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rock hunting ID Kits?


Anybody got a line on where to get a Rock Identification Test kit?
We were shown how to identify basic mineral samples at a local Lapidary museum but they did not have the kits to sell us for personal use?
Wondering where to buy one at? Scratch testing, hardness, cleavage, clarity, color, charts etc?

-Tom V.

Dave J.

New member
Nasco is just one of many companies selling such stuff:

Hmmm, think I need to browse through that list of stuff myself!

Champ Ferguson

New member
For common minerals(virtually everything youll come across), you can put together necessary items from things you probably have laying around the house.
For hardness; a file, piece of glass (NOT your handlens!), knife, fingernail, etc
A unglazed piece of ceramic for streak testing. (1 dark and 1 light is handy)
A weak acid, vinegar or diluted(!) muriatic.
And the 2 pieces you may have to buy: a good hand lens and a basic ID book(tho you could always d/l internet info). DONT scrimp on the handlens. I still use the one I bought in the 1970's almost daily.

With all of the above, you should be able to figure out pretty much any mineral you will come across unless you are in some very special sites. And if you are in those sites, you probably already know what you are looking for and its characteristics.. Important: learn what is found with what, and what is found in the area in which you are looking.

And dang I wish I could get half the prices of the rocks and minerals shown at that website. I literally have a mountain of limestone in my back yard. Lets see, at 1/2 price x $7.75/kg X 1 mountain x acres and acres........ I could pay off the national debt and still live very comfortably.

You didn't mention it, but get an Estwing rock hammer and a couple of ROCK chisels (Estwing makes good ones). You may also want a small sledge to use with the chisels- I recommend the 3# Estwing (see a trend here?) cause, remember, you'll be carrying that sucker all day.

Feel free to ask any questions about rockhounding. I haven't been on any significant collecting trips for years, but rockhounded from before I ever went to school to middle age pretty regularly. Now a retired geologist that mostly metal detects and occasionally prospects.


Thanks Dave,

I already found 2 gold bearing ore bodies on a relatives land. Had a galena crystal assayed and it came back as 0.13 ounces a ton for gold, 2.5 ounces a ton for silver.

In his creek , I noticed greenish /white rock outcroppings and at a distance I saw the greenish rock went up the side of a steep hill a couple hundred feet like a thick blanket.

I was expecting copper, but the assay showed .03 ounces a ton of gold, and .01 of silver and no copper. I made the mistake of taste testing this stuff!!!

Bad news indeed, gave me an instant and nasty panic attack, strong metallic taste as well...I'll never taste test a rock again...

.03 ounces a ton for gold might be good for a mining company but is worthless to this gold seeker who needs free mill gold .

I've seen expensive mineral testing kits for around $100 on Ebay with 6-8 hardened tips for testing for mineral hardness.
dunno if they are worth it or not? I already have rock chisels, several sledges, dowsing rods, dredge, hibankers, 10 detectors
but old age aches and pains hammer me every day and make it hard to get out to explore as much as I would like to.

Have also had some run ins with ghosts and such while out prospecting. I thought they only guarded buried pirate treasure

until I seen/ had my first encounter in the deep woods in Maine while looking for a blue crystal I had left there 30 years ago, just could

not bear to break it off at the time as it was so beautiful with the sun light shining in behind it. It cast a dark blue glow out a couple feet into the creekbed.

This ghost kept asking what I was searching for? I say ghost because when I asked her where my car was at, since I was lost, she pointed to a trail

I had not seen. I turned to look , saw the trail, turned back to keep talking to her and she and her angry white dog had both disappeared.

I was scratching my head after that one? And she and her dog were every bit as real as you and me, not no wispy shadow. And it was daylight out.

Too bad I didn't ask her where my magic blue crystal formation was? She seemed to know I was looking for it, somehow?

-Tom V.

Champ Ferguson

New member
Well crap. You didn't tell us you had a dowsing rod. What else could you need? [size=x-small] (unless youre ghost hunting, I guess- don't know much about that) [/size]


My copper dowsing rods are not but maybe 50% reliable tho, my map dowsing pendulum does a bit better if dowsing aerial maps for placers, in Indiana anyway, stinks when I do it for Ca or Idaho rivers, dunno why...maybe the deep narrow canyons...I know cell phones don't work well in them either...eyeballing is good sometimes too..