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Rockhounding: Secrets of a Rock Collector

Stephanie has been an online writer for eight years. Her articles focus on everything from RVing to rock collecting.

Rockhounding in the Southwest

Chalcedony is frequently found in the Arizona desert, and is often used to make beautiful wire wrap jewelry.

Chalcedony is frequently found in the Arizona desert, and is often used to make beautiful wire wrap jewelry.

Rock Collecting or Rock Hoarding

There seems to be a fine line between rock collecting and rock hoarding. Rock collecting brings to mind the scientific collection of specimens. Hoarders just haphazardly pick up and keep any rocks that appeal to them.

Wikipedia defines compulsive hoarding as:

"the selfish acquisition of possessions...even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary"

It's easy to cross the line when you begin to pick up every pretty, shiny, interesting rock you see. Below is a useful guide for the best ways to do it.

RVing and Rock Collecting

Anyone who camps in the desert understands the lure of rock collecting. You’re surrounded by rocks. Rocks in your campsite, rocks on the roads. On BLM land, the dispersed campsites are often outlined with the rocks that people have collected through the winter season. Snowbirds who boondock in Arizona and other warm climates make rock jewelry and cut and polish rocks. They collect fossils and search for gemstones. Some snowbirds look for gold and go off into the desert with their gold panning equipment. Others search for turquoise on the desert floor or in old turquoise mines.

With all the opportunities available to rock hounds, it’s nearly impossible not to succumb to the urge to collect rocks when you are camping out or hiking those interesting trails.

Outdoor Activities and Rock Collecting

But you don't have to go camping to become hooked on rock collecting. Anyone who walks outdoors can be tempted to pick up the rocks along their path. Visit a park, forest or beach and you might find yourself picking up some shinny orange rock or a piece of pretty quartz or an agate. Before you know it, you have a pocketful of stones, then a bag full, then a bucket full. It's definitely easy to become hooked on rock collecting.

Finding Turquoise

Gathering some flake turquoise out of an abandoned turquoise mine in Arizona.

Gathering some flake turquoise out of an abandoned turquoise mine in Arizona.

Serious Rockhounding and Casual Collectors

If you've ever been interested in rocks, you know that there are serious rockhounds and also casual collectors.

Serious rockhounds learn rock and mineral identification and carry their field guides, rock picks and gad bars on their belts. They know an agate from a quartz. Their collections are carefully categorized by name and type and labeled with date and location where they were found. Serious rockhounds haunt the rock and mineral shows, trade specimens and own their own cutting and polishing equipment. They are not to be taken lightly.

Casual collectors are a whole different breed of rock collectors. They seldom know the name of the rock they are holding, and categorize their collection by names such as "black shinny rocks" and "pretty pink rocks." They collect during their walks in the desert or on the beach, and pick up anything that strikes their fancy. (That's me!)

However, both kinds of rock collectors love rocks, fill their RVs and homes with rocks, hoard rocks in every available space, and always want just one more beautiful rock!

Geodes and Fossils

Crystals inside of a geode.

Crystals inside of a geode.

I came upon this rock in the Arizona desert. Do read my hub about a Rockhound's Discovery.

I came upon this rock in the Arizona desert. Do read my hub about a Rockhound's Discovery.

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5 Reasons to Collect Rocks

Collecting rocks is appealing to kids as well as adults. There are many reasons why it's a great hobby:

  1. Rock collecting is cheap! If you collect your own on your walks and hikes, rocks are free!
  2. Rocks are readily available! You can find rocks on the beach, in the mountains, by the lake, in the desert or in your driveway!
  3. Rocks are interesting and beautiful. Each rock is different, with different colors, shapes, textures and consistencies. Some are very beautiful.
  4. Rocks have history. Some rocks contain fossils tell a story of prehistoric times and of the formation of the earth.
  5. Rocks are useful. Rocks have been used as tools and building materials since the beginning of civilization, but the collector can also make them into jewelry and decorative objects.

Useful Objects Made From Rocks

Paperweight made from polished petrified wood. Purchased at Petrified Forest National Park.

