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Specimen Identification Service

Specimen Identification Service

As a public service to our community, the Bob Campbell Geology Museum provides free-of-charge specimen identifications. If you have a rock, mineral or fossil specimen that you would like to have identified, plan on bringing it with you when you attend our annual Museum ID Day or Earth Day events, and our curator will likely be able to tell you more about it. You can also look at our SPECIMEN IDENTIFICATION GUIDE to see examples of rocks and minerals frequently found in the Upstate and surrounding areas.

If you can't wait until these events come around on the calendar, you can send high-resolution photographs of your specimens via email to bcgm@clemson.edu and our curator will have a look and get back to you with an identification. We do not accept specimens via FedEx, USPS, or UPS unless prior arrangements have been made with the curator. The BCGM does not cover return postage for specimens received via mail. This service is intended for residents of SC and communities in NC and GA adjacent to Clemson.

Tips for Photographing Minerals, Rocks and Fossils:

  • Clear focus is very important. If the rock has important details you’d like to capture, take a separate shot of them from as close as you can get; use a macro lens/setting on your camera if available.
  • Shoot with a simple background, such as a bare tabletop or a white or black background.
  • The photo should always include something for scale, such as a coin for a small rock or a ruler for a large rock.
  • Shoot the rock from two or three different sides.
  • Wetting the rock may show details not visible when the rock is dry (but shoot the rock while dry first).
  • Daylight is best. If shooting indoors, use a flash.

However, there is no substitute for seeing the actual specimen(s) in order to make an accurate identification.  You can drop off your specimen or specimens (limit 5) at the museum and our curator and board of directors will provide you with an identification. You can download a specimen identification request form here, or you can fill out the form when you come to the museum.

The Campbell Geology Museum does not identify Native American or other archaeological artifacts and we do not provide any assessment of monetary value.

Do you have a specimen or collection of specimens you would like to donate?  All natural history specimens are potentially unique or new to science, and we encourage you to share your findings with scholars and the general public, and help preserve specimens for future generations.  If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the museum, please see the information provided on our Support the BCGM page and contact museum Curator Dr. Adam Smith at bcgm@clemson.edu.