Getting gifts for rockhounds doesn’t have to be a chore. If you’re scrambling to find the perfect gift for that friend or family member who collects rocks, luckily, gifts related to rockhounding are plentiful, available at various price points and suitable for rock and gem enthusiasts of all ages. Here are lots of ideas for the rock lover(s) in your life…
Gifts For New Rockhounds
New rockhounds can be easy to purchase a gift for because they’re usually still stocking up on the basics.
Rock Hammers: Start with one of the most essential tools, a rock hammer. There’s a wide range of rock hammers available with different prices, weights and materials. Good rock hammers are well-balanced and made of a single piece of hardened steel. Handle grips may be made of rubber or leather for cushioning.
Rock hammers weighing eight ounces or less are suitable for children, while those weighing 16 to 22 ounces are good for adults. The ideal weight depends on the hardness of the rocks. Hammers may have a chisel edge or pointed tip. The pointed-tip rock hammers are usually called rock picks. Either version is bound to be a hit–literally.
Starter Kits: Ready-made starter kits are available or you can customize one just for your favorite rockhound. Items for a well-rounded starter kit include:
- A heavy-duty bag to carry tools and rocks
- Rock hammer
- Two or three rock chisels
- A short-handled or collapsible shovel
- Cleaning brushes
- A jeweler’s loupe
- Safety goggles
- Sturdy gloves
Safety items to include are a whistle and compass for emergencies and guidance.
Field Guides and Books About Rocks: Field guides and books that are tailored to rockhounding as a hobby, rock identification and even places to visit make wonderful gifts. Rowman & Littlefield Falcon Guides include books on rockhounding in specific states, with many scheduled for updated releases.
GPS Units: Handheld GPS units make wonderful gifts. Yes, cell phones have a mapping system, but internet access can be spotty in places. GPS units work off a satellite so they’re less likely to lose their signal in canyons and other areas you typically lose cell signals. Units designed for hiking also include detailed topography maps.
High-quality Garmin receivers are WAASenabled, a more accurate navigation system than the standard GPS found in most phones. These can get pricey, which is why some rockhounds won’t splurge on one themselves.
Seasoned rockhounds can be a little more challenging when buying gifts for them because they usually have all the latest rock-hunting gadgets. Outside-the-box thinking can be helpful. Consider replacements for rockhounding tools that may have worn out, such as rock hammers and chisels, especially if they use them a lot. Also consider buying higher-quality items than what they currently have.
Rock Hammer Sheath: Long-time rockhounds probably have a quality rock hammer but may have never splurged on a rock hammer sheath or holder opting to toss their hammer in a collection bag or bucket or simply tuck it into their belt. Nearly all popular rock hammers fit in these holders to provide easier access.
Rock Collecting Bags: Collection bags or pouches built specifically for rock collecting make practical and well-appreciated gifts, especially if your rockhound still lugs around a five-gallon bucket. On a fruitful rock collecting day, tossing all those keeper rocks into a bucket makes it heavy and cumbersome. Durable canvas or leather rock collecting bags have adjustable straps and often fit across the body to evenly distribute the weight while freeing up hands to dig for specimens.
UV Flashlights: Many minerals glow under ultraviolet light, making it one of the easiest ways to confirm if something is the real deal. High-quality portable UV flashlights let rockhounds easily identify minerals in the field instead of waiting until they get home. Look for a lightweight rechargeable UV flashlight that doesn’t take up much room in a pack but is durable enough to handle a potentially rough ride.
Updated Books & Journals: Even seasoned rockhounds appreciate updated field guides with the latest rock, gem and mineral information. Believe it or not, things do change from time to time. Look for new editions of popular guides on the best places to hunt for rocks or ask at the local bookstore. For those who enjoy recurring reading material, consider a print and/or digital subscription to Rock & Gem magazine.
You could also opt for a new waterproof journal for cataloging and note-taking. Excellent all-weather journals have paper that repels water, sweat, mud and grease.
Fun Novelty Gifts for Anyone
Consider something a little kitschy for the rockhound with everything and/or a great sense of humor. Novelty gifts can put a smile on your rock collector’s face and give them a fun item to use while broadcasting their love of rocks. Generic gifts like socks and soap are generally boring, unappreciated gifts but not so when they have a rock-related twist.
Rock Replica Soap: What better way to scrub away the dirt after a day of hunting for rocks than with a bar of soap that looks just like a rock? Incredible geode-shaped soaps make clean-up fun and a potentially great gift for kids and/or that hard to buy for rockhound.
Keychains: Give the gift that lets rock and gem fans decorate their car and/or house keys with a keychain featuring raw or tumbled stones. Choose their birthstone or a favorite stone if they have one. There are even keychains with multiple tiny stones, like a seven-stone chakra keychain that’s perfect for metaphysical friends.
Worry Stones: These stones make great gifts for rockhounds or anyone who likes rocks and/or needs a way to relax. Worry stones, also known as palm stones, are smooth polished gemstones with a thumb-sized indentation made for rubbing. Gift one to a recipient who enjoys carrying it in their pocket for stress relief.
Bookends: For rock fans with an extensive collection of rock-related (or unrelated) books, what better way to display them than with stone bookends? You generally have a choice of materials and colors so you can personalize it to fit your rock-loving friends and family. Common bookend materials include agates (natural or dyed) and rose quartz. Other unique gifts for rockhounds include household décor items such as agate coasters and candle holders made of stone.