Paperweight made from polished petrified wood. Purchased at Petrified Forest National Park.

Wire wrap jewelry made from cut and polished stones.

Wire wrap jewelry made from cut and polished stones.

Turquoise and silver jewelry made from cut and polished turquoise.

Turquoise and silver jewelry made from cut and polished turquoise.

Some Uses of Rocks

Some people may view this as a rather useless hobby, but rock collectors like myself know that there are many good uses for the rocks that we pick up everywhere. Here are some of the many uses of rocks:

  • Primitive people knew that rocks could be made into useful items like spear heads, arrow heads, hammers, mortar and pestles, jewelry and beads.
  • Rocks like granite, marble and travertine (a form of limestone found near hot springs) are cut into slabs and used for building materials, floors and walkways.
  • Obsidian, a black volcanic glass, is used for making scalpels and knives, beautiful wind chimes and carvings.
  • Marble and granite is used for sculptures, headstones, buildings and monuments.
  • Jewelry is fashioned from many, many different rocks and minerals.
  • Household items like clocks, picture frames, bookends, paperweights, ashtrays, figurines can be made from petrified wood, jade, turquoise and other beautifully colored and patterned rocks and minerals.
  • Large chunks of rock are made into benches, sculptures, lawn ornaments and landscaping focal points.

Creative Uses for the Small Collector of Rocks

When you are a rock hoarder like myself, you may need a few excuses to pick up one more rock. So I've developed a list of more creative uses for those collected rocks.

  • Use rocks as decorations around flower beds.
  • Place rocks in decorative baskets or pretty dishes around the house.
  • Rocks make great paperweights.
  • Keep a few rocks handy for defense purposes.
  • Add pretty rocks to indoor fountains or planters.
  • Hide a key under a rock.
  • Add some to your aquarium.
  • Put a few favorites with your plants in your indoor flower planters.
  • Fill a pretty vase with colorful rocks, and add water to bring out the colors.
  • Line the edges of flower beds with rocks.
  • Glue some felt or cork to the bottom and use the for doorstops or bookends.

Trailer for The Long, Long Trailer

Rock Hoarding Insipired by Lucille Ball

Years ago Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz starred in a movie called The Long, Long Trailer. It was a hilarious account of their adventures traveling across country pulling a camper trailer. Lucy became fascinated with the rocks along the way and began picking them up and putting them in the trailer. Despite Desi’s warnings not to pick up more rocks, she stashed them in closets, cupboards and every nook and cranny. Needless to say, her rock collecting backfired when rocks started breaking loose and rolling out of their hiding places.

"LUCY! You've got some 'splaining to do!"

Sometimes my husband accuses me of being like Lucy, because I do stash my rocks in all the nooks and crannies of our RV and in the little Jeep Wrangler that we tow behind it. I have baggies of small colored rocks in our kitchen drawers and in the bedroom closet. I have larger rocks hidden in the bottom of my clothes closet and in our basement storage compartments. There are coffee cans full of chalcedony and pretty, naturally polished desert stones. I have a separate place for rocks with flakes of turquoise, petrified wood. There are chunks of glittering white quartzite from Arizona and shinny black obsidian from California. A few pounds of rocks were picked up along a beach on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Rock Collecting While RVing: Things to Consider

Like Lucy in the Long, Long Trailer, there were a few things I didn't consider as I picked up all of those interesting rocks during our travels. I did have to secret some of them away so that my husband didn't know exactly how many I had, and those boxes, baggies and coffee cans added up. If you are into rock collecting while RVing, you may may want to consider these points:

  • Rocks are heavy. Added weight reduces gas mileage.
  • Rocks take up space. Space is very limited in an RV.
  • Check the legality of rock collecting before picking up rocks. Rock collecting may be limited or banned in certain places. For example, you can't pick up petrified wood in the Petrified Forest National Park! Most National Parks have some limits on how many pounds of rocks you can collect, so do check them out before loading your backpack with pretty specimens.

