Online Resources
Below are some of our most recommended online resources! Whether you are looking for mapping tools, old documents, or groups that can help you answer questions, we got you covered! Make sure to support these groups and look out for extra events they may post!

Critical Databases & Resources

  • Mindat is the world’s leading authority on minerals and their localities, deposits, and mines worldwide. Mindat also provides a forum where incredible discussions happen everyday on mineral news, cleaning, research, and mineral storage. Check out the Mindat Learning Center and their incredible  mineral quiz with thousands of examples!
  • Macrostrat- Macrostrat is a platform for the aggregation and distribution of geological data relevant to the spatial and temporal distribution of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks as well as data extracted from them. It is linked to the xDD (formly GeoDeepDive) digital library and machine reading system, and it aims to become a community resource for the addition, editing, and distribution of new stratigraphic, lithological, environmental, and economic data. Interactive applications built upon Macrostrat are designed for educational and research purposes. This provides a global and expansive interactive geology map! LINK Check out their mobile app, Rockd, on Android and Apple devices!
  • Virginia Interactive Geology Map –The Division of Geology and Mineral Resources provides geologic, energy, and mineral resource information to its customers. This information, generated by DGMR, is available for free download or for purchase in the form of geologic maps, geologic reports, and digital data. This provides some great resources for free, however the user interface is not so easy to learn
  • Minerals.Net – was started in 1996 by Hershel Friedman, as an interactive and educational guide to rocks, minerals, and gemstones. It was one of the first of its kind providing detailed information of these topics in an interactive setting. contains research pages of hundreds of minerals, indexed and categorized, as well as various documents on mineral topics. The site had been growing steadily since its inception, and had increased in search engine rankings to become one of the top sites under both keywords “minerals” and “gemstones”. currently has over 350,000 monthly visitors and is just shy of a million pageviews per month.
  • is one of the internet’s leading websites for Earth science articles, news, and geographic information.

State/Local Industry & Academic Groups:

  • Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) *Now Virginia Energy* – State geological survey that contains various databases, publications, maps, and interactive geology maps for the public! Look up their old “Virginia Minerals” articles online.
  • Virginia Earth Science Teachers Association (VESTA) The VA Earth Science Teacher’s Association (VESTA) strives to be a community where we can promote and support those who are teaching science.
  • Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) – The Virginia Association of Science Teachers (VAST) is incorporated in Virginia as a charitable, scientific, and educational organization, is an IRS 501(c)3 qualified organization, and is registered with the Virginia Department of Consumer Affairs. VAST was formed in 1952 with the mission of promoting excellence in science teaching and learning in Virginia.
  • Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance (VTCA) – Representing more than 300 companies and tens of thousands of employees, the Virginia Transportation Construction Alliance is the leading advocate and only state association exclusively dedicated to serving the contractors, aggregate producers, engineers, suppliers and service providers who design, build and maintain Virginia’s transportation network.

Geoscience Departments (Universities):

  • James Madison University – JMU has a long history with the gem and mineral community in Virginia under Lance Kearns (now retired). The museum recently acquired the Peter Via mineral collection estimated at $16 million!
  • William & Mary –  At William & Mary the Geology department takes a broad view on the Earth, offering courses that focus on the workings and history of the Earth’s interior, surface, and atmosphere. Check out this amazing blog hosted by the university on Virginia geology and mineralogy.
  • Virginia Tech – Virginia Tech’s Department of Geosciences focuses on research, education, and outreach dealing with the nature of the earth. Our students and faculty investigate earth processes at scales that range from atomic to planetary. We encourage interdisciplinary approaches to research in the geosciences, both within the department and through interdepartmental programs. The department used to publish many of the earliest books on Virginia’s mineral resources under the direction of R.V. Dietrich. Check out their Museum of Geosciences!
  • George Mason – From simulating atmospheric temperature to explaining geological layers to tracing ocean circulation, the Atmospheric Science, Climate, and Earth Science Department gives students new tools to explore our planet.
  • Radford University – A small full-service program dedicated to geoscience. The department also hosts an earth science museum and a great webpage on Virginia mineral and geological information.

Social Media Groups

  • Virginia Minerals – Facebook group focused on mineral specimens and mining/mineralogical information in Virginia. Mineral specimens are the primary focus of this group rather than general rockhounding. Sponsored by the Virginia Mineral Project.
  • Virginia Rockhounding – Official rockhounding group for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Open to all levels of rockhounds from new, amateur, to professional! Join the conversation now!
  • Friends of Mineralogy Community – The official community forum for the Friends of Mineralogy National community. Comprises members from all chapters! (This group is brand new and growing from a small group of dedicated individuals!)
  • Young Mineral Collectors The Young Mineral Collectors group is an online, global mineral collecting community, in which over 1300 members from 50+ countries have come together to celebrate mineralogy, share knowledge, and create a positive environment for the newest generations of collectors. We welcome all collectors under 40 years of age.

