Minerals & Gemstone 480x104

Book Review: Rockhounding New York

Rockhounding New York "Rockhounding New York": A Falcon Guide

By Robert Beard


This book is the second in the series by the author, Robert Beard. It deals with the unique geology in New York State, and focuses on sites that are accessible to the public only. The book covers the entire state, from the Canadian border to the New York City Metro area.


I have a special liking to the book, because the author published my name in the acknowledgements, as well as information that I provided him through my mineral website and through e-mail communications. It was a nice surprise to see my name in the book, as I was not expecting it!


The book gives thorough reviews of each site, including collecting difficulty, GPS location, driving directions, land status, family-friendliness, as well as special concerns. Numerous well known sites are discussed, as well as some little known localities, where you can pick up fossils or minerals at your leisure. Being an avid New York collector, I was surprised at some of the sites that were listed, as I have driven past many of them numerous times, and never knew they were there. Discussed within the book are other topics, rockhounding basics, a discussion of state geology, and a full map of collecting localities. The author also goes into detail on the subject of the natural resources of the state that are produced commercially, which was a very interesting read.


Some surprising information in the book has already sent me on a few road trips to investigate some new sites for collecting possibilities. Some of these new ones are four sites on Staten Island, numerous sites around Bear Mountain (I am a regular collector in this area, and the book introduced me to several additional spots), several sites around Kingston, NY, and numerous fossil sites along US Highway 20 through the center of the state. The author also published several of my favorite collecting spots, including Amity, Ellenville, Wurtsboro, Highland Mills, Barton/Hooper, and a complete listing of all of the Herkimer Diamond sites.


Overall, I really enjoyed the book, and I believe it will make a great addition to any rockhound's library.

Click here to buy the book on Amazon.


Tour of the Sterling Hill Mine Conveyer and Upper Mill Facilities

The North Jersey Mineralogical Society held their annual field trip and club picnic at the Sterling Hill Mining Museum on September 21, 2013. It was a chilly and breezy day, but the sun popped in and out from behind the clouds, making for really nice conditions for some collecting, exploring, and some good food for members in attendance. About 30 club members ventured out to Ogdensburg and were treated to a unique day at Sterling Hill Mining Museum. The day began with Bill Kroth, the president of the museum, offering the club an "open house" feel, where members could freely explore the museum facilities on site as well as touring the mine at any time. This is something that everyone enjoyed.


After lunch, club members were treated to a tour of the Upper Mill facilities, led by members of the Delaware Valley Earth Sciences Society, where they made their way through the old buildings up on the hill above the main facility. They toured the area around the main headframe of the mine, the milling facility and several buildings containing the conveyor system, including the main conveyor, which shoots across the sky high above the Sterling Hill Mining Museum property.


Members were treated to spectacular views from the main high tower of the conveyor, where they were able to poke their heads out onto a porch over 100 feet above the ground, giving an amazing overview of the grounds. Then, they collected in the pit areas for the remainder of the day. Sterling Hill, under the leadership of Bill Kroth, is making many incredible changes and improvements, and the future of the facility is looking brighter than ever. It was a super day at a super facility.


Below are some rarely seen pictures of the conveyer and upper areas of the old mining facility:




The 2013 Springfield Show

There are shows across the country that are put on by Exposition companies, like the Edison Show and the Springfield Show. The differences between club shows and the professional shows are very obvious. It's like comparing a big supermarket to the corner store. Bigger layouts, grandiose displays, big name speakers, hundreds of dealers, and magazine style guidebooks, that you just will not find at a club sponsored show. The Annual East Coast Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show in Springfield, Mass. is one such show, put on by Martin Zinn Expos. I attended on Sunday, August 11, with club members Ron Schulz and Jess Jacobsen. After a pleasant 3-hour drive, we walked in the door to find a spectacular display of world-class minerals from the Carolyn Manchester Collection. There were over 30 cases containing displays from her collection. Carolyn is a retired school teacher, and has been collecting minerals for over 58 years, and the specimens presented for display were indeed stunning.

Her collection consists of over 2000 hand-picked museum quality specimens from around the world. I have included some photos of the displays. Shortly thereafter, the first door prize of the day was announced, and was won by our own Jess! The show itself was well laid out, in neat rows, which made it easy to navigate and find dealers. There were many fine mineral dealers who offered specimens I could only dream of. At some of the dealers, you would be hard pressed to find a mineral specimen priced under $500. But it was like walking through a huge museum, and that was worth the admission price. There were also several dealers featuring old books, mining artifacts, and relics from years past that were very interesting to browse. I did notice, however, an overabundance of bead dealers. Too many, to be honest. You had to walk past 2 or 3 bead dealers before you would find a true mineral dealer. This is one aspect I have been noticing more and more lately, and have been trying to avoid at our shows. I don't know if it's good or bad, but I don't want to see great rock, mineral and fossil shows transforming into bead and jewelry shows.

Anyway, getting back on topic, many of our Clifton, N.J. Show dealers were set up at Springfield. There were great deals to be had as well. One such dealer that was offering good buys was our friend, Rocko, who was offering a large collection of Aquamarines at very reasonable prices. Another was the Herks.com booth, where they were offering superb quality Herkimer Diamonds at fair prices. Warren Gonzales was also making deals and had a large selection to choose from. There were a few other dealers who were offering up to 50% or more off quality pieces. So, there was truly something for everyone. There was also a large wholesale-only section, but we were not able to gain access because you needed a tax ID card to get in.

By far, the most popular booth at the show was the Geode Cracking booth. The line was 20 deep all day long. The booth featured geodes from all over the world, which could be purchased and then cracked open on site. They had a large cracking machine which was going all day long. The kids especially enjoyed this feature. I mean, who doesn't like to see what's inside an unopened geode? There was also a sluice box where kids could pan for gemstones, but it did not seem to get much action during my visit.

The show also offered lectures on all 3 days. On Sunday, 2 lectures were offered. The first was by Kevin Downey, all about cave exploration and cave minerals. The second was by Bob Jones and was a discussion and slide show on the minerals of China. Overall, I enjoyed the show. I ran into many friends and fellow rockhounds. I got to speak to many of our Clifton dealers, and chat with a few prospective new dealers for us as well. It made for a very nice day trip, for sure.

Here are some photos from the show (click to enlarge):


- Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson is Vice President of the North Jersey Mineralogical Society and he frequents the local shows and provides reports. The North Jersey Mineralogical Society website can be visited at: