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.
To hold the earth from particular geographical locations such
as sand from the banks of the Nile River, or along side 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 and the little
or no expense.
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
Green Sand (Olivine)
Papakolea, Hawaii
Volcanic Balck Sand Beach
(Obsidian) Kaimu,Hawaii
Red Cinder Sand (volcanic
ash) Hokuula, Maui,Hawaii
Brightly polished sand
grains. Hanakapiai Beach,
Kauai, Hawaii
The Sand Paper
How To Join
The Hobby
Becoming A Collector
What Is Sand?
Projects & Studies
Picture Gallery
Sand Kits
About Us
Director's Letter
Press Releases
P.O. Box 117 * North Haven, CT 06473-0117 USA * Phone & Fax: 203 239-5488 * Email:

Discovering the World, Grain by Grain
The Hobby Of Sand
Photos by Rex R. Elliott
*2004 ISCS All Rights Reserved *