Rock Collecting Tools

If you are thinking of rock collecting, you may want to carry a few useful tool with you in a canvas bag or backpack:

  • Gloves
  • Rockhound gad bar
  • Rock pick
  • Treasure scoop
  • Geologist field tools
  • Rock hammer
  • Magnifying glass
  • Safety glasses
  • Rock chisel

Don't forget to take some water, both to drink and to rinse off dust to get a better idea of what your rock looks like.

Rock collector or rock hoarder?

The Fascination of Rocks

Whether you are a serious collector, an amateur geologist or just love to pick up pretty stones, collecting rocks is a fascinating pastime. You'll have some interesting and free souvenirs of your travels that you can display in a variety of ways, indoors and out. This is an especially fun hobby to share with children as they can collect on so many different levels, depending on their age and interest. Do encourage those budding geologists!

Do have fun on your next rock collecting outing!

Questions & Answers

Question: How do you clean rocks from the southwest desert?

Answer: I clean my rocks by putting them in a bucket of water with some mild soap and letting them soak a while to loosen the dirt. Sometimes I use a toothbrush to clean out indentations and cracks. Then, I rinse them with clear water.

Question: Are geode fossils worth anything?

Answer: Some geodes are filled with perfect crystals and may be worth something to collectors, especially if they contain rare or semiprecious gems. The only ones I’ve found have had no monetary value, but I enjoyed them.

Question: Where can I find information on how to make jewelry such as rings out of Petoskey stones?

Answer: There are many books and articles on how to do wire wrap jewelry. I think this would be one good way to make jewelry from Petoskey stones. Try an internet search.

Question: I'm very into carving and creating jewelry and sculptures. Do you carve rocks you collect? What do you recommend for good quality rock carving equipment that's affordable?

Answer: No, I do not carve or create sculptures. Do some research on the internet or in your local library on how to get started with the proper equipment. You might also go to some of your local craft shows and talk to craftsmen and artists for recommendations on places to purchase affordable equipment.

© 2012 Stephanie Henkel


Jilian on August 01, 2020:

I collect rocks that are naturally shaped like a heart!!!! I have been doing that and rock hoarding for like 20 years now. I have some really really amazing heart rocks!!!!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 23, 2019:

It does, and it's extra special if you find it yourself in your rock hunting excursions.

Besarien from South Florida on August 23, 2019:

Thanks Stephanie!

I just love pretty things that aren't expensive. I bet flake turquoise makes a fantastic paper weight or book end if you can find a good sized piece.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 22, 2019:

Thanks for your comment, Besarien. I meant to say "flake" turquoise as the rock is really pretty, but the turquoise flakes off in thin layers when scraped. It does make a nice conversation piece, though.

Besarien from South Florida on August 22, 2019:

Hey Stephanie! Your photos are fabulous and would make anybody want to be a rockhound. Under the photo, did you mean fake or flake turquoise? That looks pretty real to me.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on July 09, 2019:

Hi Lynne, I have put my rocks in my flower planters and flower beds to show them off. I also like to put some of my favorites on shelves in my house and display smaller ones in glass containers. A lot depends on what you have room for in your home.

Lynne on June 22, 2019:

I just have a pile of cool rocks (hoarder) outside my back door but I’d like to have a place/ display if you will, anyone have great ideas for that?

Tim on June 20, 2019:

I myself am a hoarder and will sfash rocks everywhere eveb tho wife has told me no more rocks in the house.

Richard L Henderson on June 18, 2019:

I love my rocks! I use vinegar to clean them sometimes.i have petrefried and fossils,whole and broken ,thousands of them .

syed on November 30, 2017:

very nice collection

Larry W. Fish on September 15, 2017:

I enjoyed reading about rock collecting. When I was a young boy into my late teens I loved to collect rocks. I lived in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. If you have ever been there you would know how rocky of a terrain it is. I loved looking at your photos, such beauty in those rocks. Rocks can be made into some fine pieces of jewelry as you have shown here.

