Daily Wire Tip Aug. 10: Identifying Rocks & Minerals

By on August 9, 2010
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Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
August 10, 2010


I have been collecting rocks for a while, but I don’t know how to identify them. How can I learn how to identify the rocks I find?

-Terri in Alden, Minnesota


Oh my goodness! There are so many ways for you to identify your treasures. One way is to visit local museums and wander through their mineral collections. Another is to search for local rock and mineral clubs and visit with more experienced rockhounds, who love to share their stories and experiences.

Yet another would be to purchase a good rock book for your area such as “Midwest Gem Fossil and Mineral Trails: Great Lakes States,” by June Culp Zeitner. Using a book such as this, you can check the area where you found a rock with the minerals listed for that location.

Choosing a field guide is totally up to you. There are many available, although some are very technical. As a novice or “pebble pup,” check out guides written for younger folks that have good photos, such as “The Eyewitness” series and “Rocks and Minerals: Golden Guide,” or a personal favorite that I still use occasionally, “Peterson First Guide to Rocks and Minerals.”

As always, please follow the rules! Do not dig on private property without permission; fill any holes you dig; and take your trash out with you, and any left by others.

“The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth”- Chief Seattle

Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong

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  1. avatar


    August 10, 2010 at 11:02 am

    There was a video in the tips section where Sheri Lingefelt and a guest demonstrated how to make ear wires. Her guest had a tool that looked like a cordless screwdriver with a bur cup on it. She used this to smoothe the ends of the ear wires and take the spurs off. Do you know where I can get this tool or at least the bur cup to put in my Dremel or cordless screwdriver?

  2. avatar


    August 11, 2010 at 9:54 am

    I would add to Dale’s reply by stating that finding and visiting a meeting of the local gem & mineral club in your area is a treasure place for information, learning and in some cases, even classes. These clubs serve as great places to meet people with similar interests and an untapped wealth of information.