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the hobby of sand collection

Collecting sand

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Collecting sand
Why would anyone collect sand? Each sand collector (called an "arenophile" or "psammophile") has their own reasons for collecting sand. Some collectors are interested in geology. Others like to learn about the area of the world each sample has come from. Still others collect to meet other collectors around the world and learn about their cultures and local environments.



Getting started with a sand collection

Start collecting in your own area. Sand is found around the world, so you should be able to find sand near your own home. Check the local laws on collecting samples, and ask permission to collect a sample from the land owner. Some areas may not allow the removal of local minerals without a permit.

Collecting samples for your sand collection

When you collect a sample, get enough to trade with others. I like to carry around a plastic spoon for scooping and small zipper bags for storage. This provides plenty of sand for my needs, and extra to share. Once you have your sample (and this is important), immediately label the sample so you know which one is which. Some things to include on the label are the location from which the sample was obtained, the date of collection, and the type of sand (beach, desert, sand dune, etc.).

Once you take your sample home, some cleaning might be in order. I prefer to leave samples in their natural state, but other collectors like to wash them out to remove organic material. If you choose to wash it, be careful not to wash the entire sample down the drain! Before storing the sample, be sure that it is completely dry.

Storage and display of your sand collection

It's important to decide early on how you would like to store your samples. If you choose a large container, you won't be able to display as many samples (and that's no fun). I display my samples in small glass phials, each labelled with a sample number corresponding to an entry in my ledger (see below). Trade-able extras are stored elsewhere in large glass jars. Once the vials are ready, it's easy to display them in a rack or holder so everyone can see.

Tracking your sand collection

Once you have more than a few samples, it's easy to forget which is which. So, for each sample, make an entry into a ledger or spreadsheet. Some things you might like to record include the sample number, location (including latitude and longitude, if you like), type of sand, sand colour, and whether there's extra to trade.