Caring for your specimens

A good collector should always follow a few simple steps in order to keep their collection in order. Steps which are simple but yet often forgotten.

These are a few tips on collection management.

  • Always put a label with the specimen including where it was found, when it was found, what it is and if you know the name of the formation from which it was located then that is useful too. It is useful if you are able to do a grid reference by using a map or a GPS. This should be kept with the specimen at all times.
  • Many find it useful not only to record this information on a piece of paper, which is kept with the specimen, but to also keep a notebook featuring a list of finds. This should include the same information as the card but also information such as a quick sketch of where it was found, what the weather was like the day you found it or any other important information. If you purchased the specimen, where did you buy it and how much did it cost?
  • Always store your specimens in specimen bags and/or boxes, which can be brought for a small cost from many geology suppliers.
  • Store your specimens in a cool dry place such as a box or drawer system where they won’t get knocked or damaged easily.
  • If a specimen contains pyrite (fools gold) then over time it will decay and turn to a white powder. In order to stop this, the specimen must be placed in a sealed bag with a small sachet of silica gel; this will soak up any moisture in the bag. This should then be placed in a cool dry place.

This is all very useful because over time we forget where and when we found specimens. It is also a good idea if in the future your collection was to be passed onto someone else or even a museum. Every piece of information you can record about a specimen helps others piece together information.

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