Start your own Mineral Collection

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To a mineral collector, there isn’t much that brings more satisfaction than obtaining a good specimen of a mineral species that was missing from your collection.   If you have some space you can dedicate to building your own collection of rocks and minerals, it can be a fun and educational hobby.  Some people get plenty of enjoyment just out of how attractive a well-crystallized piece can be catching the sunlight on a windowsill, while others build serious study collections to focus on certain families of minerals, or mining locations.

You may prefer to carefully shop for and purchase your pieces, or you may want to stick with specimens you’ve collected yourself, but most collectors combine both.

•  Rockhounding Tips and Advice (video 18:22)

•  How to Start Your Own Mineral Collection (article) Some advise on how to get started

•  How to Start Collecting Rocks and Minerals for Beginners (article) Comprehensive and well-organized article addresses many aspects of the hobby

Focus on Collecting in the Field:


Besides the measures one would usually consider before taking a hike, such as precautions in case one is lost or injured, a rockhounding trip needs to take into consideration:   

•  Head ProtectionA hard hat is advised when collecting where rocks may fall from above

•  Safety GlassesEspecially when you or someone nearby is breaking rocks. The fragments, or ‘rocknel’, can fly unpredictably, and farther than you’d think

•  GlovesBroken rocks, especially Quartz, can have very sharp edges

•  Knee Padsif your digging style has you kneeling a lot

•  Steel-toed Boots Because if a big rock rolls across your toes, it could be a painful hike home

The most effective first step to getting started with Field Collecting is through mentorship from someone who already knows their way around.  You can chat with mineral dealers in their shops and at mineral shows; you can find an online group and connect virtually, or you can join a mineral club local to you.

•  AFMSThe American Federation of Mineralogical Societies – lists Mineral Clubs state-by-state

•  EFMLSThe Eastern Federation of Mineralogical and Lapidary Societies – lists Mineral Clubs for the eastern United States, but is more inclusive.

You can also search online, or on Facebook for rockhounding meetup groups. Or, check out our Clubs page.

You can learn a lot on your own by researching online about locations and minerals, but most rockhounds end up with a small library of reference books as well, including guidebooks for help to find collecting sites, and whether they are open for collecting or not.  Check with the above groups as to what guides are best for your area. 

•  NH Mineral Locations –  as listed on

Its a long list, but many of the descriptions are very vague, consisting of notations of single occurrences that may never have been found again. This site is not updated as to the collecting status of the locations.

•  White Mountains National Forest –  ares open to collecting.

Information you need to know before collecting on the National Forest land, primarity the Moat Mountain locations.

Open NH Locations, subject to change without notice:

Moat Mountain Collecting Areas in Albany, NH

• article

• photo gallery

•  Typical miarolic cavity

Black Cap Mountain Collecting Area in Conway, NH

• photo gallery of specimens from Black Cap Mountain

•  Hiking Directions for Black Cap Mountain Trail

Hurricane Mountain Collecting Area in Intervale, NH

•  Hiking Directions

• article

• photo gallery

Iron Mountain Mine in Bartlett, NH

• article

• photo gallery

•  The hike up Iron Mountain, Including the collecting area

Mascot Mine in Gorham, NH

• article

• photo gallery

•  Video of the hike, mine and collecting area

Ruggles Mine in Grafton, NH (opening to public summer 2021)

• article

• photo gallery

•  Ruggles Mine Gallery, including recent status updates

•  And, because everyone wants to know, Where to Find Gold in NH?

•  Also:  Here’s another informational page about NH Gold.

Owners of some collecting sites allow organized collecting trips by mineral clubs.

•    Reccomended Tools for your Rock-Collecting Trip

•    Reccomendations from a Collector (video 6:36)

Once you Get Your Rocks Home

•    Cleaning Specimens colleted in the field (video 17:02)

•    A Tidy Display of Smaller Specimens  (video 4:38)

If you want to retail the value of your collection, PROPER LABELLING IS VITAL!

•    How to Create Your Own Custom Labels Using Word (video 2:35)

•    Labeling and Cataloging Rocks, Minerals and Fossils  (article)

•    Tips for How to Display your Growing Collection  (article)

These linked videos are but a small sampling of what you can find online as you research on your own.

Rockhounds love to show off their finds!