National Organizations & Groups:

  • Mineralogical Society of America (MSA) -The Mineralogical Society of America is a scientific membership organization. MSA was founded in 1919 for the advancement of mineralogy, crystallography, geochemistry, and petrology, and promotion of their uses in other sciences, industry, and the arts.
  • Gemological Institute of America (GIA) – The Gemological Institute of America is a nonprofit institute dedicated to research and education in the field of gemology and the jewelry arts and based in Carlsbad, California.
  • USGS National Mineral Information Center (NMIC) – Statistics and information on the worldwide supply of, demand for, and flow of minerals and materials essential to the U.S. economy, the national security, and protection of the environment.
  • Industrial Minerals Association – North America (IMA-NA) -The premier trade association representing the interests of North American companies that mine or process the industrial minerals that are critical to our manufacturing, agricultural, energy, and tech industries. Based in Washington, DC, the Industrial Minerals Association – North America ensures the voices and stories of modern mining are heard by elected officials and leaders.
  • Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) works to prevent death, illness, and injury from mining and promote safe and healthful workplaces for U.S. miners.
  • National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA) – NSSGA is the leading voice and advocate for the aggregates industry. Our members are stone, sand and gravel producers and the equipment manufacturers and service providers who support them.
  • Mineral Education Coalition (MEC) – The Minerals Education Coalition (MEC) is the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Foundation’s designated program to develop and deliver accurate and timely K-12 education materials and activities and conduct public awareness outreach about mining and minerals.
  • Smithsonian Institute (SI) – The Smithsonian’s mineral and gem collection at the National Museum of Natural History consists of approximately 350,000 mineral specimens and 10,000 gems, making it one of the largest of its kind in the world. Along with the specimens highlighted here, the world-famous Hope Diamond and hundreds of other spectacular items from the collection can be seen in the Smithsonian GeoGallery.

Mineral Community

  • Friends of Mineralogy National (Links to other Chapters) – The non-profit, Friends of Mineralogy (FM), a national organization founded in 1970, includes nearly a dozen chapters from coast to coast, whose members share a common love of minerals. FM’s objective is to promote, support, protect, and expand the collecting of mineral specimens, while furthering the recognition of the scientific, economic, and aesthetic value of minerals and mineral collecting. Membership includes collectors, museum curators, mineralogists, and earth science educators.
  • BlueCap Productions – BlueCap Productions travels the world to bring you videos and information on the finest minerals in the world
  • The Arkenstone – Hosts some of the best mineral specimens and photography galleries for those looking to purchase high-end mineral specimens.

Large Symposiums/Events

  • Rochester Symposium – One of the best research and mineral symposiums on the East Coast. Hosted in Rochester, NY!
  • Dallas Symposium – Incredible mineral symposium known for high-end speakers and beautiful minerals specimens. A great place to visit fellow rockhounds and check out the Arkenstone Gallery!
  • Tucson Gem & Mineral Society -Follow for information on the largest gem show in America!
  • East Coast Mineral Show – The largest gem and mineral show on the east coast. Best way to access Tucson dealers without traveling out west!
  • The Denver Gem & Mineral Show – One of the best shows in the US located in Denver, Colorado!

Magazine & Publication Subscriptions:

  • The Mineralogical Record One of the top journals for mineral collectors worldwide. This bimonthly periodical also features special issues focusing on specific localities, minerals, etc. ($80/ Year Subscription)
  • Rocks & Minerals -One of the top 2 bimonthly journals for mineral collectors worldwide – covers special issues such as show reports, localities, minerals, and more. ($72.00/ Year Subscription)
  • Rock & Gem Magazine – Since 1971, Rock & Gem has been the leading magazine for the lapidary and mineral hobbyist. Not a trade journal and not a scientific dissertation, it speaks to the average rockhound, providing a great blend of entertainment and satisfying information.
    ($29.95 SALE/ Year Subscription)
  • Mineral News Mineral News has been published continuously for thirty-seven (37) years, beginning in 1984 as a black and white, eight-page newsletter by Lanny Ream and acquired and expanded by Tony Nikischer of Excalibur Mineral Corporation in 2003. Today, each monthly issue is at least sixteen (16) pages long and produced in full color, and a U.S. subscription price remains at ($30.00/ Year Subscription).
  • Gems & Gemology – GIA Members
  • Elements Magazine– MSA Members