Becky from Oklahoma on August 29, 2017:

I enjoyed reading your Hub very much. It is educational and entertaining. I too love collecting rocks with all their unusual colors, layers and shapes. Truth be known, I'm somewhat of a rock hoarder, but I don't worry about it, I just enjoy the hobby and the beauty of them. Thanks

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on July 09, 2017:

Hi Helen, I'm definitely not an expert on this. I've had some geodes that were broken open and found some loose pebbles as well as crystals inside. If you are unsure what to do, you might contact a local geologist or a rockhound club for help. Hope you find a treasure!

Helen Stuart on July 04, 2017:

I don't want to talk too much, but I discovered a little geode, split in half, in my collection this morning. The advice is all on how to break one, but this one is already in half, but covered over with a white substance that was chalky at first glance, and I did a little scritching on it (looking for jewels) and one area is showing up spidery red, and the white area is very chrystalis but not as hard. What should I do? I've barely made a dent!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on July 01, 2017:

Helenstuart - How exciting it must be to find such wonderful artifacts!

Helen Stuart from Deep in the Heart of Texas on June 29, 2017:

I live in Mid Texas, hub of the main discovery of pre-clovis artifacts. I have found some artifacts that completely astound me, and a lot of spear points and ax-heads. Also crystals bigger than your fist, and petrified wood and effigies. Now It is so hard for me to leave a rock on the ground. I haven't had time to learn about all I have collected , but I know a great majority are tools. They are probably about 20,000 years old, much older than ever found in North America, I live only about 100 miles from the first discovery of these crude but ingenius tools and weapons.


Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on May 16, 2013:

Mechesier - I still sometimes have trouble recognizing a geode, but isn't it wonderful when you do find one? Happy rock collecting, and thanks for the visit!

mecheshier on May 16, 2013:

What a magnificent Hub! I am a rock hound from way back. I used to go rock hunting with my grandparents. They taught me how to recognize a geode.

Thank you for the wonderful tips and tricks. Voted up for useful and interesting!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on April 11, 2013:

sgbrown - Your place sounds wonderful, and I think iris and other flowers showcased against rocks would be fantastic! I'd love to see you do a hub on rocks in landscaping. :)

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on April 10, 2013:

Hopefully, we will never move again! I love our place here and I don't think I could get Johnny to move the larger rocks from one house to another! We live at the end of a small mountain range and part of my yard is actually outlined by huge rocks, it's awesome! We have 40 acres so I am always finding interesting rocks and some pieces of petrified wood here too. When my iris bloom, I will be taking some more pictures this year and perhaps write a hub about using rocks in landscaping. :)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on April 10, 2013:

sgbrown - Oh, my, we do share some interests here! I laughed when I read that you had your husband haul some rocks home with his tractor...we still have a boulder that I rescued from a hedgerow 40 years ago - and actually lugged around with us to 4 different houses when we moved! :)

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on April 10, 2013:

I am always picking up some pretty rock that I discover while I am walking. I have baggies of rocks stowed away. I use the larger ones to decorate my flower beds with too. I have even found some beautifully shaped rocks here on our 40 acres and some have been so large, that I had to talk hubby into going to get them with the tractor! I really enjoyed your hub and your pictures are awesome! Voted up, interesting and sharing! Have a wonderful day! :)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on March 26, 2013:

Wabash annie - It's nice to meet another rock and gem collector! I imagine that you have some wonderful opportunities to collect unique and beautiful rocks in Colorado! Glad you enjoyed my article. Thanks for reading and commenting!

wabash annie from Colorado Front Range on March 26, 2013:

I took some university geology and physical geography classes a number of years and will admit I am hooked on rocks and gems. They can be so very unique and beautiful. I enjoyed this hub so very much!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on December 18, 2012:

Moonlake - I never did find any Petoskey stones, though I did look. How nice that you were able to collect some! We spent a few weeks camping in Michigan, and along Lake Superior -- I did love the stones I found along the lake shore. Thanks so much for stopping in to read and comment, and thanks for the share!

moonlake from America on December 18, 2012:

I love rocks but I'm not a real collector. I have some cans full of rocks I collected at Lake Superior. We also have a few odd looking rocks around the house. I use them as decorating pieces in room. My favorite is Petoskey stones. Voted up and shared.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 30, 2012:

Mike Robbers - Your mother sounds lovely, and her hobby of collecting rocks on her travels is much like mine, I think. Rocks collected during our travels serve as wonderful mementos of beautiful places and great memories. Thanks for your comments and for the share!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 30, 2012:

Tillsontitan - Rocks are fascinating, and something that anyone can collect and enjoy, Thank you for your very nice comments!

