Encouraged by one of my girlfriends, my son began collecting rocks and minerals three years ago. Last week I allowed his collection to spill out of his room and into the living room. Claiming equal sibling rights, now my daughter wants living room space for her collection. Parenting issues aside, here are some sites to encourage the rockhound in your family.
Paul and Patricia Dauphinee, of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, have photographed, labeled and alphabetized their personal rock collection. And these are not your usual museum photos. Most are taken on the beach, with the Atlantic ocean as a backdrop. Doing a school report? The Dauphinee's allow students to use their mineral photographs. What's missing is a bit more annotation about each specimen.
These awesome mineral photos literally jump off the screen with clarity and color. The rocks are placed on black glass, lit with two fifty-watt flood halogen bulbs, photographed with a Sony digital camera and then edited to give them a colorful halo. "All specimens in this gallery sold and no longer available. Many customers request to see what they have missed, so the best are presented here for your review."
"A natural gemstone is a mineral, stone, or organic matter that can be cut and polished or otherwise treated for use as jewelry or other ornament. A precious gemstone has beauty, durability, and rarity, whereas a semiprecious gemstone has only one or two of these qualities." The resource site from the U.S. Geological Survey contains definitions and reference material such as the Chemical Formulas of Gemstones and the hardness of gemstones. "Hardness of a gemstone is its resistance to scratching and may be described relative to a standard scale of 10 minerals known as the Mohs scale."
"Photographers and artists have a secret. Don't show your less-than-best pieces. And even then, you don't have to show them all at once. Sure, we have a zillion rocks and minerals at our house, but most of them are in drawers or packed in boxes and labeled on the outside of the box. Only the most special and showy pieces are in the glass display cabinets." Great advice for anyone who wants to be a "collector and not just an accumulator."
The Mineral Galleries offers a comprehensive rock collection organized in several ways. The alphabetic listing gives you rocks from acanthite to zoisite, while Minerals by Class organizes them by their chemistry such as Silicates (quartz, garnet and topaz) and Sulfides. "The silicates are the largest, the most interesting and the most complicated class of minerals by far. Approximately 30% of all minerals are silicates and some geologists estimate that 90% of the Earth's crust is made up of silicates." And last, but not least, are the Interesting Groupings, which include Birthstones, Gemstones and Biblestones (minerals referenced in the Bible.)