Writing an Article – Sharing a Location – For WhereToFindRocks.com

WhereToFindRocks.com was made to share public collecting locations, taking away the mystery of rockhounding and inviting more participants to our hobby. Several individuals have produced articles for WhereToFindRocks.com and we always welcome more submissions! We can never have too many!

Just in case you think this is merely an altruistic cry for submissions, let me inform you, submitting an article to WhereToFindRocks.com can be very beneficial!
If you submit an article, you are allowed to have a linked banner at the top and bottom of your article. If you have a rockshop/show/club to promote, you can work that into your article. For example, a great regional show trip often includes a rockhounding trip. Promote your show or local rock shop with a field trip article. Write an article to promote your local rock club and a field trip you have gone on with the club.

We only ask that you follow our main rule…

Any location published on WhereToFindRocks.com must be available to the public via open access given by the owner or government or a pay to visit location. While access to locations changes all the time, we strive to showcase locations that are open to the general public.

We ask that you submit articles between 500 and 2000 words long. You need to include a few photos of the area, material that comes out of the area and pinpoint the location on a map. We ask for at least 6 photos. You may also include a banner, no larger than 600 pixels wide, which can link to your website.

Here are some examples

Of course we love photos of holes in the ground, because we love what comes out of the holes.

Of course we love photos of holes in the ground, because we love what comes out of the holes.

Pocket photos help to set the mood – any sort of photos with the digging are super

Remembering Byron Weege
Photos of people at the location, always timeless!

Collecting in the Field
Photos of people collecting, or rockhounding

Maps with labels are super!
We like to create interactive google maps, if you give us whatever map you have, we can make a google map out of it.

Lost Mine Field Trip, the booty
And show us what you could expect to find on a day collecting, if you work hard!

E-mail us directly at
to submit your rockhounding article for

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Mineral Collecting Spots Lost to Government and to Greed!

Two recent news stories came up that warrant some attention in the rockhound community.
In this article by Erin Place in the Sun Journal, mineral collecting location is closed due to one person’s greed.


Above, you can see Mount Mica employee David Bechtel pointing to the hole where a chunk of a rare mineral was gouged out on Saturday. Due to this incident, tours and access to the famous Maine Pegmatite mine are now restricted. Mine owner Gary Freeman has been working with various Maine Camping groups doing frequent tours of Mount Mica, a working gem mine. During these trips, it would be noted that the pods of columbite in the front of the mine were highly desirable, which lead to some visitor returning and helping themselves to a huge chunk of this material. The greed of some people will now have a negative effect on the visitors to Maine’s Gem Pegmatites.

In southern California we have a new National Monument, the San Gabriel Mountains. This National Forest has been blessed with some amazing mineral deposits and breathtaking geology. Two famous locations will now be closed to collecting, the Actinolite deposit in Wrightwood and the Ruby/Lapis deposit of Mt. Baldy. Under the new National Monument standards, it will be illegal to remove or disturb any rock or mineral within the park boundary.

The Actinolite deposit in Wrightwood is the better known of the two, featuring a bright green, massive mineral, actinolite. In those mountain ridges, occasionally one is rewarded with a bright pink rhodonite specimen, massive material that you can cut spheres and decorative slabs. Many of the actinolite deposits in Wrightwood are massive in size, sometimes it is hard to find a specimen small enough to take home, soon you could be serving jail time for doing this. If it were not for the promise of Actinolite specimens, I would have never ventured up into this area of California. The view of the mountain ridges rippling out, covered in tall conifers, simply fantastic and a future generations of rock hounds will not have that same reason to appreciate a day in the mountains of Southern California.