Mike Robbers from London on November 30, 2012:

My mother is a rock hoarder.. she travels and walks quite often and she always collects baskets and boxes of rocks. Her house is surrounded with hundreds of beautiful and interesting rocks .. I think that her hobby is truly enjoyable and spiritual, I admire her so much.

thanks for this beautiful hub, voted and shared :)

Mary Craig from New York on November 30, 2012:

There's a bit of the rock collector in all of us! Some just because as you've stated, some "for our gardens", whatever the reason people just seem to like rocks! This was a great subject to write about Stephanie and you've covered it so well with truly lovely pictures!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 30, 2012:

Glimmer Twin Fan - Glad to see you again! Thanks for the share!

Cynthia B Turner from Georgia on November 30, 2012:

As children, my brothers and I would collect different types of rock in the Virginia mountains. In the area we lived in there was plenty of shale and for some reason we thought that was really cool rock. Creek beds also have a variety of rock that we apparently thought was something remarkable. Oddly enough, reading this triggered those memories. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

LaThing from From a World Within, USA on November 30, 2012:

This is a wonderful article, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I love rocks, they fascinates me! I love picking up rocks and bringing them home :) my second son is just like me, and he brings all kinds of stuff home, lol.....

Your article was very thorough, and I loved your way of hoarding rocks in the RV, basements, coffee cans, LOL

thanks for sharing..... Voting up and awesome!

Claudia Porter on November 30, 2012:

Back for another visit. I love this hub and it reminds of summer rock picking. Sharing.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on November 09, 2012:

pstrauble48 - I'm so glad you enjoyed my Rockhounding hub! If you go to Arizona you are sure to see many beautiful sights, and perhaps finds some beautiful rocks to take home. Even if you don't find them by hiking the deserts, there are so many rock shops in Arizona, that you're sure to have a great time exploring them for treasures! Thanks so much for your kind comments. It's always so nice to have you visit!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on November 09, 2012:

Jaw dropping. The photographs are amazing. I have always been an admirer of rocks but have never really been anywhere that I could find such as these. You are so fotunate. I am coming to Arizona next summer with my sister so hopefully I will get to see some like these then.

Coming to your site (for lack of a better word ) is something I do periodically as I know there will be some new gem waiting here for me to enjoy. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and +++

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 18, 2012:

ChristinS - It's funny how we get hooked on our collecting, isn't it? I'm sure your little owls are delightful even if everyone doesn't appreciate them. :) Rocks do have a treasure of history. They bring back treasured memories, but also contain their own geological history. They can, however, quickly overwhelm a small space! I'm so happy that now I have a place to unload the RV and can keep my rocks on my garden wall and in various other places in and out of doors.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 18, 2012:

Hi Midget38 - Thanks for stopping in to read! Rock collectors seem to find many ways to display and store their rocks. I'm sorry that you had to leave your collection behind when you moved, but if you're like many rock hounds, you'll have a new collection in no time! :)

Christin Sander from Midwest on September 18, 2012:

I really liked your hub. My grandparents actually started my love for rocks. When I was little they had a rock well and it was surrounded by rocks they picked up from all of their travels. I love the beauty of them and the history contained within them. I have a smaller collection than they did, but I find myself drawn to many different rocks and stones. I can see how they could quickly overwhelm an RV :) I had to chuckle at the Lucy reference there. In our house it's that way with my owl collection - I have so many owl statues, figurines, etc. that they peek at you from every nook and cranny of this house. Every time I get a new one I see the little eye rolls going on lol. Great hub voted up and shared.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on September 18, 2012:

I used to have an air well full of rocks and plants, but we had to move. Rocks have many creative uses, as décor or paper weights! a great idea for a hub!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 07, 2012:

