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Identifying rocks

I just bought my father’s equipment, slabs, and other rockhound
related stuff. None of the slabs or rocks have labels as to their
identity. Does anybody have any suggestions on what books I should
purchase that can help me figure out what they are? Thanks!

Tim S.
Duluth, MN

I wonder if your best bet wouldn’t be to contact a local club and ask
someone who’s been looking at rocks for a while. Or, if you brought
them here to CA (joke) :slight_smile: I would be glad to help.

good luck gregor

Tim had the same trouble when my father died and left tons of rocks
and nodecriptions, but I found a local rock club and they were more
than helpful idetifiying and even gave me info as to where they come
from and how to use them. I would Imagine in your area there is such
a club and i think it would be better than trying to get a book. Ron

Tim - You’d be better off joining a rock club which has lapidary
folks in it. Even if you don’t join, that’s the best place to find
out what rough and slabs are. Barring that, there aren’t many good
picture books out there to id cabbing materials. Most of the books
are primarily text; no comprehensive book I’ve seen has pics for all
the material. You can go to Bob’s Rock Shop online at check out the
club list there - it is the most up-to-date list currently available.

Jim Small
Small Wonders

Tim, IDing your collection would be very difficult if you must teach
yourself the principles of gem identification in the process. I’d
contact the local Gem & Rock Club, go to their meeting and ask the
members for help. I’ll bet they could" sight-ID" everything you have
on the spot. If you have find a local jeweler with a
Graduate Gemologist on staff. They usually charge a small fee, but it
could be worth it if you have something great, like diamond, ruby,
sapphire. Good luck.
Gary Strickland, GJG

Dear Tim,

Identifying slabs using books is somewhat difficult unless you have
considerable experience. Your best bet would be to attend a meeting
of the Lake Superior Gem and Mineral Club which meets at the senior
center at 2014 W 3rd st on the second thursday of each month (7:00
p.m.) Its a simple matter of finding someone within the club who
would be willing to help you. Be careful, however, inasmuch as there
are always opportunists who join clubs just to take advantage of the
innocents. Second opinions are always wise when it comes to assigning

You ,might want to join the club…the old timers are walking
encyclopedias and you can’t help but learn lots if you have an open
mind and ask lots of stupid questions. Actually, there is no such
thing as a stupid question…how else are you going to learn.
Education is the process of extending the parameters of your

Ron at Mills Gem Los Osos, CA.


Rather than trying to learn from books I would suggest looking in on
the Lake Superior Gem & Mineral Club. They meet on the second
Thursday of the month at 7:00pm at the Senior Center at 2014 W. 3rd
Street in Duluth. Their mailing address is 419 Minneapolis Ave,
Duluth 55803.

You will probably find folks with years of experience who will
welcome a new member and be happy to get you off to a fast start. If
you are lucky, your father was collecting Lake Superior Agates, some
of the most distinctive in the world.

For books, go to your library and check out their selection. You can
try before you buy. Most clubs also have libraries.

Good Luck,

John McLaughlin
Glendale, Arizona