Do you have a budding geologist in your life? Or someone with a lifelong love of all types of rocks, gems, and minerals?
Encourage the naturalist bent of someone special in your life by giving them the perfect geology gift. We’ve mined, unearthed, polished, and collected the best geology gifts for rockhounds, geologists, and mineral lovers below.
Whether you’re trying to find a geology-themed gift for a kid who simply likes rocks or you need something to surprise and inspire a professional geologist, we’ve got you covered.
10 Best Geology Gifts for Rock, Gem, and Mineral Enthusiasts
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1. A Rock Hunting Expedition
For kids: Go to a public mine, where you can pay a few bucks to sluice through pre-packaged buckets, dig in the ground, or sift through the (likely pdiggre-seeded) creek. It’s actually really fun!
For adults: Plan a getaway to a real bucket-list location. Someplace that involves a hike and taking survival gear. Your rockhound will love it.
2. Rock Tumbler
For kids: The National Geographic Rock Tumbling Kit has everything a young geologist will need to tumbler and polish some of the cool new rocks she or he has found. We got this for our son several years ago, and he still uses it.
For adults: An avid rockhound will want something with a little more firepower. The MJR Tumblers 20 lbs Rock Tumbler is just the ticket – huge capacity, graded for industrial and commercial use, this thing is a beast. With stainless steel ball bearings and a two-year warranty, this is a tumbler any avid geologist will be proud to own – and use constantly!
3. Rocks & Minerals Collection
For adults: The Classified Rocks Collection pictured above is the perfect geology gift idea. It features 288 labeled samples of sedimentary, igneous, hydrothermal, and more.
For kids: Younger folks will love the Classified Rocks Collection, too. For more budget-friendly ideas, you can find small, medium, and large grab bags of various (or very specific) types of rocks here in prices from a few dollars on up. Young rockhounds love poring over random rocks, so any geology gift that includes rock, crystal, and mineral specimens will be a winning gift for sure! Pair a bag of rocks with a rock and mineral guide for hours of geeky fun.
4. Rock & Mineral Identification Books
For adults: The Audubon Field Guide to Rocks and Minerals is perfect. Like all their publications, it’s thorough yet small enough to carry with you, and extremely well-bound so it can take the rigors of the expedition. It looks great on a coffee table too!
For kids: First, don’t get me wrong – if a child is really into geology, the Audubon Field Guide listed above is great. My son loved to pore over adult-level guides to rocks (and coins; still does, btw). But sometimes the kid-friendly version is the way to go. DK always produces excellent material, and My Book of Rocks and Minerals is no exception.
5. Magnifiers: Loupe and Digital Microscope
For kids: Start with a loupe, which is a pocket-sized jeweler’s magnifying glass that can view at up to 120 times magnification! Includes LED light so they can view in all weather conditions (or hiding under the covers at night after lights-out).
For adults: The loupe is actually great for the full-grown rock lover in your life as well, not just for kids! But chances are the avid rockhound already has one. So take it up a notch with this Wifi-Enabled Digital Microscope, which can record and display a live view of up to 1200x magnification while retaining brilliant clarity. They’ll be able to save images directly to their computer to study later, as well!
6. Rock On! Geology Game
This fun STEM-based game is essentially Bingo, but with rocks. To place, you have to find and identify the rock samples and fill up your card to win. There are different levels, plus trivia-style cards full of facts and information.
More rock & geology-themed games:
- Hasbro Box of Rocks Party Game (Trivia)
- National Geographic Rock Bingo (Bingo, with rocks instead of numbers)
- Personalized Mancala Board (and add your own special polished rocks for the perfect gift)
7. UV Light
For adults: Rocks can look very cool (check this out) under a black light. So every rockhound is going to want this high-quality UV light from uvBeast. This thing is top of the line, and designed by scientists and engineers. Proven 385nm-395nm wavelength means more power, more visibility, and genuine industrial strength.
For kids: A simpler, more affordable knockoff version will do just fine. Here’s a good one. Your young geologist will have tons of fun with her or his very own black light!
8. Rockhounding Emergency Kit Gift Basket
We’re going to close out this list with several themed gift baskets. First, a complete safety kit, followed by must-have tools and then a geology comfort gift basket.
Safety is always the priority for all adventurers, young and old alike! Here’s what you need for a successful rockhounding expedition:
- Emergency kit (includes a first aid kit)
- A few MREs (Meal Ready to Eat)
- Safety glasses/goggles
- Sun screen
- Insect repellant
- LifeStraw water filter
- Fire starter (ferro rod)
- 30+ mile range walkie talkies
- Flashlight (the one in most emergency kits isn’t great)
- Orange vest (for use during hunting season)
9. Geology Tool Kit Gift Basket
Here are the tools that make for a successful expedition.
- Bucket & specimen bags
- Sturdy backpack
- Good, thick rubber gloves
- Rock hammer & pick
- Hand shovel
- Cold chisel with handguard
- Sand scoop
- Sifting screen or pan
- Spray bottle, wire scrub brush, & plastic brush
- Loupe (jeweler’s magnifying glass)
10. Geology Comfort Gift Basket
It’s not a bad thing to want to be comfortable while rock hunting! These are the little things that help make a memorable day even better.
- Sun hat
- Hiking stick
- Anti-itch cream for bites or poison ivy, etc
- Wet wipes
- TP and/or outdoor toilet
- Telescoping/collapsible travel stool
- Sand-free towel
- Delicious, non-meltable snacks
3 Leaverite Gifts to Avoid
Leaverite is an important type of rock that every geologist should know about. It’s often beautiful, and amateur rockhounds can often gravitate towards it.