Frogyfish - An upcoming article on Arizona rocks sounds really interesting - I'll be watching for it! If you give me a heads up when you link to my article, I'll do the same here. Thanks so much for stopping by to read and comment. It's always nice to meet another rock hoarder. :)

frogyfish from Central United States of America on September 06, 2012:

An informative, cheery hub about rocks! Have to admit I am almost a 'hoarder'...not as bad as you though. :-) Your travels must have been infinitely interesting for nature scenes, different travel places...and those ultimately beautiful rocks. I am 'intending' to write about Arizona's beautiful rocks--including black nephrite jade and multi-colored jadeite - that were discovered, validated and mined by my deceased stepfather. I would like to link to your interesting hub whenever I accomplish that if you don't mind. Thank you so much for sharing your information and pictures here!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 05, 2012:

Tammyswallow - When there are so many pretty rocks around, it's hard not to pick them up. Seashell and seaglass collecting is also addicting - I can see why you hoard them for your beautiful crafts! Thanks so much for stopping in to read and comment!

Tammy from North Carolina on September 05, 2012:

If I saw rocks like these, I would definatley keep them. I LOVE the paperweight. I only have a few rocks but my hoarding item would be seashells and seaglass. I try to do crafts with these, but the seaglass is challenging. I love your photos. I can see why you love them.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 03, 2012:

TToombs08 - I can imagine how devastated you were when your rock collection disappeared.How lucky you are to be married to someone who understands you and your rock collecting nature. Thanks for sharing your memories here, Terry!

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on September 03, 2012:

I admit, I'm a rock hoarder, and I blame it on my father! When he would be stationed overseas on unaccompanied duty, he'd always send me back rocks. Then, when I was older, we would go hiking and bring back fossils and rocks. I loved my collection, each rock had a special memory. My mom, not understanding this, decided to clean my room when I went to Girl Scout camp and tossed my rock collection out. I won't go into what a cruel and twisted woman she was.

I have started my hoarding anew, every time my husband and I take our son someplace. Hubby is a lot more understanding but gets a little annoyed at all the rocks in the cab of his beloved pickup, but doesn't dare toss them. He is such a sweetie, he left a shell collection from Florida on his dash for almost 2 years before he finally broke down and handed them to me and asked me to find them a new home. :)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 01, 2012:

Great idea, Peggy! I'll add a link to your hub here, too!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 01, 2012:

Hi again Stephanie,

I just added a link of this hub to mine about rocks. It will make a nice addition! I love that "I love Lucy" episode! Haha!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 01, 2012:

Happyboomernurse - Lucy and Desi's movie is a classic. I still love it, though I'm not so sure that the comparison to Lucy is actually a good thing... :)

I love to see the transformation of rocks from their natural state to a polished stone, and the rock jewelry found in the Southwest is so varied and beautiful.

Thanks so much for stopping in to read and comment!

Gail Sobotkin from South Carolina on September 01, 2012:

Great hub, especially since I remember watching the Long, Long Trailer movie with Lucy and Desi and could so vividly imagine you stashing your rocks away!

I don't usually collect rocks but I do love them, especially the smooth ones I see on the beach.

Love the jewelry in this hub.

Voted up across the board.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on September 01, 2012:

Peggy W - Thanks for bringing my attention to your hub on rock collecting - it's one that I missed. I am fascinated by beautiful rocks, though I don't usually try to stash them in my suitcase when flying. :) Seeing my rocks on my garden wall and around my flower beds always brings back lovely memories of the places I found them. Besides collecting for their beauty and interest, rocks can be a great souvenir! Thanks so much for the read, comments and share!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 01, 2012:

Hi Stephanie,

One of my very first hubs was "I've got rocks in my head...oops!...I mean bed" if this gives you an idea of my love for collecting rocks. I have them lining my garden beds and other areas. I have also purchased petrified wood as bookends and just love the looks of beautiful rocks. Yes they are heavy...especially when bringing them back in suitcases when flying. I did that years before all of the new weight limits went into effect. We are very much alike in our fascination for the pretty rocks. Loved this hub! Up votes and sharing.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 31, 2012:

Movie Master - I understand exactly where you are coming from! I do love the beauty in rocks, whether they are small enough to pick up or giant rock formations. The rock I picked up in Arizona has mystified me from the beginning. It looks like a fossil to me, but someone who knows Native American artifacts thinks it might actually be a carving. Someday I will take it to an expert to get more information on it.