Less well known, but even finer of a location for minerals, Cascade Canyon, a few miles south of Mount Baldy Village. From the bottom of the canyon to the tip top, outcrops of matrix rich in small hexagonal crystals of Corundum, red in color, often called ruby, but not of gem quality like one would envision. These outcrops are vast and numerous, both easy to access and tucked away in folds of this mountain canyon. Along with these ruby crystals, small crystals of dravite tourmaline, epidote, pyrite and mica appear. Along Barrett-Stoddard Road, a closed off dirt road popular with hikers and bikers, deposits of ruby and calcite/diopside appear and further up into cascade canyon, small bits of Lapis can be found in the wild skyless canopy of mountain vegetation that is the upper levels of Cascade Canyon. Years ago there was a working Lapis mine, however several landslides have rendered the area unworkable. For our 9th anniversary, my wife and I collected a few bits of Lapis from the stream, as Lapis is one of the traditional gifts for the 9th year of marriage. Once the park boundaries are set, we could face fines and a few months in jail.

Above: Photo of a field trip to the bottom of Cascade Canyon, in search for the metamorphic chunks containing small crystals of red corundum.

The Cascade Canyon deposit had the advantages of being an easy hike, somewhat adventurous, with a great mineralogical reward and an amazing geological tour. The folds in the rocks leading down the canyon tell a story that will now get quieter, as mineral collectors who are interested in the rock’s stories will vanish, like so many ghosts of time that litter Southern California. The hike down the old mountain road, into the woods, across the river, along the foot of the mountain to the site of one massive spill of ruby filled goodness might be stuck into the magnetite grains that make up some of the local rocks in the canyon, playing back like a ghostly tape, documenting amazing experiences.

1 Inch Ruby Crystal in matrix from Cascade Canyon.

1 Inch Ruby Crystal in matrix from Cascade Canyon.

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Top 10 International Mineral and Gem Crystal Shows

Top 10 International Mineral Shows

By Jeremy Zolan

The newest finds and choicest mineral specimens are always the hottest items at the world’s biggest mineral shows. The most popular mineral shows are those that allow both businesses and the public the best and most exclusive specimens at the most competitive prices. Displays and activities also make shows notable. Many museums take the privilege to display extraordinary specimens rarely seen by others aside from the curators if they fit with the theme of the show, which many but not all shows have. Here is a selection of ten shows that currently attract the most notable attention, of course, as with all things in this world, in a few years, some of these shows might have ceased to be and new events will rise up.

#1 Tucson Mineral and Gem Shows- Tucson, Arizona, USA

One of the largest shows in the world, The Tucson Mineral and Gem Shows are held for about a month, starting in late January and running until mid-February. The environment is exciting and busy, perhaps overwhelming for some. At the main show at the end of the events, Vendors are typically larger, more established dealers selling mostly mineral specimens, but a few sell fossils or lapidary material as well. The displays at the show are very well known for highlighting extremely fine specimens with exciting themes. 2014’s main show theme was Diamonds and Gold. One of the greatest mineral show displays in history was featured at the 2008 Tucson Mineral and Gem show- the American Mineral Treasures exhibit. This show united many of the US’ finest native specimens in the same display cases.

Here is an ad for ONE of the shows, the Tucson Gem and Rock Crystal Show!
Tucson Mineral and Gem Show Ad

#2 Denver Gem and Mineral Show- Denver, Colorado, USA

The majority of the largest and most popular mineral shows in the US are held in the Southwest. The Denver Gem and Mineral Show certainly fits that category. This show is very similar to the TGMS show and is also themed. The 2014 show’s theme was be agate. It generally attracts a very similar crowd of dealers as well. The displays are especially famous- many of the world’s famous mineral museums and greatest private collectors put in mouth watering specimens.

The-Vug tours the Denver Mineral Show
Official site: http://www.denvermineralshow.com/

#3 Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines show, France

Outdoor mineral shows are always a great time, especially if they are held in an ancient mining town like the Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines Show! The gorgeous scenery and rich history of the French countryside setting make this perhaps the world’s most scenic major mineral show. It is one of the premier mineral events in Europe as well and has thousands of visitors. Last year was the 50th anniversary of the show. Check out this show from Thursday through the last weekend in June if you’d like to attend a superb European event!

Official site: http://www.sainte-marie-mineral.com/an_index.php

#4 Munich Mineraltage – Munich, Germany

This show takes place right around Halloween, late October, first days of November, typically. The show is located in three huge halls, which are formerly airplane hangers! The whole Trade Fair Center is the old Munich airport, converted into a giant convention center. The show has over 1,000 dealers from all over the world, separated into areas for mineral dealers, lapidary, fossils, crystal healing, and all sorts of other fun niches. Each year the show has a theme and the exhibits are never short of amazing. The show is run by the Keilmann family and you can see them breezing by on their scooters from hall to hall, ensuring that the show runs like clockwork.