But experienced miners and geologists know that sometimes a great-looking specimen isn’t what is seems. Instead of being an interesting and valuable discovery, it’s a common, worthless rock. And you should leaverite there.
Get it? It’s a joke.
In the same way, there are many seemingly excellent geology gifts that you might think would be just right. But if you want to avoid the knowing, disappointed sigh of the lifelong enthusiast or the frustrated tears of a boy with a broken toy, skip out on these rockhound gift ideas.
In fact, leaverite there.
1. Avoid: Cheesy Geology Humor Shirts
C’mon. Puh-lease. “I may be GNEISS but don’t take me for GRANITE”? Terrible.
But maybe your rockhound loooooves a good pun. So fine, go for it. But chances are, the serious geologist has heard all the geology jokes a million times:
- I was magma before it was cool
- Of quartz I love geology
- A pyrite’s life for me (with a picture of a rock wearing a pirate hat… **sigh**)
- Schist happens (metamorphically speaking)
- Geologist: noun / ge.ol.o.gist / The other kind of Rock Star
What to get instead: Pretty much anything else. If this appeals to you, fine, whatever. You might as well go full-cheese and get a coffee mug with the same phrase to go along with it.
2. Avoid: Rock Painting Kits
Ok fine, there’s nothing wrong with a good rock painting kit. It will provide some fun for the kids to express some creativity with paint and rocks. Heck, my kids got one for Christmas and enjoyed it. But it’s not the same as an authentic geology gift. The rocks are just plain ol’ river rocks that you can find at any landscaping supply (or in your neighbor’s yard).
What to get instead: Dig a Dozen Gem Blocks Kit, which includes 12 gemstones hidden inside little clay bricks, which they chisel away to find a real gem. It makes a mess, so do it outside, but they’ll have a blast and enjoy identifying each one.
3. Avoid: Cheap Digital Microscope
I’ll admit I haven’t tried this one personally, so maybe it’s ok. But I do have a 10-year-old son who is interested in science, geology, and engineering, so we’ve gone through our share of cheap gadgets and devices. Drones, race cars, microscopes, experiment kits, and so on.
You know the drill: There’s a $10-25 version of something that looks fun or interesting, and then there’s the $40-100 version. The cheap version is asking for something to break, a part to be missing, or the results to be shoddy. We just made this mistake with a camera drone on super-sale. Turns out the darn thing was on super-sale for a reason: it doesn’t work.
So save yourself the tears and frustration and avoid the one pictured above.
What to get instead: Give your rockhound a good-quality version of whatever you want to get. The digital microscope we listed above (gift idea #5) is a good one.
Leaverite Gift Tips
Here’s what it comes down to:
#1 – Avoid cheesy gifts (like #1, above), since they’ve already heard all the jokes and gags.
#2 – Skip the sparkly gift packages that say “ROCKS!!” on them, as those are often just a collection of junky craft stuff that doesn’t have much to do with real geology.
#3 – And if you’re going to get any sort of tool, tech, or rock-hunting accessory, watch out for the cheap knockoffs and choose a gift with real quality and durability.
While we’re at it: The 21 Worst Gift Ideas. Ever.
Even if your rock mining enthusiast is a child, treat their interest as you would an adult and give them real, authentic, meaningful geology gifts that they can use their whole life.
So with that said, here are a few more gift ideas.
More Great Geology Gifts
National Geographic has some good gift kits, plus we have top-tier mining tools and more.
National Geographic Geode Kit
Sure, it’s popular and mainstream and all that, but seriously, what rockhound wouldn’t jump at the chance to crack open a few geodes? Plus, from personal experience I can tell you that this is the perfect gift for a young geology enthusiast.
National Geographic Rock & Fossils Kit
Ok, this is the last boxed gift kit we’ll feature. But once again, especially for kids, NatGeo has simply done a great job creating a massively appealing product.
The Rock & Fossil Kit has rocks (Adventurine, Snowflake Obsidian, Metorite), fossils (prehistoric shark teeth!), geodes (broken and unbroken), and other little touches like specimen display, magnifying glass, and more. Good stuff!
Geological Hammer with Leather Grip
The ultimate mining hammer and pick combo with a luxurious leather handle. From the renowned Estwing brand, this tool is forged in one piece and finished with a durable and comfort-friendly leather grip.
Belt Loop Hammer/Pick Holder
What better to pair with the hammer and pick tool than this classic, durable hammer holder!
Folding Travel Shovel
This portable folding shovel is the ideal tool to have on hand. Your geologist may discover the need to dig and mine at any time, so why not pack along a shovel! Fits easily in any vehicle or backpack.
Estwing Paleo Pick
This 25″ geologist’s pick is forged in one uniform piece and includes a no-slip cushion grip. If you’re going to get a pick, get this one.
Sand & Rock Scoop
For panning and sifting, this is the perfect scoop. A must-have in every rock hunter’s toolkit.
Stackable Sifting Pan/Sieve
The stackable sifting pan from Prospector’s Choice is a relative newcomer on the market, but it’s proven to be a favorite. Choose multiple sizes for the sieve, then stack the pans so that you can sift through and catch a wide range of sizes of rocks and minerals all at once.
Read next: Real Tools for Real Kids – A Gift Guide
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