Gemstone collecting involves the search for, identification, and collection of precious and semi-precious stones from various locations. This hobby can range from amateur rockhounding in local areas to more serious geological studies and expeditions. Collectors learn about the formation, classification, and value of different gemstones, often leading to lapidary work (cutting, polishing, and setting stones) and jewelry making.


  • Educational Value: Provides knowledge about geology, mineralogy, and the science behind gem formation.
  • Physical Activity: Rockhounding and searching for gemstones often involve hiking and outdoor exploration.
  • Creativity: The process of turning rough stones into jewelry or display pieces fosters creativity.
  • Financial Potential: Some gemstones can increase in value, offering potential financial rewards for collectors.


  • Websites: offers comprehensive information on minerals, gemstones, and where to find them.
  • YouTube Channels: Channels like The Crystal Collector provide insights into gem hunting and collection.
  • Books: “Gemstones of the World” by Walter Schumann, available on Amazon, is a detailed guide to gemstones, including photos and identification tips.
  • Local Clubs: Joining a gem and mineral club can provide access to field trips, workshops, and experienced advice.

Best Age to Start

While gemstone collecting can be introduced at any age, children around 8 to 10 years old may start to appreciate the hobby’s educational aspects and physical demands.

Equipment and Materials

  • Rock Hammer: Approx. $20 – $40
  • Safety Glasses: Approx. $10
  • Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals: Approx. $15 – $25
  • Geologist’s Loupe (Magnifying Glass): Approx. $10 – $30
  • Backpack for Tools and Finds: Approx. $30 – $100
  • Initial Cost: $85 – $205 for basic field equipment.

Starting Tips

  • Educate Yourself: Learn the basics of mineralogy and how to identify common gemstones.
  • Safety First: Always wear appropriate safety gear and be mindful of the environment and laws when collecting.
  • Start Locally: Explore your local area for gem and mineral clubs, as well as known collecting sites.
  • Keep Records: Document your finds with photos and notes on location and characteristics.

Recommended Frequency

Gemstone collecting can vary based on location and season but engaging in this hobby during favorable weather conditions on weekends or holidays can yield exciting discoveries.

Requirements/Tasks for Mastery

  • Build a significant and diverse collection of identified gemstones.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in gemstone identification, including understanding of hardness, cleavage, and crystal systems.
  • Participate in or contribute to mineralogical studies or publications.

Famous Gemstone Collectors

  • Edward Gubelin, a renowned gemologist known for his contributions to the science of gemology.
  • John Sinkankas, an author and mineralogist who wrote extensively on gemstones and lapidary arts.

Gemstone collecting is a multifaceted hobby that combines adventure, science, and artistry, offering enriching experiences and the potential for lifelong learning and appreciation of the natural world.