Novelty Shirts: T-shirts and sweatshirts with humorous and/or witty slogans are fun for any occasion, and a surprisingly large number are dedicated to rock hunting and collecting. The selection of shirts for rock collectors is constantly changing, with new designs coming out just in time for the holidays. You can also find cute rock-related socks and bolo ties featuring various rocks and gems.
Gifts For Metaphysical Friends
People who believe in the metaphysical aspects of rocks and crystals are rock collectors of a different kind. They’re also often easier for selecting gifts for rockhounds. Friends and family members who’ve just discovered the metaphysical world probably have a limited collection, providing plenty of gift-giving options. However, even advanced practitioners appreciate new and/or unique additions to their collections. Visit a metaphysical boutique and you’ll find numerous gift ideas.
Books and Guides: Visit any brick-and-mortar or online bookstore, and you’ll find numerous books about the healing properties of crystals. These include books and reference guides for beginners and advanced practitioners with detailed photos and information. You can also find this information in chart form. Popular options include:
- Crystals for Healing: The Complete Reference Guide With Over 200 Remedies for Mind, Heart & Soul Hardcover by Karen Frazier (paperback or hardback). Includes detailed photography and alphabetized references to recognize crystals and gemstones.
- Crystals for Beginners: The Guide to Get Started with the Healing Power of
- Crystals by Karen Frazier (paperback or spiral-bound). Includes comprehensive crystal profiles and healing remedies with clear instructions.
Starter Collections: Chakra therapy starter collections typically come with several Chakra stones and may include other crystals and stones with various healing properties. It’s a great option when you know someone has just started their spiritual journey with rocks and crystals. You can also create your own collection by choosing individual gemstones and crystals and placing them in a beautiful wooden box. Instead of loose crystals and gems, you can also opt for earrings, bracelets and pendants featuring a favorite stone or birthstone.
Animal Lovers: Advanced metaphysical practitioners may extend their crystal healing to their four-legged family members. A thoughtful gift might be a pet amulet worn on the pet’s collar or harness. Because different crystals have different healing properties, it’s best if you know a little about the pet. For example, practitioners recommend blue lace agate for rescue pets, but other pets also find the stone calming. They also recommend black onyx for outdoor pets and increasing strength and stamina.
Gifts For Rockhounds: Kids
Kids and rocks often go hand-in-hand, or you may encourage rock hunting to increase a child’s interest in the natural world and playing outdoors. When buying gifts for rockhounds, buying for kids is generally the easiest task.
Rock Books for Kids: National Geographic is an excellent provider of rock-related gifts for your little rockhounds. It’s also a popular source of kid-friendly reading material, including books on rocks. New books for kids in 2022 include:
- National Geographic Readers: Bling! (L3): 100 Fun Facts About Rocks and Gems (Paperback) January 4, 2022
- Weird But True Know-It-All: Rocks & Minerals (Paperback) February 15, 2022
Kid-Sized Rock Tools: Rock hunting feeds many kids’ natural desire to play in the dirt, making it an easy way to encourage outdoor play. Purchase a ready-made kit or create a mini pack of rock-hunting tools perfect for those little hands. Tool kits for kids can include:
- Small pail and bag for tools and rocks
- Rock hammer
- Sand scoop
- Colander or sieve
- Safety goggles
- A kid-sized rock tumbler to polish rocks
Rock Kits: Get them started with a kit containing hundreds of different stones to identify. Kits usually contain a collection of real fossils, geodes, jasper, rose quartz and many more rocks and gems. They also frequently come with a book or suggest a book to accompany the kit. You can also opt for a dig kit, which comes with fewer gems but has tools to dig them up.
Rock Projects & Crafts: There are all sorts of kits online for crafts and other projects using rocks. One popular option is a rock painting kit that lets kids paint the rocks included and the stones they find themselves. Another option is a Mohs hardness kit with samples.
When All Else Fails
Gift cards aren’t very personal but work well as gifts for rockhounds in a pinch when you have no idea what to get the rock lover(s) on your list. Surprisingly, many shops with rocks and rock-related gadgets offer gift cards or certificates. However, if the ones closest to you don’t, a generic gift card works, too. On the plus side, you know they’ll get something they really want because gift cards let them choose for themselves. Other options include tickets to a nearby rock and gem show or an envelope of cold hard cash to pitch in for their next rock-hunting adventure.
Bonus Gifts for Rockhounds: Stocking Stuffers
When thinking of gifts for rockhounds, stockings are great for those little tools that rockhounds invariably lose in the field, like rock chisels. These come in various sizes and lengths and should be specifically for working with rocks, or they’ll quickly break. Stockings are also a good place for those cute rock socks you saw online or some good sunblock to help protect their skin from all those hours spent outdoors. A new pair of safety goggles, sturdy gloves, or even a set of shoestrings for their favorite hiking boots also fill stockings well. Small rocks (not lumps of coal) make fun stocking stuffers, then, for giggles, throw in some rock candy and Pop Rocks, and you’re good to go!
This story about gifts for rockhounds appeared in Rock & Gem magazine. Click here to subscribe. Story by Moira K. McGhee.