Official site: https://munichshow.com/en/

#5 Tokyo International Mineral Fair- Tokyo, Japan

First held in 1988, the Tokyo International Mineral Fair is the largest and oldest mineral show in Asia. This show is focused on compact and high end booths geared towards a retail rather than wholesale audience. Rare and systematic mineral dealers are fairly numerous at the show due to the higher than average national interest in systematic mineral collecting. This is a good show to go to for those who are looking for unusual or specialized material. Japan also has many mineral localities that have produced wonderful specimens that are rarely if ever seen in the west. This is a great event to look at or purchase unique local Japanese material. The next show is being held on December 6th through 9th in 2014.

Official Website: http://www.tokyomineralshow.com/english/

#6 Rockhound Gemboree- Bancroft, Ontario, Canada

Every summer during the first weekend in August, Canada’s largest show is held in the nation’s heartland of mineral collecting. Bancroft is widely referred to as “Canada’s Mineral Capital” for having an abundance of abandoned mines and other mineral collecting localities open to the general public. This mineral show usually has an excellent selection of local material and esoteric specimens. It often attracts smaller dealers as well as major Canadian dealers. Swapping specimens is also encouraged at this show. Visitors looking for a fun outing in nature should consider mineral collecting in the region. Ask local museums or dealers what their recommendations are based on your experience. Many different kinds of minerals can be found like apatite, sodalite, rose quartz, and fluorescents.

Official site: http://rockhoundgemboree.ca/

#7 Quartzsite Gem and Mineral Shows- Quartzsite, Arizona, USA

This event has been an agate licker’s paradise for nearly 50 years. This unique series of mineral shows is held outside and dealers often sell specimens out of their RVs. Quartzsite offers a total of nine show locations with events being held from mid January to late February. These events are great for bartering or swapping of all kinds so bring plenty of trading material if you plan on going! While you are in Arizona for this event, you also may want to check out the many world famous mineral and gem shows in Tucson which happen at the same time.

Website: http://xpopress.com/QZ-show-schedule.html

#8 NY/NJ Mineral Fossil, Gem, and Jewelry Show- Edison, New Jersey, USA

The NY/NJ is the newest out of all the shows in this list but is a true up-and-comer. It is held yearly in Edison, NJ during mid-April and over 300 dealers attend making it the largest current mineral show held in the NYC metro area. There is something for everyone at this show and dealers selling material ranging from very inexpensive to the finest quality are present. Many dealers also have a small selection of locally dugs specimens too. Though the focus is mostly on minerals and fossils, jewelry and lapidary materials are sold in abundance too. The displays at this new show have big hits. They have featured wonderful classic East Coast specimens that have both been dug recently or are of historic importance.

Official Website: http://www.ny-nj-gemshow.com/

#9 Houston Fine Mineral Show- Houston, Texas, USA

The Houston Fine Mineral Show is one of the few major mineral shows that is free to the public to attend. Texas is home to many of the US’ finest recently assembled collections and their collectors, which means the displays at this event are typically some of the best that can be imagined. Dealers at this show typically specialize in fine minerals, meaning their specimens are of very high quality but are often quite expensive. Many of the world’s most advanced collectors visit this show and it serves as an important place for them to meet as well as purchase specimens.

Official Website: http://www.westwardminerals.com/finemineralshow/pages/houston.html

#10 Changsha Mineral and Gem Show – Changsha, Hunan Province, China

China has been cranking out plenty of new specimens over the past two decades so it should not be surprising that mineral collecting is getting extremely popular in this country. This is a new phenomenon; mineral specimen collecting culture is fairly new to China in comparison to other nations. Hunan province, where Changsha is located is home to many mineral specimen producing mines that are currently being worked. This mineral show is very large and growing quickly. It attracts international dealers and may soon become the largest mineral show in Asia. The 2014 show is being held May 15th through 20th.

