Go for a walk in almost any location and chances are you will see rock and stone of some sort. All stones have a unique beauty and energy. Many people find themselves mysteriously drawn to them and there are many types of rock art, furniture, and décor items sold every day. Stone is a grounding force that alters the energy of the environment. It is used in practices like Feng Shui to help guide and stabilize energies within the home and work space. Whether you gather garden variety stones or learn how to seek out semi-precious varieties, stone collecting is a rewarding hobby. Collected stones can be used for many things from art projects to beautiful rock gardens. Semi-precious and rare stones are often found in their rough form as parts of larger rocks. Learning about different gemstones and where they are found can turn your next nature walk into an adventure. If you choose to explore for stones, be sure you have the proper gear. Bring hiking boots or waders depending on the terrain. You’ll also want to carry an identification guide, magnifying glass, a rock pick or Geologist’s hammer, a small shovel, brush and a bag. The first step is to list and identify the types of minerals and stones native to the area you are exploring. Once you have this list, purchase a guide or do some image searches for raw specimens. Look at several samples to have a better idea of what to search for. Next, find a place to go rock hunting. In some states, there are businesses that allow you to search and keep anything you find. Otherwise, just ensure the places you are searching are legal. Never take stones or any materials from protected lands like state or national parks. This can land you in a lot of trouble with steep fines. Once you have a good location secured, grab your gear and head out. When you find potential specimens clean them off as well as possible and use your magnifying glass to look for identifying markers. Use your pick to grab small samples of larger rocks. Whether you are seeking out stones in nature, or are simply going through a batch of mixed stones you’ve purchased, a good visual aid is the best tool for identifying semi-precious stones. Many look very similar in coloring and texture so it can be difficult to correctly identify them without a geological reference. Even experienced gemologists and geologists rely on guides.
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