2015 Christmas Gift Ideas for the Rockhounds in your life!

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas is fast approaching, time to find that perfect gift for your rock loving friends and family.

Without further adou, these items have caught our eye over the past few months and would make great gift ideas for the people on your list –

#10UV Blacklight – Tried and True, We have seen these UV lights popping up at mineral shows and field collecting trips as a great inexpensive way to test UV reaction on specimens you find (for sale or on the ground!) – Do note, this is for a LW light, different than a SW light, most minerals react in one or the other, and sometimes both. LW is still, just as important and inexpensive SW lights are much less compact and much more expensive. This seller on eBay has sold HUNDREDS of these lights with nary a negative feedback to be seen. We can highly recommend one of these lights to all rockhounds, everywhere – a perfect stocking stuffer!

Photo of LW UV Light

12 LED Long Wave Ultraviolet Light, Perfect for all Rockhounds!

#9Gem Hunt – Digging in the sand is fun – different than those plaster based kits, this pseduo-rockhound kit just needs water to unlock the hardened sand block, featuring 12 gem pieces, including blue zircon, garnets, amethyst, herkimer diamond and much more. Perfect gift for all ages over 5 – small parts and possible sharp crystals. NoteThe owners of this site also own CutThatAgate – Which is why we can assure you, Everybody LOVES GemHunt! This product was previewed and demonstrated at the Denver Colosseum show in 2015 to rave reviews. Now, featuring a super informative 16 page full color booklet that explains the basics of gemstones and gives in-depth information about the stones included in the kit. $34.99 + $8.00 shipping from CutThatAgate.com
Gem Hunt - Find Gems and learn about Gemstones!

#8Lapis Rough – Most Watched Item on eBay Minerals We have purchased rocks for presents before, sometimes a hit, sometimes a miss – however, think about this – This Lapis lot is one of the MOST WATCHED MINERAL auctions on eBay! A half pound of bright blue Lapis is sure to make anyone happy – from the beautiful color, to the history, there is so much to love about Lapis.
Lapis Lazuli Rough

#7The perfect Rock Hammer – 22 Ounce Estwing Rockhammer Rock Hammers! They get lost, they get borrowed, they rarely ware out. In fact, some rock hammers are prized possessions, bestowed upon with luck, passed on like a religious relic. Nobody has enough of these. “Oh, ANOTHER rock hammer”, is not something that comes out of a rockhound’s mouth. For the novice, we have had people bring claw hammers to field trips, those people were not lucky enough to have a person like you in their life – Give love, Give a Rock hammer. This 22 Ounce Estwing is EXACTLY what they want!

22 ounce Rock Hammer by Estwing

Every Rockhound needs a few of these!

Cut That Agate Retail Packaging
#6Cut That Agate – Don’t smash that geode! Then again, those raw geodes are inexpenvise and smashing things does give you a cathartic experience, but, it rarely gives you a nice split geode. We introduced Cut That Agate for this very reason – Choose between five different types of stones – Quartz Geodes, Orange and Blue Agates, Ammonite and Calcite Septarian Nodules, all split in half, polished on both sides and put back together with a strong glue that dissolves quickly in water. You can not pull these apart, but after a couple hours soaking in water, these rocks will split into two perfect specimens, ready to be displayed for years. Cut That Agate is a super gift item, a premium version of these break your own geode sets, great for ALL ages, no tools required, just add water to the jar included. 12 page booklet featuring information about each type of stone available, how agates form and more! Buy one of these for $24.99 at CutThatAgate.com – Buy all 5 versions and get them for a discounted price!

The five varieties of Cut That Agate

Buy All 5 Varieties and Save! Buy 4, get the 5th one FREE!

Sample Mindat Sponsorship

Sample Sponsored Page on Mindat.org

#5 Name a Mineral or Locality Page in Honor of someone – Mindat.org – Every single person who likes rocks has visited this website. Mindat.org is a treasure trove of information, a message board with tons of people to talk to, articles galore, tons of content that people enjoy everyday. Mindat.org offers a fun option to use as a gift, sponsor a mineral page! That’s right, you can sponsor a page in someone’s name, or your own, so pick a mineral, like Glauberite! – I think Sulphohalite is still available! Pick a mineral page not sponsored and connect with Mindat! It makes a great gift!

#4Blue Cap Productions Mineral Shows/Events/Subjects DVDs – Blue Cap Productions makes amazing DVD’s of Mineral Shows and Mineral Topics and now YOU can get 50% off these videos until December 15th on BlueCapProductions.com with coupon code ” GOBBLE15″. These videos capture the experience of minerals in HD super quality – interviews with dealers, collectors, miners, movers and shakers, you just can not go wrong with these videos – Buy one for you or a friend today!

#3Saruca® Gem & Mineral Concentrator After using one of these fine pans, oh mama, you are never going to want for another pan! We have found this flat bottomed pan to be our favorite method of alluvial gem hunting. From specks of gold to gem material, the flat bottom of the Saruca pan is going to help while panning like nothing else. You get much better control of the material as opposed to the classic stepped pans.