Official site: http://www.changsha-show.com/html/en_index/

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Where Have all the Quarries Gone? – A statement as important today as when it was first written 40 years ago!

Why are the quarries closing down to mineral collectors

Editorial from The Mineralogical Record Volume 6 1975

As I looked over some old Mineralogical Records, I noticed a fantastic editorial by Marie Huizing, living legend in the mineral publication world, in charge of the wonderful magazine, Rocks and Minerals, since 1979. This editorial, published in 1975, is as relevant today as it was then, possibly even more so, as our urban centers have grown into sprawling suburbs. As the suburbs become more conjested, those looking to gain more peaceful environments have bought old mill sites, quarries and mines in order to build houses. Picture the Blue Bell quarry in Pennsylvania, now a private pond.

Litigation and multi-nation companies are another problematic factor. I can only imagine that our litigious society has grown into a worse state now than when this was originally written. In addition, many collectors have noticed that when a company based in a country other than America buys a local quarry, collecting access is typically closed.

Think of mineral collecting as a timeline of possibilities.

At the turn of the 20th century you could go nearly anywhere you wished, however, the buying market for specimens was very small.
During the 40’s and 50’s, collecting was huge – new mines were springing up, collecting on federal lands was not a problem, tons of mines in parks still existed. Underground collecting was just something you did.
As we moved into the 70’s underground collecting was still very popular, many mines were only 20-30 years old, still strong. Over the next few decades, many holes in the ground would be reclaimed and gated.
Now, many famous locations are completely off limits and as we sit by, locations that are less bodacious are sucked away into national park boundaries, converted into bat habitats and we are constantly at the mercy of a government that seeks to protect us from ourselves.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Enjoy what you can today, for tomorrow they may be gone. Celebrate new opportunity and do not wait for them to fall into your lap! There are always new locations to be found!

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Jewelry Making – Tips and Techniques covered in two new books

Over the past two months, I have given several lectures on both coasts of the United States, and during that time, had a chance to investigate two books by the authors.

Brad Smith, one of my early mentors in the Culver City Gem and Mineral Club, published a book called “Bench Tips for Jewelry Making”. One of the things about Brad is for a time he could not make it to many of the meetings as he was busy teaching jewelry making at LAUSD in Santa Monica. I did not know what to expect out of this book, so it was surprising to find out that it is, basically, my favorite kind of book for technical information. Full of short tips covering a wide variety of jewelry making, so much I was inquisitive about, so much that is not just for jewelry makers! Using Alum to remove a broken drill bit might be helpful to jewelry makers, but putting that idea in my head about removing broken bits of metal from non-metallic items, using Alum, was something I did not take home from science class 20 years ago. I’m going to keep it next to my copy of Gem and Mineral Data Book by John Sinkankas, both books, full of great tips!

Bench Tips for Jewelry Making - Available on Amazon.com

Bench Tips for Jewelry Making – Available on Amazon.com

Los Wax Casting - Available on Amazon.com

Los Wax Casting – Available on Amazon.com

While serving as the guest speaker for the Eastern Federation of Mineralogical Societies twice yearly Wild Acres Retreat I had the opportunity to visit with the classes and instructors. During this beautiful mountain retreat, classes in different lapidary and metal working are offered. I took a class on Geology, while others learned soapstone carving, wire wrapping, gem faceting and my roommate was very excited to take a class on Lost Wax Casting. He planned on making a setting for a beautiful gem yellow idaho opal. When I went to check on him, four days later, he confessed, this was not something you could just JUMP into and showed off his much simpler designs, sans opal. That class visit was fun, the instructor, Fred R. Sias Jr. took the time to run me through all the basic steps of casting in a couple minutes. Looking at the projects the class was working on, I can see this is not something you can do repeatedly, well, without some practice and experience. Fred has a book, which I can highly recommend, that speaks about the methods of wax casting, providing an amazing overview for someone who has never been introduced to this ancient art. For those who are already wax casting this might not provide a lot of new content, Ashanti casting might be something you have not been taught, and Fred Sias does a great job of illustrating this primitive technique.

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