Beautiful Rocks and How to Find Them

A Modern Rockhound's Guide

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Pub Date 26 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 26 Mar 2024
Chronicle Books, Princeton Architectural Press

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New to rockhounding or ready to ramp up your skills? This contemporary guide to rock collecting goes beyond the “where and how” to include info on environmental impact, land stewardship, and building a truly meaningful collection.

Do you love rocks and gems? Are you a geology enthusiast? This informative guidebook by professional lapidary artist and outdoor recreation guide Alison Jean Cole shows you that beautiful rocks can be found anywhere. You’ll be expertly guided through the practice of rockhounding (looking for rocks) while learning how to be gentle on the earth.

Unlike traditional rock guides, which take readers to well-trodden locations in each state, this book can be used anywhere in the United States or Canada. You'll be guided through the process of becoming an adept rockhound, including:

  • How to read geologic maps and way-find
  • How to consider the ethics of rock collecting
  • Developing your personal tastes in rocks and building a collection


Packed with information and fifty-eight accompanying full-color photos, Beautiful Rocks and How to Find Them is perfect for seasoned collectors and beginner rockhounds alike. It also makes a wonderful gift or self-purchase for nature lovers and rock, mineral, and fossil enthusiasts who love looking for and identifying cool rocks in the wild but could use some expertise and guidance.

New to rockhounding or ready to ramp up your skills? This contemporary guide to rock collecting goes beyond the “where and how” to include info on environmental impact, land stewardship, and building...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781797224435
PRICE $24.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

From elementary school times, when a classmate’s father took several of us interested students exploring for fossils and rocks around my hometown (at 10-years-of-age I had no clue that mountainous North Georgia was formerly under the sea in pre-historic times), I have been an avid rock collector after finding fossilized crinoid stems and brachiopods, as well as metamorphic rocks of shimmering flaky silver mica embedded in schist.

Consequently, my personal library is filled with numbers volumes on geology, crystals, and rock/fossil identification. So when I was granted the chance to the read “Beautiful Rocks & How to Find Them—A Modern Rockhound’s Guide” by Alison Jean Cole, I jumped at the opportunity.

My impression of “Rock” is that of a text-dense academic work. It contains extensive information about rules and regulations for collecting rocks and fossils on public and private property; instructs collectors on ethical, environmental, and safety practices; and discusses use of standard maps, Internet earth maps, surveys, and informal directions to rock digging locations.

Although, informative, with a clear table of contents, bibliography, and list of resources, this Princeton University Press Book just isn’t exciting nor graphically engaging. More colorful art, illustrations, photography, maps and pictures of rocks—which are few and far between—for a book about ROCK COLLECTING will break up the text and create visual interest and engagement for the reader.

JoyRwaderGirl1 graciously thanks NetGalley, Author Alison Jean Cole, and Publisher Chronicle Books, an imprint of Princeton Architectural Press for this advanced reader’s copy (ARC) for review.

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This is a really handy and beautiful book. I really enjoyed it. As a novice RockHound I learned so much and inspired me to make plans rock hunting.

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