9. What are the rarest rocks in The United States?

Benioite was first found in the San Benito River in California in 1907. It emits a blue color that mirrors a diamond. Under ultraviolet light, it beams a powerful blue-white color. Red Beryl first appeared in 1904 within Juab County, Utah. Red Beryl has only been found in a handful of places, and is considered very rare. It goes for $10,000 per carat.

10. How can you tell is a gemstone is real or not?

Since Gems are strong stones they should have no scratches. If you observe nicks or bubbles on the stone, it is fake. Another observation to make, is to assess for imperfections. A real gem should not look 100% perfect, they will naturally have some embellishments, due to how it is formed. If it does not have any flaws, it is fake.


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