#2Tumbler – We have talked to at least four parents this year who asked about Rock Tumblers for their kids. Rock tumbling is a blast! We are constantly spinning out barrels, 30 pounds at a time – and for the beginner we have a few selections.
#1 – We just love this all in one set from Amazon
#2 – Check out RockTumbler.com for articles and suggestions, kits and tumblers. They really know what is best for you.
#3 – Harbor Freight sells a double barrel unit that, when on sale, is well worth the price. However, this unit does not come with grits, you NEED to buy the warranty because odds are, you will end up replacing something in two years, plus, you will want to upgrade the rubber belts they supply with the unit. Even though it comes with five replacements ones, a unit that is acting up can go through five belts in five weeks. Put a nicer belt on and you’ll rarely think of replacements, maybe every year or two of continuous use.

#1Mineralogy By John Sinkankas This book was last published in 1993 yet no text has come close in terms of ease to understand and explanation of basic concepts of Mineralogy. If one were to read this cover to cover, you would know more about Mineralogy than some advanced mineral collectors. This text is designed for all levels of knowledge, We would think most 6th graders could wrap their heads around much of this book – Get a used copy on Amazon for a friend and be someone’s hero – If someone has a basic interest in rocks, they are going to love this book. No color photos, but no stodgy, poorly written text. This is just a solid book.

The Must Own Book for all interested in Minerals

The Must Own Book for all interested in Minerals

So, if it is still 2015 by the time you read this, or 2016, 2017, my golly, 2018, we bet these products will serve as great gift ideas for years to come!

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Gem and Mineral Clubs across the United States need YOU!

Love to collect gems and minerals?
Then you have to join a Gem and Mineral Club. Mineral Clubs are a great resource for anyone interested in mineral collecting.
One of the problems with Gem Clubs is that many new members feel that it is not a good fit for them. They may feel uncomfortable in the new environment or feel that you are being forced into a job with the club. Not every meeting will feel like this, and it may even become an invaluable club that you enjoy attending. Here are my three tips to find a Gem and Mineral Club and have a blast dong it.

1. The secret is to just keep going. It gets better.

Since the world of rocks and minerals is very vast and varied, there are going to be times when the club will talk about something that is totally unrelated or interested to your interests. For example, during my first meeting the members discussed the jewels that were worn by the first ladies. If I had quit attending the club because I did not know anyone or care about the gems of the past president’s wives, I would not eventually become the field trip leader for the group. In fact, sticking with the club, I eventually made several life long friendships and met several digging partners. I cut my first cabochons, served as the show chairman for their annual gem show and learned quite a bit about how mineral clubs worked.

2. You aren’t intruding.

With the next club I went to join, the atmosphere was harder to break through. This club was a group whose members were much more educated about the topic of mineralogy. Talk about intimidating! Myself and other new members felt as if they were intruding on a private gem club meeting. It took several visits to this club before any member would say more than a handful of words to me. It simply took holding my ground and visiting over and over again before many members started opening up to me. In that club I met several people who were legendary in the regional mineral world, curators, teachers, speakers and miners. Within a year I was serving as their show chairman for two years, serving on the board of directors of a non-profit and learning even more about this hobby of mineral collecting. If I had been scared away by this group, I would not have taken my hobby and collecting to the next step.

Presentation at a Gem Club
3. Find a club that fits you.

Each mineral club meeting is going to be different depending on the members and the location. Try out a few in your area to find one that really clicks with you.

Most clubs have a neat welcome for new visitors, where they will let you select a rock from the visitor rock box, which can make it all worthwhile! Some clubs have great field trip leaders and help you find out about local collecting areas. Many clubs have lapidary workshops and have classes teaching basic lapidary skills, such as cutting slabs, making a cabochon or setting a stone into jewelry.
In the end, if you want to get more involved with your collecting, a Gem and Mineral Club is the perfect spot to do so. Many of the clubs love new members and will even welcome their help with various rolls within the club. Most importantly, if you visit a mineral club and do not see people of your age group, your skill level, your passion for the craft, just keep going!

Mineral Clubs instill a feeling of required civil service to promote our hobby
I highly suggest The-Vug.com’s List of Gem and Mineral Clubs across the United States to find out about clubs near you.
Take a look at their page at http://www.the-vug.com/vug/vugclubs.html

Rock Club People are full of information

A Presentation at a Mineral Club

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2012 Christmas Gifts: Ideas for the Rockhounds in your life!

Gift giving season is officially upon us and for the RockHounds in your life, we made this list of our top 10 suggestions for gifts this year! From stocking stuffers to the item that will make a certain someone squeal with joy, everyone in the office had our eyes set on a few of these items.

#10. Mindat.org Sticker Book – A few years ago Mindat.org published this cute stickerbook and the sticker sets were somewhat difficult to put together. The 10 sticker set is fun, one sticker for each number on mohs hardness scale. For $8.00, these are fun stocking stuffers for kids and adults!

