Kids and New Collectors – Information


It is my wish that in sharing the breath of my inspiration,
it will give rise to that bubble of excitement within yourself.

I have several different gemstones offered here to introduce you to the world of minerals. You can purchase them each individually, or in a grab-bag for those of you who wish to start with a small selection that I have put together for you.

This is a wonderful way to make a connection with a child, ANY child. Yours or someone else’s. The child within yourself.

I will forever have the bond I created with my Granny so many years ago, spending quiet hours picking up stones and spending time.

This page is to encourage you, as a new collector, to feed that spark, fan that flame so it will grow, so you too will have the desire to collect more and learn more, and feel the same excitement when you hold a new stone as I still get even these 40 years later. To experience the thrill of discovery, to make a new mineral friend.

To make this page easier to navigate, here are some links to the different sections here:



I started picking up rocks with my Granny on our summer vacations to Crescent City, California. We would pick up the agate on the beach. Sometimes we would lay in the pebbles and sift through them, holding them up to the sunlight to see which were most translucent.

The top layer, dried by the sun, which beckoned us to sit and dig was deceptive. The sea water would seep up from the under layer and soak our knees and elbows. When the agates we found dried, we would lick them to rediscover the shine.

She collected patches and buttons from her travels and sewed them on her favorite rock hounding jacket. She would giggle as she pointed out her favorite button which I still have. “I’m an Agate Licker”… you can imagine the stares she used to get from wearing that one!

My grandparents were both avid rock hunters, members of their local Gem and Mineral society, traveling the United States after their retirement, collecting gemstones of all types and varieties.

I can remember how proud I was when they allowed me to tag along on one of the group digs. We were looking for hematite or rhodonite or some other “ite”… I don’t even remember now… It was well over 30 years ago (EEK!) Scrambling over logs that crossed rushing creeks, wandering about for hours, having no idea what I was looking for and having the time of my life.

I learned my first rock term that day, as I picked up so many of them, asking if it was the particular “ite” we were looking for… “No, that’s a Leaverite”, they would say. “What is Leaverite and why aren’t we picking that up too?”, I asked innocently. Laughing at my having fallen for their inside joke, they would then reveal, “It is a Leaverite because you’re supposed to Leave ‘er right there!”

They also dug antique bottles from old home sites. My grandpa used his metal detector to search the edges of the woods for the “scrap pile”, where the previously discarded bottles were to be found. Granny and I would pick up the rusted and bent square nails which were handcrafted so many years ago.

What they were going to do with it all was beyond me. It didn’t matter. It was the thrill of the find. It was such an adventure to rumble down old wagon trails, slowly bouncing in and out and around ruts and potholes and rubbing so close to rain-moistened ferns and leaf-covered tree limbs on each side that we had to pull our arms back as they lashed at open windows.

They also had claim to 5 gold-mining sites in the Trinity Mountains, on Mule Creek. Summers were spent there in the cool-dark woods, knee-deep in the icy cold stream, playing in the summers’ heat and panning for gold.

We would shake the dirt off the moss growing under the roots of trees on the creek bank that had been eroded away by high water the previous winter. Squatting in the rocks and pebbles at the waters edge, we would swirl the water over the dirt in our gold pans with the rhythmic swish swish swish, carefully washing away the brown dirt and debris, looking to reveal the black sand where the gold was typically found, and then hoping to find gold, heaviest of all, which would settle to the bottom.

At the end of the day, we would marvel at the nuggets my Grandpappy would reveal from a long day of dredging from under bedrock in the deep creek holes and beds. This almost made the constant drone of the gas engine seem worth the intrusion into the peaceful green dogwood canopy surroundings.

My sister and I would proudly show off our tiny glass jars filled with water and gold specks while we ate hot-dogs and marshmallows beside the campfire.

On the most odd occasion, a black bear would surprise us by making his presence known. My sister and I, straining for a closer look, were quickly shushed into the travel trailer by Granny. At this sudden panic by our grandparents, realizing our peril, my sister and I stood, stock still, breathing shallowly, as if not to alert the bear to our presence, our mouths open and our eyes darting around, watching the bear and waiting for the all clear.

Of course, the bear would amble off, as unaware of us as he was when he appeared from the dark woods. For days, the hiking restriction which was “within eyesight of the camp”, was strictly enforced and to be followed without exception. As kids do, we would slowly push our boundaries as far as we could, until we were pulled back by the reminder of the bears and other dangers lurking about. The feeling of fear easily faded and we would spend weeks hoping for another “sighting”.

I wouldn’t trade the memories of those summers spent rock hounding and gold-digging for anything in the world. They hooked me on minerals and stones like an addict to a drug… enter quartz crystals…

During all this time, the summers that were spent visiting my grandparents in Northern California, I lived on a farm in the Sacramento River Valley, about 2 & 1/2 hours North of Sacramento. In the early eighties, my grandparents partitioned off an acre in our field, where they built a house, so they could be closer to us.

They continued their rock hounding, but since Grandpap was now retired from the Forest Service, they were able to travel, and expand their mineral lust beyond the Trinity National Forest to include the entire United States.