Thanks so much for sharing your comments here!

Movie Master from United Kingdom on August 31, 2012:

I am a rock hoarder, I love collecting rocks - I know nothing about them - I see only the beauty in them! Going home with pockets full of rocks means I've had a great time!

I use a lot of them in the garden, I think they look great around flower beds.

The rock you found in the Arizona desert looks fascinating!

A wonderful hub thank you and voted up.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 31, 2012:

Point2make - I'm not sure I'd know a meteorite if I found one, but it sure sounds like an interesting thing to look for on our walks in the desert! I also enjoy looking for fossils. We used to live on a farm in Central New York that had many fossils. We loved collecting them, and I still have one very large rock that lives in my flower bed that is full of fossilized sea creatures.

Enjoy your rock and fossil hunting!

point2make on August 30, 2012:

I enjoyed your great hub very much Stephanie. Thanks for all the great info and I loved your photos. As for myself, besides metal detecting, I hunt fossils. They are not really rocks but their close. I also search for meteorites. I must admit that in my travels I see a lot of interesting "rocks". After reading your hub I think I might have to add another target for my field trips......although I don't know how I'm going to break the news to my wife.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 30, 2012:

Starstream - It's interesting that you transitioned from rock collecting to jewelry making...I can see the logic in it. While I'm fascinated by the process of cutting and polishing stones for jewelry making, I don't have an interest in doing it myself. Now making the jewelry is another story! That would be so much fun! Thanks for sharing your comments here!

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on August 30, 2012:

I enjoyed rock collecting years ago. Then I admired the jewelry made with rocks and took a class in cutting and polishing a stone. Now, that is not my cup of tea but... loved the finished piece and now purchase finished cut stones and make a necklace or earrings. Very interesting subject and it is full of valuable information too.

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 30, 2012:

Kashmir56 - I love to pick up rocks on beaches as they are usually polished smooth by surf. They make a great addition to a garden landscape! Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on August 30, 2012:

Hi my friend great hub enjoyed reading it. I find rocks on the beach near my home and bring them home for my yard and garden.

Well done and vote up and more !!!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 30, 2012:

Austinstar - Thanks so much for the interesting Hawaiian rock lore! I remember seeing some of the rocks and notes on display at the Haleakala National Park visitor center that people had sent back because they thought that they were having bad luck as a result of taking rocks away from the volcano. I didn't realize that spirits of Hawaiian ancestors could be inhabiting the rocks!

I'm afraid that my rock collecting is rather haphazard, but I do enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 30, 2012:

Sally's Trove - I like your observation that rocks are so basic that we humans have a spiritual connection to them. One of the things I didn't talk about is the special meanings that certain rocks and minerals have for different people...but that's a whole other story! Rocks appeal to me as an artist for their colors, shapes and textures, but there's also something mystical about finding a rock with a fossil embedded in it or one so smooth that you wonder if it has been fashioned by a human.

Thanks so much for continuing to read my hub and for your insightful comments!

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on August 30, 2012:

Oh, I do love my little pretty rocks. I like river rocks the best. I don't really collect them, but I do have a few in vases or on my window sills. While living in Hawaii, I learned that collecting rocks was bad luck as the Hawaiians believe the spirits of their ancestors inhabit the rocks. At Haleakala National Park, they get literally tons of rocks in the mail that have been returned by rock collectors visiting the volcano.

If you hike the trails in Hawaii you will also find stacked rocks everywhere and the rocks are wrapped in banana leafs or some kind of leaves. The Hawaiians get very upset and angry if tourists disturb the rocks.

I tried to make a rock garden here at my house, but the weeds persisted in growing up through the black weed blocker and the sand, so I just gave it up.