Mindat.org Sticker Book

#9 Colored Mineral Tack – We love this idea, tinted mineral tack. One of the best ways to stabilize a specimen for display, the goal of using mineral tack is to hide it from view. The stark white color makes this task difficult, but these tinted tacks can be a close match for the matrix or crystal color, allowing you to not worry as much about the white tack being the thing distracting from your crystals. In little lumps of colored tack at $1.49 each, you could visit this eBay store and select a few colors and make a set. Every mineral collector NEEDS mineral tack, you can’t go wrong with giving a rockhound mineral tack!

Colored Mineral Tack

#8 The Mineral Art of Hildegard Konighofer – Hildegard Konighofer’s art is shockingly realistic, capturing the spirit of each crystal she paints. This book features dozens of her paintings, which feature a wide array of selections and locations. A beautiful way to cross the worlds of art and minerals together, these limited edition books are sure to be a long treasured item for any mineral collector. Available from Blue Cap Productions for $170.00

Hildegard Konighofer

Hildegard Konighofer
#7 A Rock Tumbler – Rock tumbling is a wonderful way to get something done with all the rock chunks pouring out of every knapsack and cardboard flat in garages of rockhounds around the world. Everyone, seriously, everyone, can use a rock tumbler! This website, RockTumbler.com, has everything you need to know about selecting a unit, and this Lortone is the perfect universal size and under $100!

RockTumbler.com most popular rock tumbler the Lortone Model 3a

#6 Cuprite T-shirt – If Copper is wrong, I don’t wanna be Cuprite. A funny pun that will be highly appreciated at any mineral club meeting, collecting trip, mineral show or geology class! Available in Small through Double Extra Large, this is a great christmas gift idea, available for under $20 shipped, fortysevenpress.com

Mineral Pun T-shirts
#5 Arkansas Diamond Combo – Diamonds! There is only ONE public diamond mine in the world and it is in the tourist friendly section of the rural south, Murfreesboro Arkansas. For a nominal fee you can visit the park and try your luck at finding a diamond. The Blue Cap Productions combo pack includes two DVDs, hosted by Glenn Worthington, one of young mineral collectors searching for diamonds, the other a professional video tour of the area. Everything you need to know about collecting at the Crater of Diamonds State Park is found between these two items! Over $10.00 off the retail price, both DVDs for $32.99

DVD set Find your own Diamonds in Arkansas
#4 Magazine Collection/Vug Book – For the book collector that has it all, we can certifiably say that they do not have a full set of The-Vug.com Quarterly Magazine. These sets were HARD to put together, as some of them were only available in Europe, some of them had very small print runs and they were all distributed around the world at different mineral shows. The publisher has made a few complete sets available, but it might be a wise option to buy the full reprint book instead. The magazine (and book) have tons of beautiful photos, articles, maps and information. Any rockhound would love to get this book as a gift! The Original Magazine set is $229.99, the book reprint of the entire series is $34.95

Mineral Website Magazine Book Reprint
#3 All in One polisher – The classic, workhorse all in one flat lap. The perfect item for so many various uses for the rockhound, from grinding matrix, making things display better, polishing cabochons, making freeforms, putting a window on an agate, polishing a face on a quartz crystal, the all in one flat lap is a great gift item for the rockhound in your life! A model like this one, with a series of different grit wheels, runs around $549.99 new. They hold their resale value for many years.

Ameritool All in One Universal Grinder
#2 Blue Cap DVD Sets – Blue Cap Productions produces these fantastic, high quality, in-depth videos of minerals, mineral shows and subjects related to the hobby. I have been witness to what happens when these DVDs are played in a room of mineral collectors…silence. Everyone is so fixed on the screen, looking at the beautiful crystals being presented. These DVDS are awesome, you can put them on anytime, you learn by experiencing all these minerals shown by the people who know them best! Blue Cap productions has these sets of DVDs, one that has all of the What’s Hot in Tucson DVD’s and the other has EVERY DVD produced by Blue Cap, with some great topics! We highly recommend these. $145.00 for the What’s Hot in Tucson Set and $315.00 for the whole production line, the most complete documentary of mineral collecting in the last decade.

What's Hot in Tucson DVD Package

Complete Blue Cap Productions DVD Set
#1 Best sized Sledge Ever – 12 pound short handle – You can NEVER, EVER, have too many short handled sledge hammers. If the rockhound in your life has never had one of these short handled sledges, they are in need of this eye opening experience. The short handle allows for higher accuracy and the ability to work in a tight situation. Short handles fit into your knapsack with ease, better than trying to haul that long handled sledge on a hike. At $34.95, these are a great gift item for your favorite rockhound!

Short Handled Sledge Hammer

And of course, rocks rocks rocks! Everyone loves rocks! Quartz Crystals, Kyanite, Tourmaline, Garnets, you can never go wrong with some rocks for the rockhounds in your life! We suggest checking out Jewels Fine Minerals on eBay, you can not go wrong with any single item in that entire selection. That dealer ships quickly and is worth checking out.

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