Rockhounding is a great hobby, rewarding and full of adventure. Few people know that to progress in knowledge about this hobby is easy as can be, it just take a little bit of reading and we have the perfect selection of books to talk about today, ones that will give you a full understanding of minerals.
All of these books were written by Captain John Sinkankas, a well noted and respected author who has a way of explaining things that many thousands of people have enjoyed and understood.
The most important thing about this article is the perception of mineral information, versus the reality. Guidebooks like the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Rocks or the handy Smithsonian Handbook, well, they just do not do a good enough job, in our opinion. Sure, they are colorful and glossy, most starting collectors will have one or the other at some point in their life. However, if you have more than just a passing curiosity about rocks and minerals, there is a better way.
Mineralogy is the #1 book that we recommend to all mineral enthusiasts. The writer, John Sinkankas, has an easy way of explaining how atoms form crystals, and why the crystals different properties make them look different from each other. It is technical mineralogy explained in a way that most anyone can understand. The book can be treated as a college level book on the subject, yet, can be enjoyed casually with chapters devoted to different topics including over 300 photographs and line drawings, this is the must have book for everyone interested in the subject. You can find this book on Amazon and eBay. It was originally published in the 1960’s, any edition is worth owning. You will find it as a “Used” book, it typically retains value as it is a book that all mineral and rock collectors have loved for decades.
Gem Cutting: A Lapidary’s Manual is John Sinkankas’ perfect tome devoted to all the basics of lapidary. The mystery of most every lapidary art is reveled, along with photographs and drawings to guide you to understanding the complete basics of lapidary arts. In the first chapters you are introduced to sawing, grinding, lapping, sanding, and polishing. Rock drilling is a common question, this book gives you the knowledge on that, plus, all the tumbling, cabbing, faceting, sphere-making, carving and engraving and mosaic and in-lay work information, including tools of the trade, tips on techniques and so much more. When I need to know what polish to use when I’m tumbling stones, I look to this book. This has an amazing wealth of information on this subject. The second edition is the edition we suggest and the big paperback edition is a great addition to any library.
Prospecting for Gemstones and Minerals is a perfect primer to understanding where to find rocks. Deposits are explained, how to find them, what is inside of them, and how you can get crystals out of the ground. This book serves as a primer to all topics on the subject of rockhounding. Over 350 pages of quality information, that, if you were to read, would put you in the ranks of the top collectors.
All three of these books are easy to read and understand, teach you the basics and the nuances of each subject are highlighted and explained. To read and understand these three books is to have a near complete general knowledge on this subject of rock and mineral collecting.