There is an abundance of valuable rocks to be found on Earth’s surface however you have to be able to identify them. You don’t have to be a rock collector to enjoy the adventure of searching for rocks in your backyard, rock hounding can really help you discover some precious stones like tourmaline, jade, topaz, quartz, and many more.
No matter where you live, there are bound to be some valuable rocks in your backyard.
One of the ways you can increase your chances of finding valuable rocks is to have an idea of what type of rocks can be found. Rocks found in your backyard might not be as valuable as diamonds but can be of value too and they are often lovely gemstones that can be added to your collection.
Minerals are identified based on several properties and knowing this can help you access and identify the valuable stone you found. The properties include; crystal shape, color, streak, specific gravity, habit, hardness, luster, and cleavage.
Once you know what kind of rocks you are looking for or one that is common in your yard then you can start exploring.
How to Identify Valuable Rocks
The unique properties listed above are the most valid ways you can identify a valuable rock.
After rocks were bought to the surface, some minerals dissolved but some didn’t and most got disposed of using different processes. If there seems to be nothing unusual about a rock, do not overlook it, the best way to inspect a rock is to check for the properties explained below.
Hardness is one of the most notable characteristics of a valuable rock. To identify a mineral as valuable, it has to be able to resist scratch and it is also determined by its ability to scratch each other.
You can always measure the hardness and roughness of a valuable rock using a kit made for it or you can try the simple method of scratching with a hard object or fingernail.
Generally, the harder rocks are of more value than the soft ones. If your fingernail can scratch it then the hardness is rated at 2.5 Mohs or less. Those that can only be scratched with glass are rated at Mohs of 5 and 6.5. Diamonds have a hardness of 10 Mohs and can only be scratched by another diamond.
2. Color Inspection
The next important property to help you identify a valuable rock is the color. Color is not adequate for identifying crystals but it’s a defining factor. Most valuable rocks have multiple hues which is a result of impurities so you can look out for that.
3. Streak Test
The streak test is the typical way geologist tests the value of a rock. The color that comes from crushed rocks has a different color from the rock itself so you can rub the mineral on a streak plate to see if the color you get is different from the color of the rock.
A piece of unglazed porcelain can be used for the streak test. A jade rock will leave a green streak, while chalcopyrite leaves a black one.
Luster is simply how a rock reflects its light and valuable ones have a different light reflection than ordinary rocks. The two basic types of luster are metallic and non-metallic. Rocks that do not exhibit any type of luster can be referred to as dull, chalky, or earthy.
How to Find Valuable Rocks In Your Backyard
So, once you know how to identify rocks and have a specific type of crystal in mind then you can get down to hunting them down in your backyard. To find valuable rocks in your backyard, you should start by working around and trying to examine any colorful stone you can find on the surface.
If your backyard has lots of trees, you should look for rocks that have been exposed due to erosion.
Places you can find valuable rocks in your backyard are near water sources like ponds, lakes, or rivers. However, if you have a metal detector, you can always use it to scan your backyard to find any valuable rock buried below.
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Some valuable rocks you can find in your backyard are Quartz which is arguably the most popular type of valuable rock, Opal, Peridot, Emerald, Sapphires, Rubies, Obsidian, Jade, Garnet, Malachite, and many more.
These types of rocks are easy to find in your backyard especially if you live in an area with lots of trees.
Tips On How To Find Valuable Rocks
Searching for valuable rocks is quite an engaging hobby that can make some cash as well. However, you need to know what you are looking for and how to go about looking for it as well.
Tools you will need to search for valuable rocks in your yard include; a hammer, safety google, chisel, bucket, or backpack for carrying your rocks, magnifying glass, and gloves. Here are tips on how to guide you further.
- Look out for shiny colorful stones however, do not discard an unusual-looking stone either. Gemstones often have a shiny lustrous appearance so watch out for that
- Check for valuable rocks in areas where there is exposed bedrock or creak. You can easily find gemstones eroded from rocks around those areas
- If none can be found in your yard, consider searching in areas where there has been recent excavation or construction.
- Lastly, patience and perseverance are essential to finding those valuable rocks hidden in your backyard.
Diamonds are the first type of rock that comes to mind when we think of gemstones but they are really rare to find in your backyard.
Not to worry, you can find other types of valuable rocks in your backyard however the only way you can know how much rock is worth it is to have a professional take a look at them.
Don’t hesitate to get creative with displaying your found gemstones, you can choose to have them displayed using an elaborate shadowbox or some push pins.
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