I’m not a rock collector, but I recently bought the
“Ultimate Rocks and Gems Collection” from the Scholastic Book Orders my daughter came home with one day. I figured that it would be an interesting activity for all of us to get into. I imagined the whole family gathered at the table, quietly discussing the different qualities of the rocks and gems. We would take turns examining each one in detail.
Then reality happened.
As soon as I picked up my daughter from school, I discovered that she had opened the box while waiting for me, and lost 3 of the rocks on her way to the car. In addition, she had shaken up the contents – meaning, all the rocks were not in their proper receptacles when I got to them!
I might have made an empty threat to never buy anything from the book orders ever again. But you know how that goes. Those book order things have cool stuff and great deals!
Needless to say, I spent a fair amount of time looking at photos online and on the booklet the collection came with in order to figure out which rocks and gems were which. That was both fun and annoying at the same time.
Also, lucky for me, I was able to find the three missing rocks by going to the spot where my daughter waits for me after school. There they were, looking lost among the ordinary ground cement and woodchips. It was a good thing I new the size I was looking for, and they were unique and easy enough to spot. Mostly, I was worried a kid had found them and taken them before I could get there.
So, without further ado, here are the 48 Rocks and Gems to satisfy your curiosity. Enjoy!
Sometimes, this mineral can shine as if there are lots of tiny mirrors inside. This type of sparkle is called “aventurescence.”
In 18th Century Russia, it was used to decorate the imperial court. The name comes from the Greek word “rhodon” which means “rose.” Then in 1979, it was voted the state gem of Massachusetts.
Polished jasper is used for jewelry and sculpture. And because it is hard, humans long ago used it to make cups, bowls, and knives.
The third hardest mineral, after diamond and moissanite. Gem-grade curundum also has special names: “Ruby” when red, and “Sapphire” when blue!
Flourite can look differently, depending on the impurities it has inside. It is easy to carve, so it is often turned into jewelry or sculpture.
This mineral is sparkly like gold, but is NOT gold! Gold is soft and odorless. Pyrite is brittle and can stink like rotten eggs. It was once used to fire guns.
Calcite comes in many colors. In addition to making jewelry, orange calcite is used for concrete bridges, highways, and buildings.
Some types of opal flash a rainbow of colors when the rock is turned in the light (opalescence).
This rock has been found on Earth, the Moon, and Mars. When exposed to air, this mineral slowly removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
This rock starts out as superhot magma. Then as lava. When lava cools super quickly as it hits air or water, it turns into shiny, sharp rock – obsidian. In ancient times, it was used as a mirror or made into arrowheads.
This mineral appears to glow from inside. When light hits the stone, it bounces off the tiny layers inside, which causes the light to scatter.
Malachite contains copper. Today, it’s used to make sculptures, jewelry, and colored paint.
This mineral contains lithium, which provides its purplish color.
This mineral isn’t a jade. It’s actually a mineral known as serpentine. In addition to jewelry, this is used in building materials and electrical insulation.
This beautiful blue gem has been prized for years. In ancient Egypt, King Tutankhamen’s eye makeup on his gold death mask is made of lapis lazuli.
During the Han dynasty, more than 2,000 years ago, emperors were buried in suits made of jade. Later, jade was used to make knives, daggers, and jewelry.
Some people dye howlite to make it look like other, more expensive gems, such as turquiose. It is named after Henry How, the first person to describe the stone.
Some pieces of Iceland spar can bend light in a special way, causing nearby objects to hide or appear invisible.
When ocean water or saline groundwater evaporates, it leaves behind this mineral. It’s commonly known as “rock salt.”
The most common are deep reddish brown and their name comes from the Greek word for “fire-eyed.” This hard mineral is crushed into tiny bits and made into sandpaper.
If a tree is buried by water or lava, sometimes, minerals slowly replace the wood in the tree and the fossil looks like a tree, but it’s really stone.
Under certain conditions, the minerals – along with sand- can crystallize into rose-petal-like patterns.
The name means “Diamond-like” and became popular with wealthy people back in the late 1800s.
This gem is a yellow variety of quartz. Natural citrine is very rare and expensive. But lab-made citrine is more affordable.
Early humans used it to make tools, including arrows and bowls.
It’s one of the oldest-known gemstones. Egyptians used to believe that wearing these heart-shaped necklaces helped keep them safe.
Called “Peacock Ore” because when underground, it’s copper-red, but when exposed to air, the color changes to red, blue, and purple.
NIcknamed “Cave Flowers,” it also comes in white, yellow, and green.
The sparkle in this stone comes from bits of metal mica. This glitter makes it popular in jewelry.
Its red spots are caused by iron oxide, the scientific word for “rust.” Because the rusty spots look like blood, people sometimes called it bloodstone.
The ancient Greeks named this stone onyx after their word for “fingernail.” According to mythology, Venus, the Greek goddess of love, cut her nails and left the clippings on the ground. Later, the other gods turned these clippings into onyx.
Long ago, sailors believed that if they put this under their pillows, it would protect them at sea.
When silica mixes with impurities like iron, it forms stripes in the rock.
A type of quartz, the second most common type of mineral on land. Long ago, people believed that this stone had special healing powers.
Belongs to a group of minerals called “feldspars,” which make up more than half of Earth’s crust.
Pure flourite may look colorful but it is actually clear. All flourite glows when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. That’s where the word “flourescence” comes from.
Light bounces off this rock. It has “chatoyance.” It can display a concentrated band of reflected light. In French, “chatoyance” means “to shine like a cat’s eye.”
This rock is a combination of three different minerals: orthoclase feldspar (pink), epidote (green), and quartz (colorless). Its name comes from the Unakas Mountains in North Carolina where it was discovered.
Its famous blue color comes from the mineral copper. The name comes from the French word for “Turkish.” That’s because long ago, it was brought to Europe through Turkey.
When light is shined through a clear piece of tourmaline, the light can split into parallel beams.
When meteorites crash into Earth, the impact can heat up rocks. The action can send fiery hot rocks flying into space. When these rocks eventually fall back to Earth and cool down, they turn into a glass called “Tektite.”
Has the ability to absorb moisture, oils, and odor. It is also the softest known mineral on Earth.
It takes about 100 years to grow one inch of stalactite.
According to Native American legend, war paint made from this mineral would make you powerful in battle. NASA also discovered some of this on Mars.
This stone contains sodium – the same chemical that is in the salt we eat. Sodium is the sixth most common chemical in Earth’s crust.
The needle-like crystals inside are made of rutille, a type of titanium (metal).
The green part of the stone is zoisite, and the red parts are ruby! If the entire stone is gem-quality ruby, it would be extremely valuable! One of the world’s largest ruby is estimated to be worth 40 million US dollars!
When quartz is squeezed very hard, it releases electricity in a predictable way. That’s why quartz is sometimes used to help run watches.
If you would like to
for you to choose from. I highly recommend them as gifts for Christmas! (Yes, it’s coming…) get your own set of rocks, Amazon has a variety