They used to drive out to Arkansas and mine for crystal for weeks at a time. They had to ship it back by UPS because there was too much to carry back in their car.

I can still remember the huge clusters and points, laid out on the tables that Grandpappy made in the front yard, rows and rows of them, four feet wide and 20 to 30 feet long.

They were more like frames, really, with wire mesh for tops, so the rain would wash through as it cleaned the clay off the crystals. The spikes and shining points glimmered and flashed like diamonds in the hot California sunshine…

If I wasn’t before, now I was hooked for sure. The thrill of adventure and the anticipation of the unknown is still with me, urging me on every time I pick up a new stone.

Even though it’s been over 20 years since she made her transition back to Spirit, I will always maintain my connection with my grandmother through my closeness with Mother Earth. I hear her in the breeze when I walk along the beach. I feel her every time I bend over to pick up a stone. I see her every time I hold an agate up to the sun.


Some of these stones are in their “natural” state (untumbled), some are tumbled or polished. I will specify with each stone. I will also try to tell you where I got each stone. If I don’t know the stones’ origin (where it came from in the Earth) I will tell you how I came to have it to offer to you.

Many of these stones are from the collection left to me from my Grandparents. You may wonder why I am not keeping them. I have kept many, in my own mineral family, but it came to the point where I felt I was simply hoarding all of these wonderful stones. That they needed to go out to other homes and spark an interest in others as they sparked mine.

Others, I got specifically for this collectors page because they are really COOL stones and great to charge up any beginner. (Or re-kindle the excitement of a long-time collector like they did me!)

On this page I’m not going to get deep into the Metaphysical properties. Those can easily be found on any web search. I’ll just be listing the stones, their basic mineral properties, how they LOOK and how they FEEL. Why I think they are cool.

I will list the MOHS’ rating of each stone. The MOHS’ scale of Hardness is a mineralogical rating system to help us determine the hardness of stones in comparison to one another. Stones are “rated” on a scale from 1 to 10. 1 is the softest stone, Talc, (think of talcum powder), and 10 is the hardest, which is a diamond. In a “scratch test”, a stone on the scale ABOVE the next will be able to scratch the one below (a diamond (10) can scratch a quartz crystal (7 – 7.5), but a quartz crystal cannot scratch a diamond. If you are in the “field” and want to test a stone to see if it is what you think it is, you can use this basic “scratch test”. You don’t have to have a set of these 10 stones, they have narrowed it down to things such as whether you can scratch it with your fingernail, or a penny or perhaps a piece of glass.

A basic web search will leave you with many sites to explore. Among which are many AWESOME websites which have many many minerals listed alphabetically, exciting for ANY mineral enthusiast. Don’t forget to bookmark your favorites. They aren’t always as easy to find the second time as you might think. I have so many bookmarked that my list is overflowing.

Though each website may have similar lists, some lists don’t contain the same minerals, or the information isn’t as complete or offers different types of information. It is good to have links to many different sites. Some are purely geological, some scientific, some mineralogical, some metaphysical.

EXCELLENT! There is even one where you click on the link to that particular mineral, and there is a short .wav file that plays the correct pronunciation of the stone’s name and lists many of the mineralogical and geological properties of the stone, as well as a spinning 3D rendering of the molecular structure of each mineral. It is TOO COOL!!!


This is an excerpt used by permission from an e-mail sent to me from a self proclaimed “geology geek” friend of mine with regards to how having knowledge about the stones you buy is very important.

If you don’t know about the stone, then ASK the person from whom you are buying it. If THEY don’t know anything about it, it might be best not to buy it from them, or research it before you make that purchase.

Here’s what Judi said:

“For example, I was at a local rock show and saw a young boy pick up a gorgeous orpiment specimen, show it to his younger (3 yr old) brother, and ask his mom if he could buy it. She glanced over, saw a pretty orange-red rock, and said, “Sure, honey.”

I butted in and said, “Excuse me, do you know what that rock is?” She looked down at the label and said, “Orpiment?”

I said, “No, I’m sorry–what I mean is, do you know that orpiment is arsenic ore? That the rock your son is holding is 60-75% pure arsenic? And that it’s highly toxic and should never be handled with bare skin, much less ever put in a kid’s mouth?”

I picked up a Realgar specimen and said, “This one, too. Arsenic ore. Kids like them because they’re bright red and orange, but they’re poisonous and should only be purchased by adults.”

Needless to say, mom didn’t let junior buy the rock–but there are lots of minerals out there that can be extremely useful to metaphysical healers (orpiment’s a good one for treating cancer) but should never, never, be handled or made into tinctures. (Orpiment should be kept in a closed case, because as it oxidizes, it releases some of its arsenic molecules into the air we breathe.)

Take Cinnabar–I saw some beautiful beads on e-Bay; white quartz with streaks of red cinnabar running through them. They would make a delightful necklace if it weren’t for the fact that cinnabar is mercury ore and that mercury can be absorbed directly through the skin! Bad news!

People think all of this stuff is regulated by some government body, but it’s not. I’d hate to have someone injured or killed due to a lack of a tiny (but important!) bit of information.”

WHOA! Again, thanks for the info, Judi!


HAPPY (and safe) COLLECTING !!



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