Enjoy your hobby! Collecting rocks is fun.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on August 30, 2012:

When I saw the subject of this hub, I thought, well, that's interesting but nothing that really grabs my fancy. Then I read a few of the comments and thought, wait a minute! I do have rocks squirreled away here and there, inside the house and out, not to mention large-scale drawings I've done (many, many years ago) of collections of river rocks. In some unintentional way, rocks have grabbed my attention now and then, enough to keep them or draw them, although they've never been a hobby or even persistent interest. You know, I think maybe there's something so basic about rocks that we humans have a spiritual connection to them whether we know it or not.

Needless to say, I then read your hub which is, as usual, excellent! Thanks for bringing a bit of insight into my day. :)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 30, 2012:

rcrumple - Haha...I haven't had to toss any rocks so that we can get over the mountains...yet! The day might be coming! Now how did you manage to get rocks from the French Alps home? That's got to make those suitcases pretty heavy! Glad you enjoyed the hub - thanks for your comments!

Rich from Kentucky on August 30, 2012:

When I first saw the topic, "The Long Trailer" came immediately to mind. I could see you outside of your RV trying to decide which ones to toss to get over the mountain ahead.

I still have a couple of rocks from the French Alps stored somewhere, but my wife accuses me of having enough in my head that the house needs no more. Isn't marriage wonderful!

Enjoyed the hub! Up & Interesting & Useful

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 30, 2012:

Glimmer Twin Fan - I do love to collect rocks along the shores of the Great Lakes! We were in Petosky, but weren't there long enough to find any Petosky stones -- next trip for sure! Glad you enjoyed the article on rock collecting. Thanks for your comments!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 30, 2012:

Jackie Lynnley - Kids do seem to have a strong attraction to pretty rocks! Be careful checking his pockets, though, as there could be more than rocks in them! :)

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 30, 2012:

Oh, DzyMsLizzy, you are a gal after my own heart! :) I keep telling my husband that I will dump all my collected rock into my flower beds, but I can't bear to get them all muddy. Putting the rocks into jars of water is a great idea for bringing out the colors. I've also heard of people putting them into mineral oil. Just think how surprised your daughters will be when they discover their "inheritance!"

Thanks so much for sharing your rock hoarding story - I loved it!

Claudia Porter on August 30, 2012:

What an awesome hub! We've spent long hours on Michigan's upper peninsula collecting rocks. It's one of our favorite places to go. We also love Petosky stones found along Lake Michigan closer to Traverse City. This was really informative and has great tips!

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on August 29, 2012:

I love pretty rocks to place around my flowers and as I was preparing to type that I started wondering where they all have gone! Someone else must like pretty rocks too. Maybe my small grandson!

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on August 29, 2012:

Uh-oh! You caught me out! I admit to having both 'collections' and 'hoards' of rocks. It's all my mother's fault, you see. When I was a kid, we'd walk along the beach and she'd see a 'pretty white rock,' or a 'nice smooth rock,' and stick them in her pockets.

Pretty soon, there was a box of rocks. We never did anything with them except to paw through them now and again. As I got older, I realized the pretty beach rocks looked rather plain and boring after they were dry, so we took to putting them in clear glass vases of water, so they'd show off their pretty colors and shine.

When I was a kid, several of us were attracted to small white rocks, that for some unknown reason, we called, "Lucky Stones."

When I took a geology class when my own kids were in high school, I picked up rocks on our field trips...oh, but that was "collecting specimens."

Yes, I still have boxes and baskets of rocks, hidden away in closets...and I've no idea what I will ever do with them. I suppose I should write a note to my daughters, to be read after my death, apologizing to them for all the rocks they'll have to deal with.....

Voted up, interesting,useful and funny...oh, and shared!

Stephanie Henkel (author) from USA on August 29, 2012:

Mhatter99 - Fossils and other rocks are fascinating to those who collect them. I have not heard the term, "bone head" before! Thanks for stopping in to read and comment!

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on August 29, 2012:

I know somewhat what you are talking about, My son is a "bone head". Dinosaur bones, to me, look just like rocks. Thank you for this.