The Hobby

The Hobby of Sand Collecting

Sand collecting is not a new hobby or a passing fad. People have been noted collecting sand for at least a century. Not unlike rocks and minerals, seashells or fossil collecting, sand also involves all these wonderful elements and interests and more. Psammophiles (psammo – sand, philes – lovers of), search out sand’s unique qualities such as the endless variety of colors, textures, components, grain shapes and angularities, and other features.

Hawaiian black, green, and red sands are a special treat for collectors as are oolitic sands and rarer still, star sands. Sonorous (sounding) sands and heavy mineral
sands are another delight to gather.

Sand rich in foraminifera (single-cell animals) and whole or fragmented shell remains are other treasured samples in one’s collection. Searching out samples from the far reaches of the world is an exhilarating experience.

To hold the earth from particular geographic locations, such as sand from the banks of the Nile River, or alongside the Great Wall of China, to wonder of the history while gazing at a sample from the Gettysburg battlefield or simply daydreaming of exotic places like Tahiti, Bali or Pago Pago, are some of the pleasures of sand collecting. Samples from personal vacations are usually the reason why people become sand collectors in the first place. Peering at a sample from a trip long ago has
the unique ability to keep those memories alive long after your adventure has passed.

Collectors create their own goals and challenges within the hobby as some collectors try to collect samples from each U.S. state or they might only elect to collect beach or desert samples. Many ISCS members become involved in exchanging samples with other members as a way of gathering and studying the world. Others prefer to collect those samples, which they have personally gathered. Either preference is fine.

Sand collecting encompasses people worldwide and creates a global bond of long lasting friendships. The hobby has interested people of various backgrounds. Teachers,
professors, artists and writers, scientists, retirees, museums, associations, and universities have all been involved in sand in some aspect. One of the greatest benefits of the hobby is the ease and depth in which one can become involved with little or no expense.