Rockhounding 101 Class

Rockhounding 101

Applications for the Fall 2022 Cohort have now closed. Our next 101 course will be hosted in Spring 2023.

The Friends of Mineralogy Virginia Chapter under the Virginia Mineral Project committee has developed a “Rockhounding 101” course for interested individuals who have recently entered the hobby and would like to take the next step in learning more about Virginia mineralogy and geology. This course will cover the basics and will prepare you with the resources and information to enhance your collection and engage deeper with the broader mineral community. The program is split into five parts, four of which are virtual and then a field trip component at the end. Our ultimate goal is to create a pathway for Virginia rockhounds to become more involved with the mineral community. Participants will walk away with practical tools and knowledge which will aid them in prospecting, cleaning, and maintaining collections. The program costs $50, which gives you a one-year membership within FMVA and the national FM organization, while supporting staff time, travel and program creation. The funds go directly to the nonprofit organization for educational purposes.

Core Sessions

Introduction to Rockhounding

Topics Covered:

  • FMVA & VMP Overview
  • What is Rockhounding?
  • What are the Sub-hobbies of rockhounding? (e.g. microminerals, cabbing, flint knapping, etc.)
  • Important Shops, Shows, Museums, and Organizations in Virginia
  • Who’s who in Minerals? (State & National Organizations)
  • Principles of Geology & Mineralogy 101


Identification and Digital Programs

Topics Covered:

  • Basic Mineral Identification Techniques
  • Key Resources and Literature on Virginia Minerals
  • Digital Resources Tutorial (e.g. Mindat, DGMR, Google Earth, Macrostrat)

Tools & Collection Maintenance

Topics Covered: 

  • Field Collecting Tools & Equipment
  • Preparing your Specimens
  • Documenting and Labeling your Specimens
  • Storing your Specimens
  • Displaying your Specimens

Field Collecting 101

Topics Covered: 

  • Overview of Virginia’s Mineral Deposits
  • Types of Collecting 
  • Tips and Techniques
  • Specialized Tools
  • Safety Overview

Class of 2021

Spring/Summer Class of 2022